It really wasn’t that long ago that electric cars were being unfairly compared to the electric milk floats of yesteryear – yes they were silent, they were cheap to run, they even had some creature comforts. But they were also slow, with a very limited range and were prone to leaving you 5-miles short of any destination. How times have changed!
Electric cars and vehicles have been around for well over 100-years, but whilst you can admire the inventiveness of the creators, they really failed due to the technology of the time, and it took that 100-years and more for the tech to catch up and make them a practical reality.|
It’s fair to say that despite some models from Chrysler, Honda, GM, Ford, Nissan and Toyota in the 1990s, electric cars really only hit prominence when Tesla made a semi-successful bid for electric dominance with the Roadster. And the market snowballed from there.
Why you should consider an EV
Leaving aside the manufacturing process, or certain rare elements from the Earth, buying an electric vehicle isn’t quite the expensive white elephant it once was – prices are coming down almost daily, mainly thanks to the prices of the EV batteries dropping – back in 2010, battery prices were around £800 per kWh, today, that figure is around £150/kWh.
Added to that are the schemes to encourage consumers to buy all-electric, and prices get much closer to the regular mainstream counterparts, although of course, premium brands do still have the ‘upmarket’ pricing strategies.
Running costs of electric cars
Actually, the operating costs of an electric car come down to the costs of charging. Home charging is the cheapest, but if you don’t have an EV charger around the house, you need to have it charged somewhere else, obviously. Charging costs vary – dependent on rate or whether you have a tariff designed for EV charging, you should be looking in the region of around £4.50 for a full charge.
When it comes to running costs, electric vehicles cost less than their fossil-fuelled counterparts. For example, a BMW i3 will cost £4.62 and give you a range of 149-miles - take the typical petrol-powered car, and that figure would be closer to £18 for similar mileage.
Rightly or wrongly, a number of councils and cities are introducing a variety of further ‘stealth’ taxes for motorists, including congestion charging, ultra-low emission zones, a hike in parking fees (diesel drivers in certain parts of London face a flat 50% increase in parking charges) and T-Charges.
Not only do electric cars qualify for free entrance to these cities, but in some cases, they get free parking also – this could quite literally save thousands of pounds each year.
The ‘green’ factor
Of course, financially these electric vehicles are beginning to make sense, but that’s before we look at the bigger picture – an electric car produces zero emissions in use. That would lead to an overall reduction in harmful CO2 emissions, less respiratory disease, cleaner cities (no exhaust smog) and less damage to the environment.
Since it’s a win-win, we’re happy to hear that there are more and more ultra low emission vehicles registered in the UK. Same goes for EVs - Great Britain is now in the premier league when it comes to selling electric cars. Even though it’s still much behind China or Germany, sales of electric cars have increased by 11% and this trend is said to continue in the years to come.
Gone are the days when you could have a small two-seater, looking like it was styled with a crayon, and with barely enough room for an adult. Today’s choice will see SUVs, sports cars, saloons, shopping cars - every class of car that’s available to regular buyers is generally available to electric buyers.
Currently, there is a question over the supply network and whether the National Grid can cope with the extra demand, the main point being that charging at home isn’t necessarily practical for a large percentage of motorists, but the Government has set out new plans to deal with both of those problems in their ‘Road to Zero’ legislation.
Not only will infrastructure be upgraded – charging points built into lamp posts for example, but energy companies will look to change how we use and demand power with off-peak charging being made as a favourable option, thereby reducing peak loads on the grid.
It’s thought that with intelligent management, the power supply network will be able to cope for some years to come, and the introduction of new power stations will easily satisfy demand.
The future is now
There is no doubting that electric cars are the future for the motorist, if you’re in the fortunate position to be able to switch now, then you’re safe in the knowledge that the technology is more than capable of delivering a better motoring experience than diesel or petrol-powered vehicles, all with the benefit of much cheaper motoring.
If your daily commute is from London to the Isle of Skye, you may still want to wait a few years for the next-generation EV batteries, but otherwise … the future is right now.