Find out about the benefits of buying an electric car, how to insure one, and which are the best electric car models for 2020.
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If you're looking for information on the best electric cars in the UK for 2020, then read our guide. We exlain which are the best electric cars, how to find electric car insurance, and what to look out for in new electric cars in 2020.
Electric cars used to be a novel sight on roads, but with the technology becoming more accessible and being made available in more desirable cars, electric cars are fast becoming a more realistic option for car buyers.
Electric vehicles in the UK became more popular after the car tax band overhaul that came into effect from 1 April 2017. This changed the way road tax was charged. It meant that the only new cars exempt from paying VED (also known as car tax or road tax) were zero emissions electric cars with a list price of £40,000 and under. This made new electric cars in the UK more popular. Following a further change to the rules on tax and electric cars in April 2020, all electric cars with zero emissions are now exempt from VED, while some petrol and diesel car owners will have to pay a higher rate.
The government has announced a ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, but there is speculation that this may be moved forward to 2035. This means new cars manufactured from that date will have to be electric or hybrid to comply. Most recently, ministers were warned that ahead of the deadline, 60% of new cars manufactured should be electric vehicles.
Insuring an electric car
A few years ago, owners of electric cars might have struggled to find an affordable insurance policy. Insurers base their premiums on previous data, including claims history, for types of vehicle. But when electric car technology was new, there was less historical data for them to work from.
Because electric cars were an unknown quantity to many insurers, some declined to cover them, meaning prices were less competitive. Thankfully, electric car insurance is becoming more accessible as the cars grow in popularity, with many insurers now happy to cover drivers of electric vehicles (EVs). The fastest way to find an insurer and compare deals from several different insurers is through a price comparison website like Uswitch.
How much does electric car insurance cost?
While the cost of car insurance for new and existing electric cars in the UK in 2020 will vary due to many factors such as your age, driving history and postcode, there are some general things insurers consider when covering electric cars.
There are some elements of owning an electric car that could assure your provider you are at a low risk of making a claim:
- Electric cars tend to be lower power, so less likely to be involved in high-speed accidents
- The type of people who buy electric vehicles could be deemed more responsible
- Electric cars are modern and likely to be equipped with safety features and crash avoidance technology
However, insurers are also likely to take the extra risks of covering an electric car into account:
- Potential danger to pedestrians as there is little engine noise
- Batteries could be considered a fire hazard
- Specialist parts may be more expensive to repair or replace
Although you might find that insurance is more expensive for an electric car than its standard equivalent model, the cost over the time you own it could be offset by the savings you make on fuel and tax.
Benefits of an electric car
Although you may not save on insurance, there are many financial benefits of buying an electric car, and it’s important to consider any savings over the lifetime of the car (or for the time you will own it). Whether you choose one of the cheapest electric cars or one at the top of the range, you will save money in a number of ways.
Firstly, you’ll save on the purchase price of a new electric car thanks to a government grant. The Plug-in Car Grant covers 35% of the cost of a new electric car up to £3,000, depending on the model you choose (be aware that most list prices take this grant into account) so long as its retail price is under £50,000 including VAT and delivery fees.
Electric cars are exempt from paying VED (car tax or road tax), saving up to £150 per year compared to regular diesel and petrol cars. You will also save up to £2,175 on tax for the year the car is registered, compared to the rate for a highly polluting car. Electric cars that cost more than £40,000 and registered after 31 March 2017 are no longer subject to VED. This follows changes to the rules in April 2020, will means they are now exempt from the tax. It's important to remember that even if you don't need to pay for vehicle tax, you still need to apply for it.
Of course, owning an electric car means you will never have to fill up on petrol or diesel. You can charge your car at home using a standard plug or choose to install a domestic charging point.
Charging from home costs between £2 and £4 in electricity for a full charge. There are also a growing number of public charging points, including at motorway service stations, so you can recharge on the go.
The best electric cars in 2020
If you want to go electric for your next car purchase, you might want to consider some of these popular electric models. Here are some of the best EV vehicles available in the UK in 2020.
Renault ZoePrice: Renault Zoe Price: From £26,195 brand new (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant) Renault’s Zoe is the biggest-selling electric car in Europe, and is an affordable choice for those looking to make the switch to electric.
With models starting in insurance group 14, the Renault Zoe should be affordable to insure.
Nissan LeafPrice: From £26,845 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
First introduced in 2010, Nissan has upgraded its electric Leaf with an all-new style and improved range of up to 242 miles on a single charge.
The new Leaf is in insurance group 21, meaning it should be mid-priced when it comes to insurance.
VW e-up!Price: From £19,615 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
As the name suggests, the VW e-up! Is the electric version of Volkswagen’s popular city car, the VW up!
The standard up! is one of the cheapest cars to insure, and in insurance group 10 the e-up! is one of the cheapest and best electric cars to insure too. The new model went on sale in January 2020 with an upgrade to a larger battery.
BMW i3Price: From £36,025 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
Known for its luxury cars, BMW has branched out into the electric vehicle market with the i3. Unlike the larger standard BMWs, the i3 is mid-range for insurance groups, with most trims in group 21.
VW e-GolfPrice: From £20,015 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
Volkswagen's e-Golf is based on its ever-popular Golf hatchback — in fact, to the untrained eye there is no visual difference between the standard and electric models. It's one of the more popular small electric cars in the UK in 2020. It's fully powered by an electric motor.
With models starting in insurance group 15, the e-Golf is one of the cheapest electric cars to insure. Watch out for the Volkswagen ID.3, which has been built as a fully electric car and is due to go on sale summer 2020 in the £29,000 price range.
Hyundai Ioniq ElectricPrice: From £32,950 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
Hyundai has released three low-emissions versions of its Ioniq hatchback: hybrid, plug-in and fully electric. The Hyundai Ioniq electric should be reasonably cheap to insure, with models starting in insurance group 16.
Kia Soul EVPrice: From £34,295 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
If you're after an electric car with distinctive looks in 2020, the Kia Soul EV might be for you. The Soul recently received an 11% increase in range thanks to a new battery upgrade.
Sitting in insurance group 18, the Kia Soul EV is reasonable to insure — although its petrol-powered counterpart starts as low as group 9.
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
Price: From £26,495 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
Keeping its well-known innovative design up to date, Smart now offers electric drivetrains for both its Fortwo and Forfour models.
The classic Fortwo model in its new electric version is in insurance group 13, making it an affordable contender for electric car insurance.
Tesla Model SPrice: From £81,200 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
While it may not be one of the cheapest electric cars to insure, no EV list would be complete without the mention of Tesla. With impressive range specifications and even self-driving capabilities, the Tesla model S is a performance car with an electric heart.
Unsurprisingly, with its high value and performance, the Tesla Model S is in insurance group 50 (the highest allocation available). It is also one of the top electric cars for safety.
Porsche Taycan: From £83,367 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
A new entry to the luxury car market, Porsche's first full-electric sports car is performance-orientated with green credentials. It also scores highly on the safety tests. It's one of the safest rated cars in the executive class, with a set of impressive Euro NCAP safety ratings.
Vauxhall e-Corsa Price: from around £27,000 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
With the popularity of electric cars it is no surprise that Vauxhall has produced this new, compact offering with modern styling and a 100% electric offering.
Mini Electric Price: from £24,900 (when purchased with Government Plug-in Car Grant)
The iconic Mini has gone green, and with a range of 145 miles and just 35 minutes to charge to 80%, this new electric version for 2020 looks and feels like its petrol cousin, but with green credentials.
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