Electric cars are increasing in popularity with each passing day. As more cars are converted and manufacturers bring more new EVs to market there’s more choice than ever before. No longer are EV options limited, buyers are able to pick from a variety of different models that all offer different things.

However, there are some core features of all EVs that buyers need to be aware of, be that about charging, the batteries themselves or even the grants available to customers. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Grants

Sadly, this does not apply to Retro EV conversions, but if you are planning on buying a new EV the plug-in car grant stands at £3,500 off the cost of a new electric vehicle. This doesn’t apply to hybrid vehicles, though, only pure EVs. When you’re browsing for a new EV, check to see whether the on-the-road price takes this grant into account – some do, and some don’t.

Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular new EVs on sale

In addition, you should be able to get an additional grant of up to £500 off the cost of installing a home charging point if you buy a new vehicle. This doesn’t currently extend to buying used or converting a vehicle, but we are petitioning the government to extend this scheme.

Range

Range is king when it comes to electric cars. The Tesla Model S Long Range offers one of the best ranges at the moment, delivering up to 375 miles between charges. That said, there are plenty of models which will do well over 200 miles from a single charge.

When it comes to Retro-EV conversions range is likely to be lower than new cars. Finding the space for storage of the batteries will be the biggest limitation on the range of your conversion, however unless you use your Retro-EV for a long daily commute, a range of around 100 miles should be feasible. Vehicle converters are able to helps you calculate what kind of range a setup is likely to deliver, we’ll be covering range and battery calculation in more detail on this site in the next couple of weeks.

Batteries

Working out your conversions battery size can be confusing at the best of times, they do not affect speed or acceleration, think of them as the vehicle’s ‘tank’. They’re measured in kWh – and the larger the number, the more range that the car will be able to offer. Batteries are also one of the highest costs of any conversion, so work out the realistic range you want from your car and then fit batteries to suit.

For instance, a small Retro-EV such as mini or beetle with a 35kWh battery should be able to return around 90 miles per charge. A larger 65kWh battery in a four-door saloon could deliver up to 150 miles from a charge. Teslas get these large 65kWh batteries, which is why they can return even longer ranges.

Charging

Charging is the lifeblood of an EV. After all, if there’s no charging then you’re not going anywhere. It’s best to split charging options into three different sections, with all measured in kW – this is how quickly the energy can be delivered to the car.

Rapid chargers offer the quickest charging speed. Some are able to deliver over 100kW of power – with some as high as 350kW – which, if your car accepts that much, means you can add lots of charge in a short amount of time. So when converting your car you need to consider your charging requirements carefully as the onboard charger your choose will dictate the speed of charge.

BMW i3
Home charging stations make adding charge easier

Fast chargers have power ranging from 7kW to 22kW. This also applies to domestic wallboxes, which convert a usual household energy supply into a more powerful energy delivery – around 7kW. It means you’ll be able to charge your car up more quickly at home.

Finally, there’s three-pin charging. At best, these deliver up to 6kW of charge. To fully charge a modern EV, you’ll likely need to leave it connected to a three-pin overnight – at least.

Maximum charging rates

Though you may have hooked up your car to a rapid charger capable of delivering over 100kW of charge, that doesn’t always mean your car will be able to accept it. Chargers have different ratings, so if the maximum amount of charge your car can accept is 7kW, it’ll only be able to take a maximum of 7kW of charge – even if plugged into a rapid charger.

If you’re considering a particular vehicle or charger type for your conversion, this is well worth investigating. Although unlikely for most Retro_EV owners, if you know you’re going to need frequent rapid charges, then the chargers rating becomes even more important.

Road tax

Another bonus which comes with EV ownership is vehicle tax – sometimes known as road tax. All pure electric vehicles are exempt from vehicle tax, including those that have been retro converted.

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