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The Definitive Guide to Electric Cars

We love to keep up to date on the latest industry news when it comes to cars, caravans and bikes. However, if we’re really going to be at the forefront of knowledge, it’d be irresponsible to forget about the true future of motoring. Say hello to electric cars!

A brief history

Contrary to popular belief, electric cars were actually first invented back in the early 1900s. During this time, they were more popular than gas and steam-powered vehicles. Of course, we all know the story of Henry Ford’s internal combustion engine, and this quickly overtook the electric car market by producing much cheaper cars. By around 1930, electric vehicles were rarely seen.

Fast forward 90 years and electric cars are back in a much bigger way. First things first, we don’t really have much choice now. Fossil fuel resources are running extremely low, and just recently the UK government announced that the production of petrol and diesel cars would be banned by 2040. There’s never been a better time to get clued up about eco-friendly motors.

What's in it for you?

Aside from the obvious environmental perks, there are other benefits to nabbing yourself an electric vehicle. They are much, much quieter than gas-powered cars, and make for a much more peaceful drive. The stink of petrol will be a thing of the past. And if you act soon, the government are currently offering generous grants to help you bypass the initial cost of installing home charge points!

Public charging stations, however, are popping up everywhere. And speaking of the whole cost thing, running a battery-powered car is actually significantly cheaper than your standard internal combustion motor. They’re also cheaper to maintain, as there are fewer parts to worry about.

Obviously, there are downsides, too. Currently, charging your car with a rapid-charge point at the motorway services takes about 30 minutes. This is clearly a lot longer than the quick 5-10 minutes you spend filling up with fuel. And, of course, if you’re charging at home then it’ll take a lot longer – sometimes up to 12 hours for a full battery.

The initial start-up cost, as mentioned earlier, can also be a concern for potential buyers. However, like we said, the government are offering lump sums to help you out, and in the long run, you’ll save cash through lower running costs. There’s also a free road tax incentive for EVs under £40k.

There are plenty of electric cars on the UK market, and we’ll give you a run-down of all the ones you need to know about:

Top 3 EVs

The most popular vehicle is the Nissan Leaf, starting at around £21,000 after the government grant. It’s definitely more economy-friendly than performance-rated, and it’s thought to be perfect for city driving. Its family-friendly layout has made it a hit.

We couldn’t round up some of the best electric cars without mentioning a Tesla. The Tesla Model S combines luxury and performance with cutting-edge technology and sustainability. It’s a fair bit pricier than the Leaf, with its lowest figure being around £62,000 (£53,400 after the government grant). But you definitely get what you pay for. Tesla currently don't approve their vehicles to tow, but we're sure that as they become more mainstream they will approve them.

Afterall, Tesla are renowed for their performace due to the high torque figures produced by the electric motors. This low down torque will make them ideal tow vehicles, should Tesla decide to allow you to tow with them.

If you are on more of a tight budget, and you don't need to tow, you’re best looking at the Renault Zoe. With a starting price of £14,245 for the most basic model, the Zoe is a true economic champion. It has a range of about 250 miles on a charged battery.

Towing with electric cars

Even though none of those 'all-electric' cars are homologated (approved) to tow, more and more of the new generation of hybrid cars are getting approved for towing.

Take for example this VW Passat GTE that we recently fitted a fully detachable towbar to; it has a maximum towing weight of 1600kg with a nose-weight of 750kg. A towing weight only 400kg less than a standard petrol or diesel VW Passat which can tow up to 2000kg.

VW Passat GTE with detachable towbar fitted

If you're not sure if your hybrid or electric vehicle can tow, you can check using our guide here: https://www.towbarexpress.co.uk/maximum-towing-weight/

So, there you have it – the key facts you need to know before embarking on your EV adventure. And trust us when we say, you couldn’t pick a better time to get started!

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