What’s it like to drive long distances in an electric car on holiday?

electric car on holiday
The French alps are lovely in the summer. Is driving there in an EV as stress free? (Picture©James Foxall)

The move to electric cars is well underway. By 2030 – less than eight years away – you won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car. Electric vehicles (EVs) are often said to be great for short journeys, not so brilliant when you need to charge on the go. So what will it be like to take an electric car on holiday?

For a glimpse at the future of long journeys, we took an all-electric BMW iX3 on an 1,100-mile round trip to the French Alps this summer.

It pays to know your car

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Expert advice: why are repair costs going up and what to do about it

repair costs going up
Some drivers are cutting back on essential servicing to save money (Picture iStock/Gilaxia)

If you’ve taken your car in for mending or a service recently, you might have noticed that like most things in life, we’re seeing repair costs going up. That’s because four out of five garages (79 per cent) say they’re experiencing increases in the cost of doing business.

A survey conducted by dispute resolution body The Motor Ombudsman (TMO) asked independent garages and dealer workshops what their biggest challenges were. Their answers make illuminating (and slightly depressing) reading for us as drivers.

Why are costs for garages going up?

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Electric car MOT passes are higher than petrols or diesels

electric car mot passes
Electric cars are proving better at passing the MOT than petrols (Picture iStock/SimonSkafar)

Struggling to see the benefit of switching to an electric vehicle? Look no further. Electric car MOT passes are higher than regular combustion engine models according to a new study.

And hybrid cars – which combine petrol engines with electric motors – are even better at passing their MOT test than EVs. We try to explain this unexpected bonus to battery-powered motoring.

What does the MOT check?

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Buying a new car for the 72-reg plate change – what you need to know

72-reg plate change
Getting to this point is more difficult that it was a few years ago (Picuture iStock/Clerkenwell)

It’s time for the 72-reg plate change. Traditionally, September has been one of the two months (along with March) when car sales peak. And the more new cars sold, the more used models are freed up for buyers to get their hands on.

But since the dark days of the pandemic, the supply of new cars has slowed dramatically. The knock-on is a shortage of used cars with the models that are available costing more. We look at how to get a good buy for the 72-reg plate change.

Go for existing stock

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Increased car cloning causes innocent drivers trouble

car cloning
Cloning cars usually starts with stealing a number plate (Picture iStock/Jens Rother)

If you’ve been hit with an unexpected fine for speeding, driving in a bus lane, parking or not paying a congestion or emissions zone charge you may have unwittingly become a victim of car cloning.

New research shows an alarming increase in fines issued by Transport for London (TfL) to cars with altered identities. The number overturned because they were given to cloned cars was up nearly nine times between April 2021 and April 2022.

We look at what cloning is and what to do if you suspect your car has been a victim of it.

What is car cloning?

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Expert advice: electric vehicle terms explained

electric vehicle terms
Electric vehicles need new terminology. We explain some of them (Picture iStock/William Barton)

We’re seeing a seismic shift in motoring with the wholesale switch to electric vehicles (EVs). Not only are some EVs a bit different to look at, there’s a whole new language around them. I thought it would be helpful to explain some of the electric vehicle terms we’ll need to use.

What are kilowatts all about?

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Speed limiters – what new tech means for drivers and driving

speed limiters
Speed limiters used to be controlled from the steering wheel, bottom right button here. In future, they’ll be automatic (Picture iStock/AnyVidStidio)

From the beginning of July 2022, all new cars sold in the UK will have to be fitted with a speed limiter. We investigate what this means for car owners and how it will change driving.

What is a speed limiter?

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We rate the fuel tracking apps that help you to save money

fuel tracking apps
Do you know how quickly you are using fuel? If not you need a fuel monitoring app (Picture iStock/GeorgeClerk)

We all know the price of fuel is going up. But do you know how much you really spend filling your car up? And if you don’t, how do you know if any steps you’re taking to make savings are working?

What you need is an app on your phone that records what you’re spending on petrol or diesel. But which one? We’ve tried five of best-rated fuel tracking apps so we can tell you the ones that are worth looking at.

How fuel tracking apps work

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Fuel your knowledge: take our petrol quiz

We know how expensive it is but how much else (Picture iStock/DeepBlue4You)

We regularly fill our cars with petrol but how much do we actually know about the golden liquid that keeps them going? If you’re anything like us (when we compiled this quiz), probably not very much! Even so, petrol is a truly global phenomenon with plenty of history. Take our quiz to find out how much you know about it.

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