Owning an electric vehicle in London: the pros and cons

Car buying advice
Nissan LEAF in the race to 1 billion km

Owning an electric vehicle has never had more perks than it does today in London.  Lucky car owners who sport the fossil-fuel-free models are able to cruise the city without worrisome petrol stations or paying the congestion charge.  

However, there are a few cons involved in electric car ownership.  Here are some of the pros and cons involved in owning an electric vehicle.

The pros of owning an electric vehicle

No messy, dirty petrol stations

No stopping at a petrol station in an electric vehicleLondon can be a chaotic, fast-paced city with crime on the outskirts of popular posh clubs.  Stopping at a gas station can leave you vulnerable to elements like muggers (or even just dirty rain).  With an electric car you’ll never have to worry about petrol prices again – just cruise on by those messy tanks and head for the glorious sunset.

A great bonus to avoiding petrol and diesel is a reduction in local and global pollution levels. Be environmentally conscious: choose a car that’s safe for your lungs, as well as your great-grandchildrens’.

Tax credit cash

Save cash on running costs with an electric vehicleIn the UK, drivers are eligible for tax incentives up to £8,000 for owning a new electric vehicle.  That money can be spent on chic new clothes or even high-end automobile accessories.  In the US, drivers are getting similar benefits.  Owners of electric and hybrid vehicles can get up to $7,500 back on their tax returns for choosing environmentally-friendly automobiles.

More and more charging stations

Electric vehicle parking spots are increasing around LondonOne of the big concerns for potential electric vehicle buyers is availability of charging stations.  However, the number of charging points is increasing rapidly, so there is less reason to worry about your car running out of fuel.  Charging points also double as EV-only parking spaces, which can make parking in London easier than in a normal car.


The cons of owning an electric vehicle

Don’t go too far!

What happens when your electric vehicle runs out of charge?Electric cars can only travel up to about 60 miles at motorway speeds, which isn’t enough to get most drivers where they are going.  While charging stations are increasing, no one wants to stop for hours every day while the car charges.

At approximately 30-40 mph, your electric vehicle may be able to travel as far as 120 miles, which is more suitable for city driving.  Before buying one of these cars, consider your road trips: do you want to have to rent a car for every weekend away?

You’ll need that tax credit

Lithium-Ionen-AccumulatorWhile the tax credit seems generous up-front, your car will demand that cost in repairs, upkeep, and of course in the initial price (because these vehicles are expensive).  However, most EV buyers feel the environmental positives are worth the financial negatives.

Just wait until your electric battery needs to be replaced: that one repair could eat-up your entire tax incentive.  Owners of an electric vehicle need to be prepared for that inevitable expense.

Young technology is unpredictable

a smart electric vehicle negotiates London trafficNew tech may be hip and exciting, but it’s also unpredictable.  No-one really knows what will come of the new wave of electric vehicles in the next decade, because they haven’t been around that long: there’s no case study.

However, if you can live with that big question mark hanging over your Nissan Leaf, smart electric drive or other electric vehicle, then it might be a great choice for you.

Determining whether an electric vehicle is meant for you should take time: never hastily purchase one of these cars.  Read reviews from around the web, consider your lifestyle requirements, and plan for hidden expenses like battery replacements.

Further reading

The electric car is finally here, but is it worth it?  The Car Expert explains how an electric vehicle compares to a plug-in hybrid and a regular hybrid car.

Head over to TheCarExpert.co.uk forum to discuss electric cars further!


  1. http://www.cereplast.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-electric-cars/
  2. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/01/23/u-k-extends-ev-tax-credit-to-2015-adds-utility-vehicles/
  3. http://www.greenconduct.com/blog/2012/03/16/the-pros-and-cons-of-an-electric-car/

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