Private hire driver using an electric vehicle

The Benefits of Driving an Electric Vehicle for Private Hire

There are lots of benefits to driving an electric vehicle (EV) for your private hire work. Whether you work for Uber or another platform, an electric vehicle can save you money on expenses, you can benefit from a number of green initiatives that reduce the cost of an EV and you’ll be helping the environment in the process.

Driving an electric vehicle is a popular topic for private hire drivers at the moment and it’s not difficult to see why. In this blog, we highlight the benefits of driving an EV for your private hire work and include useful resources so you can decide if switching to an EV is right for you.

Save time and money on trips to the garage

EVs are likely to cost you less over the course of owning your car than a petrol car. Not only does electricity cost less than petrol or diesel (see below), EVs also require less maintenance than an internal combustion engine (ICE) in a petrol or diesel vehicle.

The maintenance of an EV is far simpler than the maintenance of a regular vehicle. This is because there are fewer moving parts. A petrol or diesel vehicle can contain hundreds of working parts, from the engine, to the radiator, to the exhaust system. Put simply, EVs have fewer parts that could go wrong or will need replacing over time, making the maintenance of an EV far more cost-effective.

Of course, an MOT will be needed after three years, but an EV won’t require an emissions test and there are fewer parts to test overall. In fact, according to a 2020 consumer report, drivers of EVs save an average of 50% on maintenance and repair compared to drivers of regular vehicles.

Switch to charging and save money on petrol

Electricity costs much less than petrol or diesel – in terms of the money you spend and the cost to the environment. That said, it does depend on where your car is charged. The cost of charging your EV at a public charge point depends on the charge point network and its location.

Public charge points will vary in price depending on the power rating and whether it offers a slow, fast or rapid charge. The cost of electric charge can fluctuate from place to place much like the cost of petrol and diesel, but with the rise of public charging points (there are now 35,000 charge point connectors in the UK – more than petrol stations), you’ll never be short of options so you can look out for a good price.

Here is a breakdown of the cost of charging at different locations and the speed of charging you can expect:

  • Roadside/Lamp Post Charging – Slow Charge. Many local authorities have a ‘pay per session’ system for on-street chargers, so look out for signage for the cost of charging in your area.
  • Car Park Charging – Fast Charge. Several car parks use Pod Point chargers for drivers of EVs. To give you an indication of price, Pod Point’s rapid chargers cost 25p/kWh at Lidl supermarkets, which is about £6-7 for 30 minutes of charging (about 100 miles of range). 
  • Motorway Service Stations Charging – Rapid Charge. Much like the cost of petrol or diesel at a service station, prices are at a premium. With a rapid charge, drivers can typically charge an electric car to 80% in 20-40 mins, but this convenience comes at a greater cost.
  • Home Charging – Fast or Rapid Charge. With home charging, the key is to seek out a good rate for your electricity, as charging your car will impact your regular electricity bill. On average, a full charge costs around £8.40. The cost of installing a home charge point is around £1,000, but a grant from the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) could save you up to £350 (see ‘Benefit from savings, grants and government schemes below).

There are also several places where you can charge your EV for free. According to Zap Map, Approximately 40% of charge points in car parks are free to use and hotels, accommodation and attractions frequently offer free charging to encourage visitors.

If you find yourself frequently requiring roadside chargers, you can look into getting a radio frequency identification (RFID) electric car charging card. These are provided by some of the major UK public charging networks and enable you to sign up for a membership scheme to save money when using public charging points.

Choose from a range of electric vehicles

There was a time when finding a reliable EV with good range was very difficult. These days are over. More and more manufacturers are using their expertise to create vehicles that are better for the environment that also have good battery capacity, range, cargo size and score highly on overall performance.

A typical electric car will have a 60kWh battery, which means a range of approximately 200 miles. When you consider an hour of fast charging can give you that full range for the day, you can clearly see the advantage of having an EV for private hire; in addition to various savings, with overnight charging you’ll also have a car that can drive its full range ready for work every morning.

Among the top-rated EV options for private hire drivers are the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Nissan Leaf e-Plus and the Kia E-Niro. Check out our list of the best electric cars for Uber drivers.

Save money on road charges

A huge benefit of driving an EV in the UK is that they are exempt from road tax – an immediate saving. While private hire vehicles (PHVs) are not exempt from the London Congestion Charge, all purely electric cars, vans and other vehicles are currently Congestion Charge-exempt until 2025, due to the fact that they have zero tailpipe emissions. If you purchase a fully electric vehicle and register it with Transport for London (TfL), you won’t have to pay the Congestion Charge, a huge saving for private hire drivers working in London.

Reduce costs by adapting your driving

There are some really small but effective ways that you can save money while driving an EV. If you maximise the efficiency of your vehicle, you can save money on charging and accept more trips when you’re at work. Here are some of our top tips:

  • Precondition your car. Using your air conditioning or heater can noticeably reduce your battery’s charge. Instead of you and your passengers getting cold or overheating, you can precondition your car while it’s still charging. It takes the most energy to initially cool or warm your car, so if you get it to the right temperature while it’s still plugged in you can keep the car’s full range for your trips that day.
  • Put the car in cruise control. When driving on flat roads, take your foot off the accelerator and save your charge.
  • Remember regenerative braking. All EVs have some form of regenerative braking. This uses the electric motor to slow the vehicle, which at the same time also puts some electricity back into the battery. This makes braking more efficient, so remember your stopping distance and brake gradually to benefit from this. Regenerative braking also places less wear and tear on the brakes and creates less brake dust – so it’s better for efficiency and the environment.

Benefit from savings, grants and government schemes for electric vehicles

Due to the environmental benefits of having more EVs on the road, there are a number of benefits and subsidies available when purchasing an EV and even the charging equipment required to run it. If you’re thinking of purchasing an EV for your private hire work, take a look at the financial help available below.

The government’s low-emission vehicles plug-in grant

You can get a discount on the price of a brand new EV through a grant that the UK government gives to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers. A list of eligible vehicles can be found here. The good news is that there’s nothing you need to do to apply for this – the dealer will include the value of the grant in the vehicle’s price. The maximum grant available for cars is £2,500.

Uber’s Clean Air Plan

This plan supports Uber drivers working in London to reduce the cost of upgrading to an EV and support the London Mayor’s vision for a cleaner, healthier London. 

As an Uber driver in the capital, for every trip you pick up inside the M25 you’ll collect 3p per mile. Once you reach at least £100, you could be eligible for Uber’s ‘EV Assistance grant’. To claim this grant, you’ll need to have accumulated £100 or more of EV assistance and have completed 150 trips in the past 8 weeks.

Uber drivers are emailed monthly with the total of how much you have built up towards a new EV. Once you’ve got your EV, the 3pm per mile is then added to your fare. Click here to learn more and view EV vehicle offers in London.

The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme 

This scheme, often shortened to the ‘EVHS’, supports people who choose to purchase a charging point so they can charge their EV at home. The EVHS grant provides a 75% contribution to the cost of one charge point and its installation in any home. A grant cap is set at £350 (including VAT) per installation.

If you do not have a garage or driveway where you can charge your EV, it’s possible to park on the road outside your home and run the charging cable from your house (or your dedicated outdoor charge point) to reach your vehicle. There are currently no legal restrictions that mean you can’t charge your vehicle with a cable that runs across a pavement, although the Highway Act does give councils the power to remove cables if they believe they are in an unsuitable location. Several councils have recently been approving EV chargers that are fitted to lamp posts in residential areas, so roadside/lamppost charging is a good option if you don’t have a dedicated charging spot at home.

At INSHUR, we want you to get on the road and start earning. Maximising the efficiency of your EV is important, so too is getting hassle-free insurance that doesn’t require you to wait for several hours or even days before you are able to drive again. INSHUR’s 100% online platform enables you to get a quote and a policy in minutes so you can get on with your day. Get your private hire insurance with us today.

Sources

https://www.edfenergy.com/electric-cars/costs

https://www.edfenergy.com/electric-cars/maintenance

https://advocacy.consumerreports.org/press_release/electric-vehicle-owners-spending-half-as-much-on-maintenance-compared-to-gas-powered-vehicle-owners-finds-new-cr-analysis/

https://www.edfenergy.com/electric-cars/charging-points#zapmap

https://pod-point.com/guides/driver/cost-of-charging-electric-car

https://www.zap-map.com/free-ev-charging-points-where-are-they/

https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-exempt-from-vehicle-tax

https://www.drivingelectric.com/your-questions-answered/90/congestion-charge-exempt-cars-do-electric-cars-have-pay

https://evecocharge.com/top-5-tips-to-extend-electric-car-range/

https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants

https://www.uber-vs.com/gb/en/locations/london/

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/cars/electric/future-of-electric-cars/