What Finance Is Available For Electric Cars?

Electric cars have a lot going for them. They produce zero direct emissions, are relatively cheap to run, incentivised by the government, and getting less expensive and more accessible every day.

But how does electric car finance work?
If you’re tempted to go green and make the switch to an electric car, we’re here to help. Let us guide you through the different finance options available so you can make the right choice for you.

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How does financing an electric car work?

Whether you’re dreaming of a Nissan Leaf, a Mini Electric, or a Tesla Model 3, you might not have a savings pot big enough to buy your new electric car outright. 

There’s no shame in needing to finance any vehicle, especially electric cars, which can still be a little pricier upfront than their petrol and diesel counterparts.

Electric car finance works just like any other type of car finance; you’ll borrow money from a lender - whether that’s a bank, building society, or specialist car finance provider - to cover the cost of buying your new or used car.

Financing an electric car usually follows three steps:

  • First, you’ll choose a type of car finance agreement and a payment term. Depending on whether you opt for Hire Purchase (HP), Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) or another loan type, your term could last anywhere from one to six years.
  • You’ll put down an initial deposit upfront – approx. 10% of the vehicle’s purchase price is usually considered a good deposit.
  • You’ll then pay a fixed monthly payment, including interest, until the loan term ends.

Can I get an electric car on finance?

Depending on your individual circumstances, affordability, and credit history, you may be eligible to buy an electric car on finance.
And what’s more? You’ve got options!
There’s no difference when buying an electric or hybrid car than if you’d had your heart set on a standard fuel model; electric car finance types on offer include HP, PCP, leasing - or Personal Contract Hire (PCH) - and personal loans.
The best option for you will depend on your personal preferences, current circumstances, and driving habits.
If you’ve always dreamed of being a car owner and spend a lot of time powering up and down the motorway each month, you’d likely be best suited to a finance deal that leads to car ownership and doesn’t come with any mileage restrictions like HP.
On the other hand, if you spend your morning commute reading up on the latest electric car models and the high-spec features available, a more flexible finance option that allows you to change cars regularly like leasing might be a better fit.

What finance options are available?

HP finance

HP finance is one of the most popular types of car finance You’ll typically pay a deposit upfront and then make monthly repayments for between one and six years. At the end of your agreement, you’ll pay a small option-to-purchase fee to transfer the vehicle’s title and then your electric car will officially be all yours!

Diagram of how a HP finance agreement works

  • HP loans are secured against your car, meaning you won’t be its legal owner during the agreement. You won’t be allowed to sell or modify it until you own it.
  • You usually won’t have to worry about an annual mileage limit.
  • Monthly payments can be higher than other finance options like PCP as the loan will be equivalent to the car’s full purchase price (minus any deposit).
  • HP is typically a more accessible finance option for people who have missed payments in the past or have a poor credit score for any other reason.

PCP finance

PCP finance is a more flexible type of car finance. Like HP, you’ll pay a deposit upfront and then make fixed monthly repayments for between one and five years. But PCP doesn’t necessarily have to lead to car ownership:

Diagram of how a PCP finance agreement works

  • When your PCP loan ends, you can make a large one-off payment to buy the car (known as the balloon payment), hand it back to the lender, or use any positive equity available as a deposit in a new deal.

  • Instead of borrowing the car’s full purchase price, your loan payments will cover the difference between its current price and how much it’s estimated it’ll be worth at the end of your agreement (known as its Guaranteed Minimum Future Value or GMFV).

  • PCP can have lower monthly repayments than HP, but you’ll have to pay a large one-off balloon payment, usually equivalent to the GMFV, to become the car’s legal owner.

  • An annual mileage limit will likely apply, and you’ll face an extra charge for every mile you exceed it.   

Personal Loan

 Personal loans are a different beast as they (usually) aren’t secured against the vehicle. Instead, you’ll become the car’s legal owner as soon as you’ve used the loan to pay the dealer or private seller:

Diagram of how a personal loan agreement works

  • As its legal owner, you’re free to sell the car, give it to your best friend, or add a new set of alloys if you like. You just need to make sure you keep making loan repayments until the agreement ends.
  • Unsecured loans present more of a risk to lenders, so they’re usually restricted to people with a solid payment history and good credit score.
  • Monthly payments can be higher than other finance options.


 Also known as Personal Contract Hire or PCH, leasing is a lot like a long-term car rental and rarely ends in car ownership.

  • Lease agreements usually last between two and four years and you’ll pay a fixed monthly payment during this time.
  • You’ll typically need to hand the car back at the end of your lease with no option to buy, no matter how much you love it.
  • An upfront deposit is usually required.
  • You’ll likely have to keep the vehicle in good condition and agree to an annual mileage limit.

Diagram of how a car leasing agreement works

More car finance guides

How much might financing an electric car cost?

The exact cost of financing an electric car will depend on a few different factors including:

The loan interest rate

The lower your interest rate, the cheaper your electric car loan will be. The interest rate offered to you will likely be influenced by your credit history. Having a good credit score could help you secure a more competitive rate.

The car’s purchase price

A more expensive car will require a larger loan with higher monthly repayments than a small or used car that’s cheaper to buy.

The size of your deposit

If you can afford to put down more money upfront, you won’t need to borrow as much to buy your car and your monthly repayment amount could be lower as a result.

The loan type

PCP typically offers lower monthly repayments than HP or personal loans as you don’t have to pay back the car’s full purchase price. Keep in mind that the one-off balloon payment will apply though if you choose to buy the car at the end of the agreement.

The loan term

A longer term will spread the cost of your loan over more months, decreasing your monthly repayment amount. Even so, the overall cost of your finance could be higher as you’ll pay back more in interest.

Is there government help available for financing an electric car?

With ambitious climate targets to achieve, the government has put several different incentives in place to encourage people to make the switch to electric car ownership.

Electric car buyers and owners can currently benefit from:

  • Charge point grants – up to £350 off the cost of installing a residential electric vehicle charger at home via the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS).
  • Exemption from road tax (vehicle excise duty) for zero-emissions vehicles.
  • No fuel duty and a reduction of VAT by using electricity compared to filling up with petrol or diesel (5% vs. 20%).
  • No charge to drive in low emissions zones such as London’s ULEZ and Congestion Charge zones.
  • Tax breaks if you’re a business owner buying electric cars for your own fleet of company cars and grants for installing charge points and supporting infrastructure for your staff and vehicles. 

    Up to date as of March 2024. Government help is subject to change.

FAQs About Electric Car Finance:

Can I get a second-hand electric car on car finance?

If you’re looking to save some cash and don’t want to splash out on a brand-new electric car, you could get a great deal on a second-hand model. And even better news, you could buy it on finance. Used electric car finance works in the same way as it would for a new car, the only exception is that you might not be able to lease a second-hand vehicle as this finance type is usually restricted to new cars.

How expensive is an electric car to insure and maintain?

Unfortunately, electric cars can be more expensive to insure than petrol or diesel-powered vehicles. While the price gap is getting smaller as more and more EVs hit the road, it is still more difficult to find parts and they can be more expensive. There are also fewer mechanics who specialise in electric cars, ramping up the repair costs even more.
Your car won’t be the only factor that influences the cost of your insurance; your age, job title, claims history, driving habits, and location will all affect the price of your premium.
Electric cars can also be more expensive to buy, even on the used market, but they offer some great savings once you’re out on the road that could make this initial outlay worth it. There are fewer moving parts to worry about breaking down, the mechanism is cleaner, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive fuel charges, fuel duty, road tax, and low emissions zone charges.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

The cost to charge an electric car can depend on whether you’re charging at home or out in public.
At home, the price will depend on how much you pay per kWh on your electricity tariff.
When you’re out and about, public charging costs depend on the market rate, individual supplier rate, and whether it’s a slow, fast, rapid, or ultra-rapid charger. You might also be able to charge your car for free in some public car parks, supermarkets, hotels, and attractions.
As a rough example, a rapid charger that costs 65p/kWh will add up to around £15 for a 30-minute charge.

Will I be eligible to buy an electric car on finance?

You must be over 18, have a full driving licence, and at least three years’ address history in the UK to be eligible for most types of car finance.
Different electric car finance providers also have different eligibility criteria, but they will typically consider:
  • Your credit score and payment history
  • Your income and affordability
  • Your employment status

Can I pay off my electric car finance agreement early?

There are many reasons why you might want to pay off your car finance agreement early; maybe you’d like a new car, you don’t want to pay extra interest, or you’re struggling to keep up with your repayments.

With HP and PCP, you can choose to settle your agreement early at any time. You’ll need to request a settlement figure from the lender (usually your outstanding loan amount, minus any future interest). If you have a PCP loan, your settlement figure will also include the one-off balloon payment. An early termination charge might apply too.

Once the settlement figure is paid, you’ll become the car’s official owner. You’re then free to keep it, sell it, modify it, or part-exchange it for a new set of wheels – the choice is yours!

If you can’t afford to settle the finance and wish to hand the car back to the lender instead, you have the legal right to do this and end your agreement early with voluntary termination. You just need to tell the lender you want to voluntarily terminate and return the car. It is important to note you will need to pay 50% of the total amount payable (including the balloon payment in a PCP). If you’ve made some payments but not yet reached this point, you will need to pay the difference and if you’ve already paid over 50%, you can return the car without needing to pay any more money. Extra charges might also apply if the car is damaged beyond fair wear and tear.