Electric and Hybrid FAQs - Select Car Leasing
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Frequently Asked Questions

Electric cars have lithium-ion batteries that power one or more electric motors which in turn make the car’s wheels go round. The battery is charged with electricity, either by plugging the car in at home or at public charging stations, for example at the supermarket or a motorway service station.

To a certain extent, choosing an electric car is just like picking any other car. You will be thinking about the size and shape, how big the boot is, performance characteristics, price, and so on.

However, electric cars do differ from traditional cars in important ways. You will need to consider for example how far the car can go on a single charge of the battery, how quickly it can be charged in public when you go on a trip, and how efficient the battery and electric motor are. Read our guide on Choosing an Electric Car for further details.

Alternatively, get in touch now with one of our expert electric leasing consultants on 0118 3048 688 or email enquiries@selectcarleasing.co.uk

A Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is the purest form of electric motoring. It has a battery, electric motor(s), and no internal combustion engine. You charge it with electricity by plugging in and it’s free of emissions while driving. Read our Battery Electric Vehicle Guide for more information.

Popular BEVs include the Tesla Model 3, Renault Zoe, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Polestar 2, Porsche Taycan, Nissan Leaf and the Kia e-Niro.

Hybrid cars have both a battery and a traditional petrol or diesel fuel tank. A hybrid car can therefore run on electric power, or a petrol / diesel engine, or a combination of both.

A Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is a type of hybrid car that can run on battery power alone for about 30 miles, but which also has a petrol or diesel engine to power the car once the battery has run out. You need to plug a PHEV in to charge its battery. Read our Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Guide for more information.

Popular PHEVs include the Mitsubishi Outlander, BMW 330e, Mercedes-Benz E 300e, Ford Kuga PHEV and the Audi Q5 TFSIe.

A Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) has both a battery and an internal combustion engine, but the battery is quite small and can only power the wheels at low speeds and for short distances. A HEV cannot be plugged in. Its battery is charged either via the internal combustion engine or regenerative braking. Read our introductory guide on HEVs for more information. HEVs are also marketed as ‘self charging hybrids’ – see next FAQ for further details.

The term ‘self charging’ is a marketing description devised first by Toyota and Lexus, but now also used by other manufacturers such as Kia, Hyundai and Subaru.

A self charging hybrid is a hybrid vehicle that you cannot plug in to charge. The battery is charged instead by the petrol/diesel engine or via regenerative braking. In other words, it is a conventional Hybrid Electric Vehicle, also known as a HEV. Popular self charging hybrids include the Kia Niro, Toyota Yaris, Lexus UX and the Subaru XV e-Boxer.

A mild hybrid car – also referred to as a Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle or MHEV – is a conventional petrol or diesel car that has a very small battery which assists the internal combustion engine. A mild hybrid cannot run on battery power alone. The battery essentially makes the engine more efficient. As such, an MHEV isn’t really an electric car at all. Popular mild hybrids are the Range Rover Evoque MHEV, Mercedes GLE MHEV and the Ford Fiesta MHEV.

Electric cars don’t have gear boxes, so they don’t have any gears either. They are powered by electric motors which are essentially ‘single-speed’. Basically, electric cars drive like automatics: you press the accelerator to increase speed and don’t have to worry about changing gears.

When an electric car slows down, rather than applying the physical brakes, it will often put the electric motor in reverse which in turn charges the battery. This is known as regenerative braking. In this way, slowing down in an electric vehicle increases your battery range. This is particularly noticeable if you drive down a long, steep hill. You will have more range at the bottom of the hill than you did at the top!

Many electric cars come with just one electric motor. If the electric motor is attached to the rear axle, the car is rear-wheel-drive. If attached to the front axle, it’s a front-wheel-drive car. To be all-wheel-drive (AWD), the car needs at least two electric motors: one on the rear axle and one on the front axle. Some AWD electric cars have three or even four electric motors.

The following electric cars have all-wheel-drive versions available: Hyundai Ioniq 5, Polestar 2, Skoda Enyaq iV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6, Tesla Model 3, Mercedes EQA, Volkswagen ID.4, Volvo XC 40, Audi Q4 e-tron, Volvo C40, Audi e-tron, BMW i4, Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes EQC, BMW iX, and a few others (ask our leasing consultants for the full list: phone 0118 3048 688 or email enquiries@selectcarleasing.co.uk).

Heat pump technology is normally used in domestic properties to heat the rooms and water. The same technology is employed in some electric cars in order to capture waste heat which is then used to heat the cabin (cabin cooling is also possible in summer). This means less energy is drawn from the battery to heat or cool the cabin, resulting in more range.

Heat pumps come as standard or as an option on several EVs including the Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Mercedes EQC, EQA and EQS, BMW iX, i4 and iX3.

Electric car batteries are made of lithium-ion and, like mobile phone and laptop batteries, gradually degrade over time. The good news is that the batteries in modern EVs degrade very slowly. For example, a car battery that can hold 100% of its charge in Year 1 might go down to 99% in Year 2.

Batteries are typically warrantied for 8 years, so if you are leasing over 2-4 years, you have nothing to worry about in terms of battery degradation. If a battery were to fail completely during the warranty period, it would be replaced free of charge.

The main way of charging an electric car at home is by plugging it into a dedicated charging point. We can arrange installation for you. Alternatively, you can charge your car by plugging it into a normal 3-pin socket, although this is a slow way of charging.

You can often charge when you are out and about say at a supermarket. Take your charging cable with you and plug in while you shop.

On trips, electric cars are charged at ‘rapid’ chargers. These are high speed chargers, located at convenient stopping points like motorway service stations, where you can get extra miles into your battery quickly.

Electric car batteries are also topped up while driving via regenerative braking. The forward movement of the car is used to charge the battery while slowing down. See our FAQ on regenerative braking above.

The cost to charge an electric car depends on the price you pay for the electricity when charging.

For example, if your car has a 50 kWh battery pack and you pay 20p per kWh for your electricity at home, then a full charge from 0% to 100% would cost you £10 (that is 50 kWh x 20p).

Read our Guide on EV Charging Costs for more information.

The time it takes to charge an electric car depends on (i) how big the car’s battery is, (ii) how much electricity the battery already has stored in it when you start charging, and (iii) how fast the charging point is.

For example, if your battery has 28 kWh stored in it, but a maximum capacity of 50 kWh, then you need to charge it with another 22 kWh to bring the battery up to 100%. On a dedicated home charging point rated at 7.4 kW, getting those final 22 kWh into the battery would take about 3 hours (the maths is: 22 kWh divided by 7.4 kW).

On the other hand, at a rapid charger rated at 50 kW at a motorway service station, you can add about 8 kWh with every 10 minutes of charging.

On a dedicated home charger rated at the standard 7.4 kW, most cars will charge at the same speed. The charge speed is limited to the maximum rating of a domestic charging point, namely 7.4 kW.

However, you may have a more powerful ‘3-phase’ electricity supply at work, and that allows charging at either 11 kW (e.g. Tesla Model 3) or even 22 kW (e.g. Renault Zoe), depending on the capabilities of your car.

Finally, it’s worth checking out the maximum ‘DC’ charging speed of your short-listed cars before deciding which one to lease. The on-board DC charging limit dictates how fast you can get extra miles into your car if you stop to charge on a longer trip.

For example, if your car has only a 50 kW DC limit, then you can’t charge any faster than 50 kW, even if you are plugged into one of the newer 150 kW charging stations. The electric cars that charge the fastest at the moment are the Audi e-tron GT, Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, BMW iX, BMW i4 and the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Yes. As long as you have off-street parking or a garage with an electricity supply, you can charge your electric car at home. You can either plug into a standard 3-pin socket with a suitable charging cable, or for faster and safer charging it’s better to have a professionally installed dedicated EV charging point.

Yes we can. As part of our service when you lease a vehicle with us, we offer you a wide range of high quality charging points to choose from – all at very low prices – and then connect you up with Rightcharge, our charging partner. This makes picking a charger and having it installed an easy, very cost-effective, and pain-free process.

The best EV charging point for you depends on your exact circumstances. For example, some chargers are designed to work seamlessly with solar panels. Others are part of a wider home energy eco-system, allowing you to expand into other energy products and services in the future. Take a look at our charger page for more information, including data-sheets.

If you have any questions about chargers, please get in touch with one of our specialist electric leasing consultants on 0118 3048 688 or email enquiries@selectcarleasing.co.uk

There is currently a £350 grant if you get a charging point installed, but only if you are eligible. The eligibility criteria changed on 1 April 2022, and you can now only get the EV charger grant if you:

  • Live in a flat that you own
  • Are in rental accommodation (flats and single-use properties)

You must also either own, lease or have ordered a qualifying vehicle and have dedicated off-street parking at your property. Read our EV Charger Grant Guide for full details.

Yes you can. Think about it: did you ever consider not getting a petrol or diesel car because you can’t fill up at home? Of course not! Certainly it’s convenient charging your electric car at home, but if you can’t, there are alternatives. See our guide on this subject: “No home electric car charger? No problem.”

More and more charging points are being installed at popular destinations, allowing you to top up your car's battery when you are out and about.

For example, you may well find convenient charging points at your local supermarket, cafes and restaurants like Costa Coffee and McDonalds, gyms, shopping centre carparks, etc. Don't forget to take your charging cable with you, as many of these chargers don't have cables attached.

If you go on a long trip and need to charge on the way, you can stop at a 'rapid charger'. These are usually located at motorway service stations, or near main roads, and allow you to charge your battery quickly (this is known as 'DC' charging). Rapid chargers have their own cables and plugs attached. Charger speeds vary, typically 50 kW, 120 kW or 150 kW, but some are even as fast as 350 kW. Bear in mind, though, that your car will have a maximum DC charging speed which will limit how fast you can charge, even if you are at a faster charging station.

How do you find all these public charging points? Your car may display chargers in the sat nav, but there are also useful apps, such as Zap Map, that help you plan your trip and find chargers quickly. Popular, reliable charging networks include Tesla Superchargers, InstaVolt and Osprey.

The distance an electric car can go on a full charge of its battery depends on a variety of factors, including the battery size, the efficiency of the battery and electric motor, the speed you’re driving, outside temperature, cabin temperature, the terrain, and your driving style.

Nearly all electric cars nowadays can go at least 130 miles on a full charge. The majority have a range of over 200 miles and some can go over 300 miles before needing a charge. Read our Range Guide for the full picture.

The longest range electric cars are currently the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Tesla Model S, BMW iX, Ford Mustang Mach-E, BMW i4, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model X, Volkswagen ID.3, Polestar 2, Skoda Enyaq iV, Kia EV6, Audi Q4 e-tron, Volkswagen ID.4, Audi e-tron GT, Hyundai Kona Electric, Porsche Taycan and the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The long range versions of these cars all have an official WLTP range over 300 miles.

WLTP stands for the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure. It’s a testing process set up by the EU that provides an official battery range for all electric vehicles. You will see the WLTP range figure on manufacturers’ website.

You can think of WLTP range as ‘maximum’ range. In the real-world, range will often be less, especially if it’s cold outside or you are driving at motorway speeds. Our Range Guide has more details.

'kWh' stands for kilowatt-hour. It's basically a unit of electricity. So 1 kWh = 1 unit of electricity.

Electric car batteries store units of electricity. How many units they can store is measured in kWh. For example, the Renault Zoe has a 52 kWh battery pack, which means it can store 52 units of electricity. As you drive along, that stored electricity gets used up to power the electric motor(s).

In relation to electric cars, 'kW' (pronounced 'kilowatt') is used in two ways:

1. It's an alternative metric for how powerful the electric motor is. The traditional measure of automotive power is 'brake horse power' or BHP. Nowadays, you will often see power expressed in kW instead. For example, the Peugeot e-208 has a power rating of 100 kW or 136 BHP.

2. kW is also used when talking about electric car charging. EVs have maximum on-board charging limits expressed in kW. For example, the Citroen e-C4 has a maximum charging limit of 7.4 kW for home charging (this is the 'AC' charging limit) and a maximum public charging limit of 100 kW (this is the rapid 'DC' charging limit).

The charging points themselves – whether at home or in public – also have maximum charging rates in kW. Home chargers are limited to 7.4 kW. Rapid public DC chargers are typically 50 kW, 120 kW, 150 kW or even an ultra-fast 350 kW.

‘Miles per kWh’ is the metric for electric vehicles that tells you how efficient they are. It’s the equivalent of miles per gallon (MPG) for traditional petrol or diesel vehicles.

4 miles per kWh is a high efficiency rating for an EV, and 2 miles per kWh would be a low rating. In a nutshell, a car's miles per kWh figure tells you how many miles it will travel on 1 kWh (1 unit of electricity stored in the car's battery).

 Read our “What’s the equivalent of MPG for an EV” Guide for a full description. 

'AC' stands for 'Alternating Current'. It's the kind of electricity you have at home or at work.

'DC' stands for 'Direct Current'. An electric car's battery is charged with DC electricity. You can put DC electricity directly into an electric vehicle's battery at public 'rapid' DC charging stations. DC charging allows you to fill up your car's battery quickly, ideal if you're on a long trip.

At home, you only have AC electricity, so how can you charge your car if its battery can only accept DC electricity? The solution is that all electric cars have 'on-board inverters' which turn AC electricity from your charging point into the DC electricity that your battery needs. It all happens automatically and there's nothing you need to do other than plug your car in.

As manufacturers gain more experience in making electric cars, they improve the battery and electric motor efficiency. The most efficient electric cars at the moment include the Tesla Model 3, Fiat 500e, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, BMW i3, Mini Electric, Seat Mii Electric, Volkswagen e-up!, Smart EQ fortwo and the Hyundai Kona Electric (39 kWh).

The headline cost of electric cars varies enormously. From £18,200 for the Smart EQ ForTwo Coupe all the way up to £140,751 for the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S (all prices correct as of 11 October 2021).

However, if you lease an electric car, you might be in for a nice surprise. At Select, we negotiate very low monthly payments for our customers, by committing to high volumes of vehicles.

For example, the ever popular, all-electric, high spec Renault Zoe GT Line R135 50kWh Rapid Charge is currently (11 October 2021) available for just £221.02 a month (8,000 miles a year, 3 year term, and with an initial payment of £1,989.14). That low monthly payment compares to a comparatively high headline cost of £34,595. That’s the power of leasing in action.

The government electric car grant scheme ended on 14 June 2022. It used to be £1,500. When you leased an eligible car, the grant was applied automatically.

If you're looking to lease a van – good news! – the grant is still available. Read the government's "Low-emission vehicles eligible for a plug-in grant" page for further details.

At the moment, electric cars can be more expensive than a similar sized traditional car when you look at the headline cost. However, at Select we negotiate special deals on our electric cars by committing to volume, and this can translate into surprisingly low monthly instalments. Have a look at our Hybrid & Electric Special Offers page for more details.

Electric car technology is evolving fast. If you buy a car today, you may find it’s a little out of date in a few years’ time. On the other hand, if you lease an electric car, you can hand it back in 2-4 years and move straight over to the latest technology available at that time. The car you had been leasing will find a good home in the second hand market. All the other benefits of leasing vehicles still apply.

At time of writing (12 October 2021), the cheapest electric cars to lease are the Fiat 500e, Smart EQ ForTwo, Smart EQ ForFour, Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Mazda MX-30, MG ZS EV, Hyundai Kona Electric, MG 5 EV, Vauxhall Mokka-e, Peugeot e-208, and the Volkswagen ID.3.

If you charge your electric car at home, then yes electric cars are definitely cheaper to run than conventional petrol or diesel cars. This is especially the case if you charge at a low-cost, off-peak rate. If you lease a very efficient electric car, then even charging at more expensive rapid chargers generally works out cheaper, too. See our guide on Electric Car Charging Costs for more details.

The manufacturer of the car will have a recommended service schedule which you should adhere to. Service intervals for electric cars can be quite similar to petrol or diesel cars. However, as electric cars have fewer parts, there is generally less to check during the service. We offer service and maintenance packages that take care of it all for you.

Broadly speaking, it should be cheaper to service an electric car than a petrol or diesel car. This is because electric cars have fewer parts and there is less to go wrong. However, servicing costs do vary from model to model and garage to garage, and it’s worth checking likely costs in advance. You may be interested in one of our maintenance packages which takes the hassle of worrying about servicing and maintenance away for a fixed monthly fee.

All fully electric cars are exempt from the London congestion charge until December 2025. You must register your vehicle with Transport for London to avoid paying the charge.

Yes, if you wish to avoid paying the London congestion charge, you must register your vehicle with Transport for London.

The London Ultra Low Emission Zone was introduced in April 2019 and covered the same area as the London Congestion Charge. You have to pay a fee if you don’t meet the required emissions criteria.

Fortunately, 100% electric cars pass the test and are not required to pay the ULEZ charge. However, you must register your vehicle with Transport for London. From 25 October 2021, the ULEZ expanded from central London to create a larger zone up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205).

Fully electric cars, also known as BEVs, are definitely better for the environment. They run on battery power alone and have no international combustion engine. This means that while you’re driving, there are none of the harmful emissions associated with petrol or diesel cars, such as CO2, NOx or diesel-based particulate matter.

Plug-in hybrid cars, or PHEVs, have both a medium-sized battery and an internal combustion engine. Generally they can run on battery power alone for about 30 miles. For those battery only miles PHEVs are emissions free. But when the battery runs out of charge, the internal combustion engine takes over and starts consuming petrol or diesel. At that point the plug-in hybrid behaves like a normal petrol / diesel car and emits harmful gases.

The final type of car to consider is the conventional (non plug-in) hybrid or HEV. These cars have small batteries, together with an internal combustion engine. HEVs can go short distances at low speeds emissions free, for example when driving in the town or city. However, at normal speed and for further than a mile or two, the engine takes over and starts emitting gases. It’s also worth pointing out that HEVs cannot be charged with electricity (they can’t plug in) and are always fuelled with petrol or diesel.

Millions of electric car batteries will be manufactured in the coming years. What will happen to the battery once the electric car has reached the end of its life?

The good news is that car batteries are proving to be very robust and likely to outlast the car itself.

Once the car has reached the end of the road, many batteries will be given a second life. Although they may no longer be able to power a car, they are fine for what’s known as ‘stationary storage’. For example, you might install stationary storage such as the Tesla Powerwall at home to help store electricity and power your house.

Once those battery cells can no longer hold a charge even in second life applications, then they will be recycled. In theory, about 90% of the components of electric car batteries can be recycled. Over time, battery recycling will become big business, as thousands and thousands of car batteries come to the end of their life. Recycling rates may not always be as high as 90% in the real-world, but the EU has mandated that at least 50% of battery materials must be recycled.