Welcome to Zap-Map’s guide to electric vehicles (EVs). With most countries committed to phasing out conventional vehicles, car manufacturers are now investing heavily in EVs, and new plug-in models are being released regularly. In fact many manufacturers have committed to including substantial numbers of EVs across their model ranges within the next three to ten years.
Use Zap-Map’s EV basics, EV buying guide, available models, and EV charging guide pages to learn about this rapidly expanding market and what vehicles may be best suited for you. Two rapidly emerging EV markets are covered too, with guides for electric vans and electric motorcycles available.
Electric vehicles are made up of two main types: battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). ‘Plug-in options’ is designed to help you understand the pros and cons of each EV type.
The key differences are that battery EVs have no combustion engine, relying only an on-board battery which provides energy to an electric motor.
Plug-in hybrid EVs use an electric powertrain combined with an on-board combustion engine, which enables operation in full-electric mode, using conventional fuel, or a blend of both.
In general, pure-electric vehicles are perfect for city driving, commuting, regular delivery routes, and all short- to medium-distance trips which are predictable. They can comfortably be used on long-distance trips with a little preparation, and only those drivers covering very high daily mileages will find that an EV might not suit their needs.
Use of a pure-EV is easiest with access to home and/or workplace charging, while PHEVs are able to offer longer outright range thanks to fuel flexibility. However, all PHEVs work best when charged as often as reasonably possible, allowing them to cover the majority of trips – approx 25 miles or less – on electric power alone.
Electric vehicles offer a number of benefits over conventional petrol or diesel models. Lower fuel costs, reduced maintenance bills, and zero or discounted car tax are just some of the ways that running costs are lowered, while environmental impacts are also significantly reduced. The ‘EV benefits’ section explores the benefits offered by switching to an EV.
As well as reducing running costs, another key advantage offered by EVs is an improved driving experience; the majority of electric cars are fun to drive and highly responsive.
The torque available from an electric motor means that the initial acceleration offered by even standard EVs is more than offered by many sports cars. Add to this the fact that electric vehicles are ideally suited to stop-start city driving, with many EV owners citing lower driving stress, switching to an EV can be a practical choice for many drivers.
EV models also tend to be well equipped, sitting towards the top of a manufacturer’s trim levels, helping to improve the value-for-money offering. Electric-specific features also mean there is plenty of on-board tech available for owners.
EV buying guide
There are a large number of electric vehicles available to suit a range of driver needs. This EV buying guide walks through the benefits of different systems, and the surrounding decisions required to make an EV work for you.
Pure-electric vehicle driving ranges are improving regularly, and newer models can comfortably cover more than 250 miles on a single charge – enough for many car buyers to consider owning and running one.
For those regularly covering longer distances, rapid charging can come in to play for pure-EVs, with faster charging speeds and points becoming increasingly common. Alternatively. PHEVs may be a better option, particularly for those regularly covering both short- and long-distance trips.
Covered are mileage considerations, running costs, budgets, grants available, and what charging infrastructure is available to keep the EV running efficiently.
Most mainstream car makers now offer electric models, either within established model line-ups or as stand-alone badges. As of 2020, there are more than 130 fully- or part-electric vehicles available to buy or lease in the UK. The choice of electric vans is more limited than electric cars, yet their number is set to increase in the next few years.
To help you assess the specifications of new EV models, Zap-Map has compiled a list of all new EVs which are available in the UK. The list includes all vehicle classes from superminis to SUVs, and sports cars to people carriers. Details include the OTR price, electric range, charging options and official CO2 emissions.
The list, which is regularly updated, is searchable by manufacturer and/or vehicle class. Powertrain options such as battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV and REX) or hydrogen (FCEV) can also be selected to help you find the right EV model to suit your needs.
EV charging guides
With the EV market growing at a rapid pace, there are now a large number of models to choose from. While this is good from the point of consumer choice, given the wide number of vehicle options, this also means there are a variety of different charging set-ups on the market.
In particular, the charging capabilities (and inlet options) of different models is a key aspect of operating an electric vehicle. Various EV models can charge at different fast and rapid speeds depending on what on-board charger has been fitted, with most plug-in hybrids unable to rapid charge.
Battery capacities also have a significant influence on charging speeds, with the larger EV batteries more likely to require rapid charging. While electric vehicles with large batteries can travel further between recharges, they will also take longer to charge unless an ultra-rapid charge point is used and the EV is capable of accepting faster charging speeds.
To help you understand the strengths of each particular EV model, Zap-Map has created a number of EV charging guides for the UK’s best selling electric vehicles. These guides cover all aspects of charging an EV, and include models from the likes of Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Renault, Tesla, and Volkswagen.
Following the success of the electric car market, manufacturers are now also turning considerable attention to electric vans. Increased choice and improved ranges are two core trends, which are only going to make electric LCVs more popular with buyers.
Having previously only been suitable for short distance trips, improvements in range now mean that electric vans are more flexible than ever. Ideal for ‘last-mile’ deliveries and local routes, electric vans have the potential to dramatically cut both running costs and local air pollution.
Zap-Map’s guide to electric vans covers the key cost savings available, considerations of range and usage, and grants available to buyers.
Although electric cars dominate headlines when talking about plug-in vehicles, electric motorcycles are available and set to prove an important element of an electrified vehicle choice. More efficient than cars – thanks to being smaller and lighter – electric motorcycles will appeal to a great number of riders.
Having added a selection of the UK’s most popular electric motorcycles to Zap-Map’s vehicle filters on the apps and desktop map, we’ve also put together a short guide for those interested in riding an electric motorcycle.
Grants available for buyers, charging requirements, and the models available to filter by are covered in the guide, which is set to grow in the coming year.