Are electric cars greener? Your EV questions answered

Are electric cars greener than fuel-powered vehicles? What’s the average EV range, and how much does a recharge cost? Check out this blog to learn all about EVs!

Are electric cars greener? Your EV questions answered

The answers to all your EV-related questions

With more and more drivers looking to play their part in preserving the wellbeing of the planet, electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly frequent sight on UK roads.

As of April 2024, there are a whopping 1.1 million fully electric cars cruising up and down the country, as well as a further 655,000 plug-in hybrids. So, it's fair to say EVs are gradually taking the car market by storm.

If you're thinking about purchasing your own electric vehicle, whether it's a car, van, or motorbike, there are a few things you may want to learn more about. And don't worry – here at First Response Finance, we have the answer to all your questions!

Are electric cars greener than traditional motors? 

First things first, let's address the true burning question. Are electric cars greener than petrol and diesel vehicles?

In a nutshell, the answer is yes. Broadly speaking, EVs are kinder to the environment than fuel-powered vehicles.

For example, electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions, meaning there's no exhaust releasing CO2, NOx, and other polluting particulates. Instead, petrol and diesel models emit all of these into the atmosphere, which unfortunately contributes to poor air quality and climate change.

When it comes to electric vehicle sustainability, though, it would be wrong to say that EVs are 100% green. Yes, they are more eco-friendly on the road as they don't emit pollutants, but EV production – that is, even before they leave the factory floor – does have an impact on the environment. This is largely down to the battery manufacturing process.

What types of electric vehicles are there? 

'Electric vehicles' is used as an umbrella term to indicate any kind of electrified motor, as there are many different types of electricity-powered vehicles on the market.

However, the most common options include:

  • Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – this is the type of EV that people always tend to think about. BEVs have an electric motor powered by batteries, which you can recharge at home or through the public charging network. In terms of electric vehicle sustainability, they're generally considered the most environmentally friendly option.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) – PHEVs use batteries to power their electric motor and fuel (either petrol or diesel) to juice up their engine. The battery can be charged in the same way as a BEV, but you should expect a less generous range, and will need to fuel it up to benefit from a longer ride. Drivers often see PHEVs as a stepping stone on their journey to going 100% electric.
  • Hybrid Vehicle (HEV) – unlike a PHEV, a hybrid vehicle cannot be plugged into the mains, since its fuel-powered engine is still the main power source. However, it releases significantly fewer pollutants than petrol and diesel motors, meaning it's a good option if you’re looking for a more sustainable vehicle overall.

What's the average price of a used electric vehicle? 💰

While it's difficult to pinpoint an average price for used EVs, the good news is that price tags vary enormously according to the vehicle’s range, condition, and model.

Despite having a reputation for being quite pricey, second-hand electric cars can actually cost as little as £5,000, making them an affordable option for all types of pockets. However, on average, you can expect to bag yourself a used electric car for about £8,000 to £10,000.

If you're looking for a used electric van, you might have to splash out a little extra due to the vehicle's dimensions, with prices starting at around £15,000.

As for used electric motorbikes, you might be able to hop on the saddle for about £2,000. So, if you're on the hunt for the cheapest option and enjoy the sense of freedom that motorbikes bring, it might be the right option for you.

Where can you charge your electric vehicle? 📍

When it comes to charging your electric vehicle, you're likely to have plenty of different options.

Home charging is no doubt one of the handiest solutions, allowing you to juice up your battery overnight. If you want, you can easily boost your EV using a regular domestic three-pin socket. However, connecting your vehicle to a dedicated home EV charger is much better, as it can get your driving range back to full capacity in a speedier fashion.

To install a home charge point, you can expect to pay about £800. You may want to look out for possible grants offered by the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV), as you might qualify for discounts if you meet the specific criteria. How much does a full recharge cost? More or less £6 – not too bad!

You can also recharge your electric vehicle through a public EV charger, whether at a service station, car park, or supermarket. As of April 2024, there are more than 61,000 public charging points across the UK, meaning you're never too far from a top-up spot.

Boosting your battery at a public EV charger is likely to set you back between £7 and £10. But if you're looking to stay on budget, you'll be interested to know that supermarkets such as Sainsbury's, Lidl, and Aldi offer free EV charging for their shoppers.

What distance do EVs cover on average? 🗺️

On average, an electric vehicle can clock up about 212 miles before it needs a recharge, with some of the most modern models lasting over 400 miles.

This said, an EV's range can vary based on a number of different factors. For example:

  • age – over time, batteries struggle to hold a full charge as they once used to, meaning that range in older vehicles may start to slowly decrease.
  • weather – weather conditions also have an impact on a vehicle's range. EVs tend to perform at their best in moderate and mild temperatures, whereas extreme weather can reduce the battery's overall efficiency. So, on very hot or cold days, you can expect your car's range to decrease a bit.
  • driving habits – your driving habits can influence your EV range, too. Factors such as mileage, speed, and acceleration can take their toll on your battery, meaning you won't be able to tally up as many miles in the long run.

Now to the boring, admin-y bit... how much are insurance and repair costs?

How much does it cost to insure an electric vehicle?

While the exact figure will change based on the provider, driver, and car model itself, it can be said that – on the whole – EVs are usually a tad more expensive to insure. This is mostly because they have pricier parts that are more difficult to restore as they're not always readily available.

Also, because EVs' price tags are still higher than fuel-powered vehicles, they are more expensive to replace if they've been stolen.

In terms of repair costs, fixing your electric vehicle might cost you a little more because of the reasons mentioned above. However, the good news is that EVs are easier to maintain as they have fewer mechanical parts and don't require oil changes. This means you generally won't need to visit the garage as much and can save precious pounds.

What is battery leasing? 

In short, with a battery leasing scheme you buy your electric vehicle as normal but have to rent the battery.

The battery is still owned by the car maker, and you pay a monthly fee to rent it, which will vary based on how many miles you think you’ll cover and how long you want it for.

One of the benefits of battery leasing is that it brings down the overall price tag of your electric vehicle so that it's more affordable to purchase. Also, this deal guarantees the quality of your power pack, as you can replace the battery as required and borrow a new one that’s in tip-top condition.


So, are you ready to hit the road aboard a used electric vehicle? If you'd like to learn more about how to finance an EV, don't hesitate to get in touch. First Response Finance is always on hand to guide you on your electric car finance adventure!


Information includes references to:

Zapmap - EV market stats 2024

The Eco Experts - Electric Cars: Are They Really Greener? 

The Eco Experts - How Much Are Second-Hand Electric Cars?

RAC - Electric car charging – how it works and how much it costs

GOV.UK - Office for Low Emission Vehicles

Zapmap - EV charging statistics 2024

Zapmap - Free EV charging points: Where are they all?

NimbleFins - Average Electric Car Range in the UK 2023

Advice | 24.05.24

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