Arnold Clark
Arnold Clark Renault

How do electric cars work?

Find out all you need to know about electric cars in our electric car guide.

The most Significant difference between an electric vehicle and a normal petrol/diesel vehicle is the power train layout. With an electric car the power train is comprised of an electric motor. A reducer replaces the gearbox and a lithium ion battery distributes energy to all systems.

Sounds complicated? It doesn't need to be.

The lithium ion battery in your electric car has a better energy density than earlier technologies which means that batteries are half the size, half the weight and still store twice as much energy than lead-acid and nickel cadmium.

Charging your electric vehicle

There is a range of different charging options available, therefore charging your electric car need not be a hassle. In view of this, you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping whilst your electric car is charging in the car park and, as well as this, many shopping centres will let you charge for free.

Recharging Facilities


If you are worried about charging your vehicle then you don't have to be. Installing a charging point known as a Wall-Box at your home is easy so just leave it to the professionals at British Gas who will carry out a free survey at your home and arrange an installation. Prices start from £799 and you can be warm and cosy in your own bed whilst safe in the knowledge your electric vehicle is safely parked in your driveway charging.

Home charging point

A Wall-Box is a unit that can be installed in homes, or in car parks.

The benefits of the Wall-Box are as follows:


The Wall-Box allows you to charge your vehicle in 7 hours with a 3kW supply or quicker if the electrical installation allows more power output. On a domestic plug, because of the diversity of current installations,the power used is limited to 10 amps or 2kW which means it could take more than 10 hours to completely recharge the battery.

Installing a home charging point

Installing a home charging point


To charge the vehicle, the driver will use the same cable as the one used to connect to public charging points. It is a simple cable (two plugs and a lead) as opposed to EVSE cables which have a regulating transformer between the plugs.

A certified charging installation: The Wall-Box will be installed by a professional who will certify the conformity of the whole installation.

British Gas

For a free quote from British Gas call 0800 980 8175.

There are two different charging options:

Standard Charge

This is the most conventional and practical method of charging for customers. The car can be plugged into public charging points (10A or 16A 220V), in a car park, or at home. It allows charging the car between 4 to 8 hours, depending on the power supply, single phase or triple phase and also dependent on which vehicle.

Rapid Charge

Rapid Charge is ideal in an emergency. This will allow you to charge your battery quickly by plugging your car into a public Rapid Charge point (32A 400V three phase socket). This will allow you to top up the battery to get a 30 miles range in just 10mn or 80% of the battery capacity in just 30mn. This option is not available until late 2012.

Find your nearest charging point

Smart Phone App

The Z.E. Services app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices and allows drivers to manage their electric vehicle right from their phone. The app allows drivers to view key information about their electric car such as battery charge level, remaining driving range as well as SMS/email alerts when the car is low on range.

Check your charge on the go

Check your charge on the go

The app can also alert drivers if there is a problem with their charging i.e. loose connection, to prevent any problems from occurring. The ZE Services app is a free app available on the App Store, Google Play and Blackberry App World.

app-store google-play blackberry

How much will it cost to charge my electric vehicle?

With petrol prices continually rising and reaching an all time high, the average UK driver spends in excess of £1500 per year. Electric vehicles are set to be more affordable to run and better for the environment.

The cheapest way to charge your electric car will be at home overnight with a cost from as little as £1.50 or £3 if you are charging your electric vehicle throughout the day.


Financial advantages of owning and driving
an electric car

Battery Hire Costs

Renault believes that the battery hire principle provides the most affordable, reassuring method to owning an electric vehicle which is why they start from £45. As part of the battery hire agreement we provide a guarantee in terms of the battery capacity throughout its motoring life.

Government Grants

The UK Government supports the electric vehicle by offering a grant. On cars, this is 25% of the total value of the vehicle, up to a maximum of £5000. On vans, this is 20% of the total vehicle, up to a maximum of £8,000.

Road Tax and Fuel Duty

Road tax and fuel duty are all zero, and you'll get other cost exemptions too, such as no London congestion charge.

Company Car Benefit

Company car drivers enjoy a 0% benefit in kind tax rate, and you're also entitled to claim a 100% first-year allowance against corporation tax.

Did you know that:

87% of daily journeys are less than 36 miles

Dependent on the electric vehicle you choose, the range can vary from
25 to 125 miles.

The range of how far your electric vehicle will travel depends on four factors:
  • Speed

    The speed gauge on your electric vehicle will notify you when you are driving economically which will help increase your range.

  • Topography

    When driving, electric vehicles benefit from decelerations and slopes to charge the battery. In addition, your battery will begin to recharge when you begin breaking.

  • Air Con

    Using the air conditioning can reduce your range, therefore, it is highly recommended that you switch your air conditioning/heating on whilst you charge your vehicle before you embark upon on your journey. This can be controlled using the Z.E. Services App.

  • Driving Style

    The more conservatively you drive, the more you will increase the range.

Electric Car Range

Electric Car Range

Managing Your Range

Renault Z.E. vehicles offer a number of solutions to help you manage your operating range, including:

  • A battery gauge which shows the level of charge in the battery.
  • An Econometer which displays the level of energy being consumed at any given moment and indicates energy recover phases.
  • An onboard computer which can display useful information such as remaining mileage, average energy consumption, instant energy consumption and number of kWh consumed.

All Renault electric cars come with Renault 4+ as standard,
just like all new Renault Cars. 4+ includes:

  • 4-year warranty
  • 4 year servicing
  • 4 year roadside assistance
  • Available with or without a 4 year finance package

Renault Z.E. Services

Renault Z.E. Services

Maintenance package: For worry free motoring

Compliments the standard manufacturer's warranty for the Renault Z.E. range:

Electric powertrain warranty: The electric powertrain of the new Renault Z.E. (excluding Twizy) is covered by a warranty of up to 5 years �?? the first 2 years are unlimited mileage, followed by an additional 3 years cover up to 100,000 miles. For Twizy, the electric powertrain has a 4 year 100,000 miles warranty �?? the first 3 years are unlimited, followed by an additional 1 year cover up to 100,000.

Vehicle warranty: Your new Renault is covered by a 4 year warranty package - the first 2 years unlimited mileage and the third and fourth years are limited to 100,000 miles.

Maintenance: Variable years/mileage options, depending on your requirements and the battery hire contract.

Motoring package: A great alternative for long journeys

Renault Assistance roadside cover is provided in association with AXA Cover and in conjunction with the battery hire. The battery hire agreement guarantees you a minimum charge capacity and full recovery services and tow to the nearest charging point in the event of all types of breakdown, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Paintwork Guarantee and Anti-Corrosion Warranty

Paintwork is guaranteed for 3 years while the anti corrosion warranty runs for 12 years. In addition, the Renault Assistance plan (via AXA) ensures prompt helping in the UK and Northern Ireland for manufacturer defects for 48 months.