FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Find the answers to all your Electric Car queries here
Prices Why electric cars are more expensive?
The main reason why electric cars are more expensive compared to petrol or diesel vehicles, is because of the battery. EV batteries cost a lot to make because they comprise of precious metals and their vast energy capacity means they have to be constructed carefully. For example, the DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE holds the same amount of power as 18,000 smartphones!
But, whilst electric cars are a higher price on the list front, they’re cheaper to maintain and run. Thus, the total cost of owning an electric vehicle will be the same or less compared to a conventional car. This is thanks to an EV having fewer moving parts, and electric power being a much cheaper ‘fuel’ than petrol or diesel.
Additionally, here at DS, we offer multiple finance and leasing solutions that can be tailored to you and your budget. Making purchasing an electric car easier than ever.
What is a hybrid car?
A hybrid car is one that uses two types of power. Hybrids combine a conventional engine (petrol or diesel) with an electric motor to power the vehicle. The key benefit of a hybrid car is that they consume less fuel than their conventional counterpart.
However, with that being said, there are differences in efficiency hybrid cars. We explain the varieties below:
- Mild hybrid (MHEV) – These vehicles combine electric and a conventional engine like full hybrids (HEV), except you cannot run on electric power alone. The electric motor is just used to power the combustion engine, meaning the vehicle is just slightly more efficient.
- Full Hybrid (HEV): Hybrids use both the electric and combustion engine to power the car – either simultaneously or separately. The electric battery is charged through regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine, rather than plugging in like a PHEV.
- Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV): Plug-in hybrids have the most battery power and usually have far more electric range than any other type of hybrid. For example, the DS 7 CROSSBACK E-TENSE 4X4 can cover up to 36 miles in 100% electric mode, sufficient for most journeys. The outstanding battery capacity in a PHEV is due to the vehicles being charged through plug-in, alongside regenerative braking.
What does the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars mean for me?
The government has announced that petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from sale in 2030. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to drive them, or they’ll be banned on roads, you just won’t be able to buy a brand-new petrol or diesel car after 2030.
Whilst it may seem like a big change, petrol and diesel cars won’t be replaced overnight. So, we’ll see many gradual changes over the years that will make owning an EV accessible for all.
Why are petrol and diesel cars being banned?
The UK has a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Reducing the emissions and pollutants from passenger vehicles is part of that, under the governments “green industrial revolution” plan. The UK’s plan aims to tackle climate change and help the British economy by creating new jobs in green energy and transport.
What will happen to petrol and diesel cars and vans?
There will still be internal combustion engine vehicles on the roads, long after the ban on the sale of new internal combustion engines. Namely because the average lifespan of a car is around 12 years, plus you will still be able to purchase second-hand petrol and diesel vehicles.
You will still be able to fuel up on petrol and diesel at petrol stations, too. However, the number of pumps will eventually decrease with the onset of new electric charging points for EVs.
Are DS electric cars really green?
Overall electric cars are greener than comparable conventional cars. This is because electric cars run on renewable energy, thus they do not burn fuel which omits air pollution whilst driving. Electric vehicles use more energy in the manufacturing process (than petrol or diesel cars) because of the lithium-ion batteries, but this still far outweighs conventional cars. Greenpeace notes, that an electric car has about half the climate impact over its lifetime compared to petrol or diesel cars.
What measures does DS take to minimise the impact of battery production?
DS Automobiles and its parent company Stellantis will not accept supplies which have come from countries and mines that are accused of poor environmental and human rights records. We work in partnership with our suppliers to implement responsible attainment practices throughout the entire supply chain.
What happens to batteries when the car is scrapped?
When an electric vehicle is being scrapped the battery can either be repurposed for use in homes or businesses or recycled to obtain raw useful materials.
This second-life recycling means electric batteries could have another 10 years of life in alternative applications. You can learn more about electric batteries in our definitive guide.
Driving experience: What is it like to drive an electric/PHEV?
Driving an electric motor is a lot similar to most cars, many of the controls are the same so there’s nothing new to learn. In fact, there could be less to learn.
One big difference is how efficient it feels to drive an EV. Electric motors are automatic and have no gears, which makes acceleration seamless. Additionally, electric cars deliver instant power as soon as you push the pedal, feeling faster from standstill than most cars.
How to get the best out of my new EV?
All DS Automobiles electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles boast a variety of driving modes to alter the way the car responds. The ‘Eco’ setting can be used to save electric power and cover more miles. Whilst the ‘Sport’ mode provides more power but is less efficient.
One innovative technology of electric and hybrid vehicles is regenerative braking. Your EV harnesses power every time you lift your foot off the accelerator. You can tailor the regeneration to suit how you drive, by selecting a level from imperceptible to strong.
Reliability and battery life: Are electric cars reliable?
Electric cars are typically more reliable than petrol or diesel vehicles. They have far fewer components to wear out, replace or maintain, compared to conventional cars. What’s more, here at DS, we offer an exceptionally long warranty on batteries for all EVs. For the first 8 years or 100,000 miles your battery will be covered by DS’s warranty, subject to our standard Ts&Cs, such as having your vehicle serviced at the right time.
How long will a battery last, can it be repaired?
Electric batteries are incredibly robust, and although some degradation is expected this is certainly minimal. For peace of mind, we cover the vehicle to 70% of its original capacity over 8 years. Which is far superior to the UK government Plug-in Grant of 70% over 5 years.
The battery shouldn’t need any repairs, however, should there be an issue the battery pack can be assessed by DS Automobile technicians. If necessary, individual cells within the battery pack can be replaced to restore the battery.
What does the DS battery warranty cover?
Our battery warranty covers performance to 70% of original battery capacity, over 8 years or 100,000 miles. This means the battery will be maintained or repaired during the warranty period, subject to T&Cs.
Does the battery need special care, and will it need servicing?
Your battery pack is maintenance free, there’s no need to add fuel, oil or water to maintain your car, except charge when required. Every time your DS is serviced, your DS Automobile technician will check the EV battery to ensure it’s kept healthy.
There are steps you can take to ensure the battery is in as good shape as possible, such as not charging to 100% if it’s not required. If you’re not going on a long journey, it’s best to top up to 80% or less. It’s easy to set the charge level in the EV menu to avoid any unnecessary charge.
If you do require a 100% charge, it’s best not to leave the car fully charged for long periods. Similarly, it’s best not to leave the car with a very low charge.
Servicing: Is it expensive to service electric cars?
No, it’s far cheaper to service and maintain electric vehicles. In fact, the maintenance costs are 30% less on average compared to internal combustion engine cars. This is due to EVs having fewer moving parts, so less items to replace or maintain.
Can every dealer look after an electric car?
Yes, your DS retailer’s technicians are specially qualified to undertake maintenance and repairs in DS EV and PHEVs. They are certified as experts in electric car maintenance, to guarantee you have the best possible care for your EV.
Safety: Are electric cars safe in an accident?
Yes, they are as safe, or safer in an accident than a petrol or diesel car. This has been revealed by EuroNCAP, the independent testing organisation, which tests most cars on sale.
Additionally, all DS electric vehicles are equipped with an additional safety pack, which entails the latest technology to keep you and other road users safe.
Can you drive electric cars in a flood/heavy rain/car wash?
Yes, you can drive an electric vehicle in the exact same conditions as a conventional car. Electric motors go through the same rigorous tests as petrol and diesel cars, so they’re just as safe in wet settings, and even car washes.
Low/Zero Emission zones: What are they, and what do they mean for me?
Low and Zero Emission Zones are areas only vehicles with little or no exhaust emissions are allowed access. Which means only 100% electric vehicles, or plug-in hybrids running on electric will be granted entry.
Taxation and subsides: What incentives are there to help me switch to electric?
The government offers up to £2,500 towards the cost of new electric vehicles priced under £35,000, which includes the DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE, prestige and performance line.
What’s more, you’ll pay no road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) and there are even tax incentives for businesses, too. Company car drivers who drive electric have the advantage of having low or zero benefit in kind tax, which will save drivers and employers significant money.
What is going to happen in future to EV taxes?
We cannot predict what will happen with future government policies. But, with the UK committing to climate change agreements and EV being imperative to those targets, it means it’s highly unlikely EVs will be disincentivised with new taxes.
With that being said, as electric vehicles become more commonplace, the current generous incentives will likely be reduced or discontinued. At the moment, the UK’s plug-in grant is funded until 2022/23, but the level of grant offered could change during this period.
Charging: Is it easy to charge an EV/PHEV?
Charging an EV/PHEV is easy, you can even schedule charges at the comfort of your home with the MyDS App. We recommend customers should have a home charging point, so charging is faster and more convenient. Owners can get money towards a home charging grant through the EVHS scheme.
Outside of the home, there are over 40,000 charging points across the UK with more being added regularly. At public charge points you will have the choice of two types of charging: AC and DC. You will often find AC points at train stations, or where you’re likely to be parked for a long time. DC, otherwise known as rapid charging, is normally found in service stations or near busy roads. These charge points are much faster than AC, and are meant to be used for long journeys, or a weekly charge if you don’t have a home charger.
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
The length of time taken to charge an electric car will depend on the size of the battery and the electric connection you use; this can range from just 30 minutes or more than 12 hours.
The DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE can be charged to 80% in just 30 minutes with a 100kW rapid charger (DC). Owners using a home charging point (wallbox) can complete at full charge in 7 hours and 30 minutes (7kW Accelerated charging), which is perfect for overnight charging. Whereas the DS 7 CROSSBACK PHEV, can be fully charged in 2 hours with a home 7kW charger.
What will owning an electric car do to my electricity bill?
Your electric bill will likely rise if you charge your vehicle at home regularly, but you don’t have to pay for petrol or diesel ever again, so you’ll still save overall. Many EV owners take advantage of off-peak charging rates by charging their car overnight. It’s worth shopping around for different energy deals which will take into account your higher usage. You may also want to look for energy tariffs that have a longer off-peak period to ensure you can fully charge your vehicle at a reduced price.
It’s easy to make use of your energy tariffs off-peak period with the MyDS app, just simply programme charges through your phone to start at the cheaper rate.
Additionally, you can also take advantage of the many free charging points across the country, often found at work, shops or some businesses.
What happens if I run out of charge?
If you are driving a PHEV, the car will simply switch to petrol power once the battery runs out. In an 100% electric car, the experience will be very similar to when you run out of fuel in an internal combustion engine car. You will get plenty of warning beforehand, much like a petrol or diesel car.
As soon as your battery gets low, DS electric vehicles will locate your nearest charging points with the DS Connect feature. If you do happen to run out of power, DS Connect can call DS’s mobility service who will take you to the nearest charge point, to help get you back on the road.
Is DS looking at hydrogen as an alternative power source?
DS Automobiles will continue to work with experts from across the world to ensure we are at the forefront of using fuels that are as efficient and sustainable as possible.
Currently, there are practicalities around production, storage and distribution of hydrogen. Which means at the moment electric vehicles are a far better option, plus they are much cheaper to buy and run.
Therefore, DS Automobiles believes hydrogen will have a place in the future for fuelling transport, so will continue to test and develop hydrogen vehicles. But, at the current moment, DS Automobiles believes electric battery technology is more appealing for smaller vehicles.
What about synthetic fuels?
Some industry experts have proposed synthetic fuels as a way of reducing carbon. Like hydrogen, these are produced using electricity to manufacture a fuel which can then be burned in a conventional internal combustion engine. Meaning they can be used in existing conventional vehicles with no changes needed to infrastructure.
Like hydrogen, generating these fuels takes a lot of energy but can be a good way of using renewable energy which is usually difficult to distribute or store, such as solar power in remote desert areas. This could be an excellent way of reducing reliance on fossil fuels for heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses and even ships.
However, in the UK and Europe, we have an advanced and developing electric charging infrastructure, hence why DS Automobiles believes in continuing to develop affordable EV and PHEV to make the biggest impact on reducing the carbon footprint.
Towing: Can I tow with an electric vehicle or PHEV?
In most vehicles, towing will impact the efficiency of the car, even with petrol and diesel vehicles. At the moment, our EVs cannot tow, however this capability is being developed as EVs become more efficient.