Choosing the right electric vehicle (EV) for your family is just like choosing any car: it needs to offer space, practicality and useful technology, and should be built from materials that can withstand a good deal of wear and tear.
However, there are also unique characteristics that are worth looking at when it comes to EVs – especially when it comes to charging, driving range and interior space.
Here are some of the key things to consider when switching to electric for your next family car.
Space for the family and their things
There are lots of questions to ask when selecting the right family car. For example, you’ll need to think about how much room you might need for passengers, and how might this change in the future. Children must be in a car seat until the age of 12 – so if you have three or more children, a people carrier may be a good option. Even if you only need four seats, you might want to consider whether you’ll need to travel with additional passengers on a regular basis (e.g. carpooling for school pick-ups and drop-offs).
You will also want to think about how much boot space you need. Many of the latest EVs have large boots, but some are slightly smaller as they store the car battery beneath the floor or use this space to store things like charging cables. You can find details on how much boot space there is by taking a look at the Motability Scheme Car Search Tool.
When you go to test drive an electric car, you might want to bring any large everyday items you’ll need to load in – such as a pushchair, wheelchair or mobility scooter. This will give you peace of mind that the car you choose will have enough storage space for your needs.
It’s easy to be wowed by design, but the crucial check for families is practicality. Make sure there are plenty of storage places for drinks, toys and other family essentials. Check if the materials are hard-wearing and easy to clean. You may also want to select a car which has enhanced driving safety technology, to ensure your family is well protected.
Does it have to be an SUV?
There are lots of choices for those looking for an EV, but if you’re prioritising space it’s probably worth looking at an SUV or crossover. These provide a higher driving position, so you have a good view of the road ahead and it can be easier to load things into the car. There aren’t many electric estate cars on the market right now, but more are coming for those who don’t need to ride high. There are also lots of stylish hatchbacks to choose from.
Charging at home is the easiest way to keep an EV powered and ready for the school run – especially as most drivers won’t deplete a full charge each day. But if you’re going to be making long journeys on a regular basis, it may be worth choosing an EV with the longest range to suit your needs.
It’s not just about choosing a car with the longest range for your needs, but also one that can recharge quickly. If your car allows you to use an ultra-rapid charger, you and your family won’t have to wait too long at a public chargepoint. You’ll also want to have made sure that you’ve researched chargepoint availability in your area, as well as the different prices and how busy the EV chargers tend to be near you. Take advantage of the various tools that can help you find public chargepoints in your area.
Everyone wants to keep their family safe, so it’s a good idea to look at what safety technology is available for your next car. Key items include Isofix child seat anchor points, which allow you to lock in your child’s car seat or booster with optimum safety. Forward collision assistance, rear-view cameras for reverse parking and stability control systems can also help.
Keep the family comfortable and entertained
Modern conveniences (mod cons) can make a real difference to your journeys. Some cars have touchscreen infotainment systems in the rear seats, or you could attach a simple fold-away table to the back of the front seats so that the kids can rest a tablet on there. If the kids want to use their devices to stay entertained, it’s worth looking out for USB charging points – particularly helpful for longer journeys.
Keeping everyone comfortable is also about how a car feels while driving. Many people find that EVs provide a smoother and quieter ride, as there is no noisy combustion engine and no manual gear-changing is required. Test driving the car gives you an opportunity to see what you think of the driving experience.
Finding the right electric car for you
When you’re looking for a car on the Motability Scheme, you can view the full range of available cars using our Car Search tool.
You can also try our handy car selection tool to help you find the right cars for you – simply answer a few questions about the kind of things you need, and we’ll show you the available cars that meet those specifications.
New to the Motability Scheme?
The Motability Scheme provides worry-free motoring to over 640,000 people across the UK. If you are in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance, you can use it to lease a brand-new car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV). Insurance, maintenance and breakdown cover are all included in the price you pay, giving you peace of mind.