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Can Love my EV switch energy supplier for me?

We compare tariffs from all the suppliers offering EV-friendly tariffs, but we can’t start a switch for you. This is because suppliers need time to check the information from your smart meter before you move to an EV-friendly tariff.

Instead, you can click through from your tariff results page to check the details on the utility’s website and start a switch to an interim tariff. Once the supplier has received information from your current smart meter (or, if you don’t yet have a smart meter, installed a smart meter at your property) they will switch you to an EV tariff. 

When you switch supplier, it’s useful to have the following information:

  • Your postcode.
  • The name of your current supplier.
  • The name of your current energy tariff.
  • Your annual energy usage or costs.

You can find your tariff, supplier and annual information on a recent energy bill. Log into your online account if you don’t get paper bills.

Can electric vehicles tow caravans or trailers?

Like all other cars, electric cars need to be ‘type approved’ to tow a caravan or trailer. At the moment there are a few models with this approval, but it is true that today these are some of the more expensive options.

As with petrol or diesel cars, the efficiency of an EV drops with an extra weight to tow, so the range you could expect will be lower. Due to their instant torque EVs are, however,  very well suited to towing.

Can electric cars be towed?

Firstly, if an EV breaks down it can be towed safely out of immediate danger (for example, when in a live traffic lane), just like any other vehicle.

For towing at higher speeds and longer distances, EVs are best towed with the wheels off the ground.

This is also the case for many automatic petrol and diesel vehicles, so not a new challenge for vehicle recovery companies.

The AA and RAC have both developed ‘wheel-up’ innovations that allow standard patrol vans to tow an EV for long distances. If the problem is an empty battery, many patrol vans are being fitted with boosting capabilities to give you enough juice to get you to the nearest charge point.

Will the electricity grid cope if everyone switches to electric cars?

Electric cars don’t use as much electricity as you might think. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change suggests that even electrifying the entire UK vehicle fleet would mean road transport makes up only 15-20% of total electricity demand in 2050.

With EV drivers charging at less busy times (such as overnight), there’s less need for strengthening the current infrastructure.  Most people don’t need to fully charge their cars more than once a week. This means when you plug an EV in at home you are mostly ever only topping up. If you throw in cheap pricing as an incentive, most EV drivers will happily fill up more when there is high supply of renewable energy compared to demand.

Watch Top Gear’s Chris Harris interviewing Graeme Cooper from the National Grid to find out more.

What about recycling the batteries?

Battery producers are obliged to take back EV batteries at the end of their life and ensure they are treated at permitted facilities that meet the required recycling efficiency standards.

It’s in everyone’s interest to create a circular economy for EV batteries to maximise the economic and environmental opportunities of the transition to zero emission vehicles.

The target is for an EV battery pack to be 95% recyclable by 2035.

Will the battery need replacing after a few years?

There are well over 10 million EVs all over the world and there is no evidence to suggest that fears about battery lifespans are well founded. The life you should expect from an EV shouldn’t be any different from a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Most electric vehicle batteries have warranties of around 8 years (or 100,000 miles), but are expected to last much longer. As battery technology improves, their lifespan will continue to improve.

Are there affordable electric cars?

Yes, the price tags on an EV can be hefty, especially if you’re not normally in the market for a new car. But while you pay more upfront for an EV, the running costs are much lower than a conventional car.

For many people, EVs have a lower total cost even over the first few years of ownership. EVs don’t pay Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) and emissions zone costs, they have a very low cost per mile when charged overnight at home, and require less maintenance. 

You don’t have to buy an EV outright to start driving one – there are very cost-effective lease deals and even flexible month-by-month subscription services to consider.

Can I charge an EV without off-street parking?

Of current EV drivers, only around 10% can’t charge at home.

Home charging is definitely the most convenient and cost-effective way to charge. This doesn’t mean that you can’t go for an electric car if you don’t have a driveway.

There are numerous ways to get around not being able to charge at home. For more information and tips, head over to our article on charging an EV if you don’t have a driveway.

Are there enough EV charge points?

Today, if you are on the road in an EV, you are unlikely to be more than 25 miles away from a rapid chargepoint.  There are public chargers along England’s motorways and A roads, and more at destinations and locations just off the beaten track. 

The speed you can charge depends on both your car technology and on the charger speed itself. Even with an average new EV, on an average rapid charger you’ll be adding 100 miles every 30 minutes.Kia’s new EV6 can add 200 miles in less than 20 minutes.

 

 

Can electric cars do long journeys?

It’s easy to overestimate the number of miles you drive each day, but statistically 99% of our car journeys are under 100 miles. The average driver covers something like 7,000-8,000 miles per year – that’s around 20 miles a day. 

There are over 20 models available with a quoted 200-plus mile range. In fact, it’s quicker to list the cars that don’t have this huge range: The Mini Electric, the BMW i3 and the Hyundai Ioniq SE are three models with smaller battery packs that have an average real-world range of between 114 and 170 miles.

A smaller, lighter battery pack make these models much more efficient (greater miles per kWh). Less battery also means they have lower embodied carbon (meaning all the emissions from manufacturing) and lower price tags make these some of the best value electric cars on the market. 

Is an EV tariff really green?

As with any tariff, the energy that comes down the wires to your house is from a mix of sources that varies by time of day, and by where you live. 

Love my EV calculates that electricity on the grid the off-peak hours of an EV tariff is about 26% lower carbon than energy you’d use if you just arrived home in the evening and started charging (August 2020 – August 2021 using National Grid ESO data).

It’s relatively cheap for any supplier to label a tariff as ‘green’ by buying certificates called REGOs. Cheap certificates don’t help fund more renewables on the grid. Signing up to a properly green tariff with a supplier that is committed to buying only green energy (not just the certificates) or, better still, even owns renewable power generation will support investment in further renewable generation. 

Read more about this in our article, How green is your green tariff?

Why can’t I switch direct to my chosen EV tariff?

Your new supplier will start you off on a traditional ‘single-rate’ tariff to begin with. They do this to check they are receiving data from your smart meter. After a week or two, once they can see your meter is working correctly, they can move you onto the EV tariff you have chosen. 

To avoid any surprises, you can check whether your smart meter is working as expected using the Citizen’s Advice smart meter check tool 

Why can’t I auto switch to an EV tariff?

Love my EV can’t offer you an automatic switching to an EV tariff.

This is because your new supplier needs to check that they are receiving data from your smart meter for a few weeks before they can move you onto the EV tariff you have chosen. 

Once you have decided on a tariff, we get you straight to the relevant page of the supplier’s website. Because each supplier is different, you may have to input some of the information again.

Even though we can’t do this for you, we’ll provide you with clear information about what to expect for each supplier.

Do I need to switch my gas supply to get an EV tariff?

Many EV tariffs come as dual fuel, which means you must switch your gas with your electricity supply to the new supplier. However, if you don’t have gas, then most suppliers will be happy to have you on board.

The exception is E.On Next, who won’t take you on as a customer unless you have both a gas and electricity supply.

Octopus Energy, on the other hand, do not insist that you switch your gas to them. You can often get a better deal by leaving your gas with your current supplier or moving it to another provider.

 

Can I get a smart meter if there’s no mobile phone signal at my house?

It makes a difference where you live. The Southern and Central Regions use Telephonica (O2) as the mobile provider, whereas the Northern Region uses Arqiva’ Long Range RadioTechnology.

In Southern England, smart meters communicate through mobile communications and so the signal strength at your house is important. Your supplier will check that a premises has communications before visiting. Once on site they can check with a signal checking device if the signal is strong enough in the meter location. 

If the signal isn’t strong enough, they can try a number of different aerials to try to boost the signal. 

In areas of patchy mobile connectivity, but if your neighbours have a connected smart meter, your SMETS2 meter could establish a Wide Area Network (WAN) and connect with DCC like that. If all that fails, the engineer can leave the meter de-commissioned and ask the DCC to get the communications working.

If you have a poor mobile signal and no other SMETS2 meters in close vicinity then you are unlikely to have much luck. However, your mobile signal may improve or a large supplier could attempt a mass smart meter deployment for its customers in your area. 

In the North, if a supplier installs a smart meter which can’t receive a signal on the Arqiva network they should report this to the DCC. DCC and Arqiva must work to improve the signal coverage.

I have a SMETS2 meter. Will it work after switching suppliers?

If you have a newer SMETS2 you are safe to switch, as your meter will continue to work with your new supplier.

When will my SMETS1 meter operate again?

If you have an older smart meter and you’ve changed supplier since it was installed, the chances are that your meter lost its ‘smart’ capabilities.

These older (SMETS1) meters often use different support systems across different suppliers and therefore can stop working after switching suppliers.

Upgrades being rolled out mean that the smart functioning will restart – hopefully this Autumn (2021).

Provided your meter is on the list of  SMETS 1 meters for adoption by DCC it should start working again shortly.

 

How do I know if my smart meter is working correctly?

You can check whether your smart meter is sending data to your supplier using the Citizen’s Advice smart meter checker.

How can I get a smart meter?

You can request a smart meter from your energy supplier. They will install a new meter free of charge. You typically do this by calling or logging into your online account.

How quickly they can install one depends on when they are planning to work in your area.

If you don’t have much luck in getting a date from your current supplier, it may be worth switching to a different supplier (with the EV tariff that works best for you) and making the request again. 

 

Why do I need a smart meter?

You’ll need a smart meter to benefit from any EV tariff that has more than one rate.

A smart meter will understand and report back to your supplier so that they can bill for your electricity consumption. Either charging you depending upon the time of day you used each unit (time-of-use tariffs), or depending upon what you have used the energy for (type-of-use tariffs).