Most frequently asked questions about EVs – including car washes

As the number of electric cars increases on British roads, it’s only natural that potential owners wish to know as much about EVs as possible. With that in mind, UK car leasing experts, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, have looked at and answered the most frequently asked EV questions.

Are drivers allowed to take an electric car through a car wash?

Electric vehicles are perfectly safe to take to a car wash. Just like regular petrol or diesel vehicles, electric cars have to go through a ‘soak test’.

This is where vehicles are tested and subjected to near-flood water levels to check for possible leaks, which is carried out to ensure the car is safe.

Are electric cars safe?

Yes, all-electric cars are built to meet the same strict design and manufacturing regulations as any conventional petrol and diesel vehicles.

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Are all electric cars automatic?

Nearly all electric vehicles are automatic since an electric motor doesn’t need gears. This means there’s no clutch and no way of stalling, unlike a standard manual car.

Will air con ruin battery life?

Turning on the air con on full blast can reduce the range of your electric vehicle by 17 percent, meaning if drivers are planning a 100-mile trip, they could only travel 83 miles.

However, most electric cars have a feature called preconditioning, which allows drivers to pre-cool the vehicle’s cabin before a long journey.

This feature works best when the car is plugged in overnight, as instead of taking energy from the electric vehicle battery, it will be taken from the mains, so the battery life won’t be affected.

This means, on hot summer days, drivers won’t need to have the air conditioning on full blast, which drains the energy faster.

Can an electric car cause electric shock?

Most electric cars operate at voltages between 12 and 48 volts which can be dangerous but is unlikely to give a fatal shock.

Of course, any piece of electrical equipment is potentially hazardous, but a shock drivers are likely to get is static electricity from touching it in dry weather, the same as a regular car.

As for the electrical energy stored in the battery, the high voltage cables are thickly insulated and well-protected in the event of an accident.

Therefore, as long as safety regulations are adhered to, there should be no danger of an electric shock.

Can you drive through standing water?

Just like a conventional petrol or diesel car, when it comes to driving through flood water, drivers should always find an alternative route.

The Environment Agency warns that just 300mm of flowing water is enough to float a vehicle.

In an electric car, this means that the circuit breakers can trip if a car is submerged in water and water gets into the electrical system.

As such, the car’s flow of power from the batteries to the motor is interrupted, and drivers may be left stranded.

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