1. What is an electric car?

An electric car is an automobile that uses a battery-powered electric motor to drive the vehicle. Essentially the electric motor replaces the petrol or diesel engine as the means of moving the car. 

2. Are there different type of electric vehicles?

Yes. There are three main type of electric vehicles:

  • Pure-electric vehicles – uses energy stored in rechargeable battery packs to drive the vehicle.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – combines internal combustion engine or other propulsion source that can be run on conventional or alternative fuel with an electric motor that uses energy stored in the battery.
  • Extended-range electric vehicles – uses an internal combustion engine to power an electric generator that charges the battery system in a linear process – the engine powers a generator, which in turn charges the battery.

3. Why should I buy an electric car?

Electric vehicles are revolutionising the way people think about cars. With no tail-pipe CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from pure EV's, the electric car is a step towards a more sustainable future. Pure electric vehicles use no petrol and no diesel and are up to 80% cheaper to run than cars with internal combustion engines. With fuel prices being a cause of concern to many, the switch to electric vehicles is becoming more appealing.

4. How much do electric cars cost to buy?

The majority of car manufacturers produce fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Please go to the relevant car manufacturers websites for more details on the purchase price.     

5. What vehicles are currently available to buy in Northern Ireland?

Vehicles that are already on the market include:


6. How do I insure an electric car?

When you insure an electric car the process is no different from when you insure a petrol or diesel car.

7. Are electric vehicles limited to size and features?

No. Electric vehicles have all standard features of any modern cars.

8. Are electric vehicles safe?

Yes. Electric vehicles must meet the same safety standards as other cars.If you notice damage or vandalism at a Rapid Charging Point please call our 24/7 customer care team on 0345 601 8303.

If it is an emergency situation, please contact emergency services immediately on 999.  

9. Are electric cars dependable?

Yes. They are just as dependable as petrol or diesel cars. In fact, electric motors have fewer moving parts and therefore fewer points of failure than conventionally powered engines.

10. How much does it cost to run an electric car?

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has calculated that depending on when and how an electric vehicle is charged it will cost 2-4p per mile. This compares to 10-14p per mile for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle. Therefore on average the fuel costs based on an annual mileage of 10,000 would be:

  • petrol/diesel - £1,200 (based on 12p per mile
  • electric vehicle - £300 (based on 3p per mile)

11. How far can an electric vehicle go on a full battery charge?

The range differs for each electric vehicle. View details of battery ranges on the relevant car manufacturers websites. 

12. How fast can electric vehicle go?

Electric cars are capable of conventional car speed, acceleration and power.

13. What type of battery does it use?

Modern electric vehicles use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are better for the environment than other type of batteries because they are made from safe and easily recyclable materials.

14. Where can I charge an electric car?

You can charge your electric vehicle at home, at work or in public as long as you have access to a charge point. Please see the charge point map for detailed charge point locations across Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland.

15. How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

Charging time depends on your vehicle and the type of charge point you use. Usually it takes between 1 hour and 8 hours to fully charge an electric car at a 22kW charge point, e.g 1 hour for a Renault Zoe, 4 hours for a Nissan Leaf and 8 hours for older EV models. Rapid charge points will charge vehicles which have the rapid charge capability up to 80% in 30 minutes. Home charging units take between 4-8 hours to charge depending on whether it is a 3kW or a 7kW charge point.

16. Can electric vehicles be charged using regular household socket?

Yes, but it is recommended that a specific home charging point with its own circuit is installed in the home. Official OLEV (the Office of Low Emission Vehicles) accredited home charge points should be installed, which have 75% grant funding available in Northern Ireland. These are generally arranged by the car dealers across NI at the point of purchase or lease of an EV.

17. Is my home suitable for a charge point installation?

To charge your vehicle at home you will need a safe off-street parking such as driveway, garage or carport. Cables for electric vehicles are usually not very long, so make sure that the parking space is near a suitable plug socket (using an extension lead is not recommended, as it is possible it may overheat).

18. Do I need a permit to install a car charging point at home?

No. If you have a driveway or garage or space to park your vehicle, charge points can be installed within your own private property.

19. What if I don’t own my home?

If your home is rented, then you will need to provide a letter of permission from your landlord before a charge point installation can be carried out.

20. Who do I contact to get a home charging point installed?

The OLEV domestic grant provides a list of accredited domestic charge point suppliers and installers in Northern Ireland. The majority of electric vehicle dealers have arrangements in place with suppliers who will install charge points and claim the domestic grant from OLEV at the point of purchase or lease. Please speak to your dealer for more information.

21. What are the benefits of using electric vehicles for businesses?

Electric vehicles offer a range of benefits for businesses:

  • Running costs of electric vehicles are up to 80% less than a petrol or diesel equivalents.
  • Electric vehicles are exempt from paying Fuel duty, Vehicle excise duty, Company car tax, Van benefit charge and Fuel benefit charge.
  • Electric vehicles have enhanced capital allowances benefits with a 100 per cent first-year allowance. Businesses can relieve entire cost of an electric car or van against taxable profits in the year of acquisition.
  • The Office for Low Emissions offers a grant of up to £3,500 for an electric vehicle.

22. What is the lifespan of a battery?

Electric vehicle manufacturers give their batteries a 5-7 year warranty, depending on the make and model.

23. What happens to the old battery once it’s been replaced?

Used electric car batteries can be recycled and reprocessed into new ones in a process called “cradle to cradle” recycling, which will reduce the demand for raw materials and the fuel to produce a new product. Alternatively, old batteries can be used to store back up power, or store electricity generated by renewable sources.

24. What are the benefits of driving an electric car?

Driving an electric car has a range of benefits:

  • Savings – electric cars are cheaper to run compared to petrol cars;
  • Noise – pleasant driving experience, reduces noise pollution;
  • Dedicated parking spaces;
  • Reliable and easy to maintain;
  • Reduction of air pollution;
  • 100% emission free;
  • Reduces dependency on oil;
  • Environment friendly.

25. Do EVs result in less pollution?

Electric cars have no tail pipe emissions therefore pollution depends on what electricity generating source is used to charge the battery. Multiple studies have shown that electric vehicles reduce total pollution compared with petrol cars, even when batteries are charged with electricity from coal plants. Electric vehicles charged using renewable energy sources will result in no pollution.