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What are the pros & cons of electric cars?

As electric and hybrid cars become an increasingly common sight on our roads, it’s natural that more of us are seeking more information about them. With the UK Government announcing that by 2035 - or even as early as 2032 - no more vehicles with internal combustion engines will be sold, it’s the perfect time to start planning ahead.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together this guide on the pros and cons of electric cars and hybrid vehicles. 

What are the pros and cons of electric and hybrid cars?

Pros Cons
✓ Lower emissions ✘ Higher prices
✓ Cheaper running Costs ✘ Limited range (this does not apply to hybrid cars)
✓ Improved performance ✘ Charging infrastructure
✓ Financial incentives ✘ Charging time

The pros of electric cars

1. Lower emissions

Unlike vehicles powered by petrol, diesel, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and hybrid vehicles that combine fossil fuel with electric power, a pure electric vehicle has no exhaust and therefore produces zero carbon emissions. However, this doesn’t mean that your electric car has a neutral carbon cost. 

Inevitably, the manufacturing processes and materials used in EVs all have an impact on the environment. When you charge an EV, you are also using power from the National Grid - not all of which comes from renewable sources. However, those who are 100% powered by renewable energy systems such as solar, will be able to drive their car knowing their environmental impact is minimal. As of 2021, 43% of the UK’s energy is generated by renewable sources - and this is likely to keep increasing.

2. Electric cars have cheaper running costs

As of June 2021, the average pump price in the UK for unleaded petrol was 124.8 p/litre and for diesel, 130.4 p/litre. With these figures, a driver covering 8,000 miles a year could save nearly £1,000 a year by switching to an all-electric car. Compared to petrol or diesel-driven cars, an electric car has fewer moving parts. This means maintenance is cheaper and costs on service items such as oil, filters etc. are also reduced, making the cost of running an electric car much cheaper.

3. Improved performance

In an electric car, power is delivered directly and instantly to the wheels. Acceleration is therefore surprisingly fast and also virtually silent.

4. Financial incentives

If you're buying a new, fully electric vehicle, you can enjoy a discount of up to 35% of the purchase price thanks to the UK government's plug-in grant. This will provide the buyer with up to a maximum of £1,500, but is only applicable if the car costs less than £32,000. The grant is expected to run until at least 2022-2023. Please click here for further information relating to available grants. 

This is applied by the car dealership at the moment of purchase; meaning you don’t even have to apply for the grant as it’s all done for you.

All vehicles categorised as ‘cars’ - formerly ‘Category 1’ - are eligible for this grant as long as it costs less than £32,000,  has CO2 emissions below 50g/km and is capable of travelling 112 km without any emissions at all. The Peugeot e-208 and Peugeot e-2008 are all great examples of cars eligible for this grant.

Electric vehicles with a list price under £32,000 are also exempt from vehicle tax for the first year. That could save you at least £140 per year compared to a petrol or diesel fuelled car.

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When you’re choosing your next car there are lots of decisions to make, one of the most important is choosing the best car financing option for you. Choosing the right finance options can be difficult, visit our finance pages and find the right agreement that suits you best.

What are the cons of electric cars?

There are some powerful arguments in favour of electric cars, but to give you a balanced overview, let’s take a look at the possible downsides:

1. Higher prices

For many drivers, the cost of buying an electric car is probably one of the biggest barriers to purchase. Despite the reduced emissions and the lower running and maintenance costs of electric cars, they still cost considerably more to buy up front than petrol and diesel-driven vehicles. However this only applies to those looking at buying an electric vehicle outright. You can lower these costs by choosing a personal contract purchase or leasing option with PSA Finance. 

As of 2021, some electric and hybrid models can start at £25,000 or more – a price that includes the UK government plug-in grant. However, finance options are available which can make this far more affordable by allowing you to hire or lease an electric or hybrid car and pay for it in instalments.

2. Limited range

‘Range anxiety’ is another thing that potential electric car buyers struggle with. Although it’s a legitimate concern, an electric car will comfortably meet most drivers’ day-to-day needs. This means cars like the Citroën C5 AIRCROSS SUV and Peugeot 3008 SUV Hybrid can be charged at home with no need to seek out alternative charging points. However, electric car technology is improving all the time and claimed ranges in excess of 250 miles are increasingly common.

If you are still concerned about the range of an electric car, a PHEV (plug-in) hybrid such as the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense is a great alternative option. The advantage of hybrid cars is that they do not only rely on only battery charge to power their engine. 

You can charge a PHEV hybrid at a charging point like any other electric vehicle. However, unlike a standard electric vehicle, the power source will change to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) when the battery runs flat. The ICE will continue to charge the hybrid’s battery through regenerative braking, saving you more money whilst helping you drive further.

3. Charging infrastructure

According to government statistics, as of 2021 there are now 42,000 charging points in the UK. This number of public electric vehicle charging stations has nearly doubled since 2020. Although range anxiety is still a concern for some electric car drivers, the charging network continues its rapid growth, while smartphone apps like the one from podPOINT are making it easier to find the charging point closest to you. 

4. Charging time

How long it takes to charge an electric car can vary from 30 minutes to 12 hours, depending on the model, how powerful the charger is and even how warm or cold it is, but according to podPOINT, a typical electric car with a 60kWh battery takes just under 8 hours to charge.

As with any purchase, there are pros and cons to buying an electric car. But since the government has pledged that by 2030-35, all new cars sold in the UK will be “effectively zero emission” it seems certain that the future of driving is electric. 

Weighing up the pros and cons of electric cars and hybrids

It’s clear that electric and hybrid cars are the future, and government announcements around the future of manufacturing electric cars mean the majority of us will be making the switch to electric vehicles very soon.

Fortunately, the biggest barrier to entry - the current high costs of buying an electric car - can be overcome with our many electric and hybrid car finance options. Take a look at our finance packages today.