The seven potential hidden costs of your new electric vehicle

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The Government offers up to £350 in grants from the Office of Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) towards installing chargers. Claiming this means you must use an OZEV-authorised installer to do the work.

Renters and flat owners are also eligible to claim the OZEV grant, the Government says.

Yet installing a home EV charger could be a very costly and disruptive exercise if your home is an older one on what is called a “looped power supply”.

Randolph Brazier is director of electricity systems for the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which is responsible for the National Grid.

He explained to The Telegraph earlier this year that looped power supplies were “a way of cost cutting when the electricity supply was nationalised”.

Some households effectively share their power supply with their neighbours, meaning digging up gardens may be necessary before the supply can handle the demand of an EV charger.

In some cases, your neighbours may have to give permission for their gardens to be dug up as well before the supply can be unlooped.

“If we came across a looped supply, we would unloop them for free,” said Mr Brazier. “We then reinstate any garden, path or drive that’s been disrupted.”

The costs for this work, usually needed on terraced or rural properties, are picked up by all bill payers using the 23pc levy that goes towards network costs.

Resale value

Selling your EV, should you trade up for a better model, could be tricky in the short term, although as adoption grows, so will the size of the market for second-hand EVs.

Data from Auto Trader shows that, in some cases, price parity is already being achieved between comparable second-hand petrol cars and their electric counterparts.

However, availability and choice in the second-hand market can still be a concern. Auto Trader says its most commonly searched price bracket is the £20,000-£30,000 range.

A three-year-old Renault Zoe was on average about the same price as the Renault Clio in October, the car trading site says.

A year ago, buying a second-hand 2018 BMW 3-Series would have cost you £20,000 more than buying a similarly aged Tesla Model 3.

Today typical valuations for the petrol-engined German car are within £1,000 of the American EV, Auto Trader adds.

At the time of writing there were seven models of EV on offer versus 77 petrol and diesel cars.

Shipping your vehicle abroad

In 2022 the bulk car-carrying ship Felicity Ace caught fire and sank, taking more than 4,000 vehicles to the bottom of the Atlantic.

Local authorities in the Azores, who rescued the ship’s crew, claimed that lithium-ion EV batteries had ignited in the blaze and accelerated the fire’s spread through the 60,000-tonne vessel.

After the sinking, the ship’s owner, Mitsui OSK Lines, announced it would no longer transport used EVs. Spokesmen insisted at the time that the policy change was not linked to the loss of the vessel.

Nonetheless, EVs are now a specific item of risk for shipping companies. Owners should therefore bear in mind that shipping a favourite vehicle overseas to follow a family move may be less hassle-free than for a conventional car.

Shipping a car costs anything from a few hundred pounds to the low thousands depending on model, carrier and distance.

One company offering this service, Autoshippers, says it can ship EVs “without the need for additional paperwork or added costs”.

Stena Line Freight, the shipping operator, says it accepts EVs aboard its vessels but reserves the right to refuse boarding if its crews suspect the car – or its battery – are damaged in any way.


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