Direct Line magazine

What you need to know before you buy an electric car

Updated on: 17 January 2023

a woman with electric car

There’s a lot to consider when buying your first electric car but don’t worry we’ve done some of the thinking for you.

Electric cars are the future but deciding if buying one is the right step for you is something you need to weigh up carefully.   

Before you make your mind up, it’s important to think about if going electric is really the best thing for you right now.

You need to think about cost, how much you use your car and how far you drive, how you’re going to charge, and what kind of battery you need.

Do the sums

One of the most important things to consider is how much you use your car. How far you travel and how often. How much do you spend on petrol, insurance, and tax? And then compare all that to what it would cost to run an electric car.

You can take advantage of tax incentives and employee benefit schemes to help make buying an electric car cheaper.

How you use your car

Think about how much you actually use your car and how far you drive.

If your daily commute is only 20 miles or you only do a long journey of 150 miles or more a couple of times a year, you might not need a car with a big battery.

Cars with smaller batteries tend to be cheaper and one charge could still last you all week.


If you’ve never owned an electric car, how you charge it is probably one of the biggest questions you’ve got.

There are loads of different ways to charge.

Home wall box chargers are simple and cheaper to use than public chargers, especially if you can plug in overnight when off-peak electricity rates are sometimes cheaper.

If you can’t have a home wall box, you can simply plug your car in using a normal plug socket in your house. However, it’s much slower than using a wall box and could involve running cables from your home.

Charging when you’re out and about is just as easy.

You can find public rapid chargers in most parts of the UK and more are being installed all the time.

They can charge your battery much faster than a home charger – from empty to full in around 30 - 45 minutes, depending on the make and model of your electric car.

They’re easy to find too. All you need is an app.

WattsApp, ZapMap, and PlugShare are all really useful apps that show you where you can find charging points and if someone is using them.

Public chargers all work the same – you just plug and pay on an app or use your contactless card.

Check out this video from our friends at for more help and advice about buying an electric car.

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