by Fergus Weir
My journey to owning and driving a fully electric vehicle began around eight years ago, starting from dipping a toe in the electric vehicle water with a plugin hybrid car. 2020 however, has been the year of the electric car with a myriad of options for the modern motorist, signalling the end of the age of the internal combustion engine (ICE).
With Tesla and Polestar both announcing electric cars in 2020 that will exceed 500 miles on a single charge, and with many of the mainstream manufacturers now releasing electric-only models that regularly surpass 250 miles in range, the concerns over range-anxiety with electric cars is now a thing of the past. Couple this with the incredible torque and driving experience you get with an electric car and you have a compelling reason to switch from your ICE vehicle. Add to that the fact that electricity is a far cheaper way to power your car than petrol or diesel and you are well on your way to becoming a convert. And then when you realise that maintenance and upkeep costs are significantly lower as well, you’re left wondering why you haven’t switched to electric before now. The only barrier for many, until recently, has been the cost of a new vehicle.
Petrol car sales are starting to fall, diesel car sales have halved in the last four years and electric car sales are expected to break 10% of UK car sales in 2020. The rise of the electric car has begun. Tesla, Polestar, Audi, BMW and many more are now all getting in on the electric car market, and whilst established electric car manufacturers like Nissan have been pioneers in the electric field with their award-winning Leaf range, now equally well established mass market manufacturers like Kia have come to market, in Kia’s case with their own electric SUV, the Kia e-Niro.
For many people, the following factors are the primary considerations when contemplating moving to full electric vehicles. Here is a short list of reasons why buying and owning an electric car might be the right thing for you to consider now.
Most people assume that buying and owning an electric car is expensive. Most people assume rightly AND wrongly. The cost of running and maintaining an electric vehicle is significantly cheaper than a diesel or petrol car. With very few moving parts, there is a LOT less to go wrong. Your primary costs are electricity, which is cheaper than petrol/diesel by a factor of five times or more, and tyres, brakes and washer fluid maintenance. With all of the main electric car manufacturers racing to get a sub-£25k model to market, the age of affordable electric cars is upon us. Add to this the fact that there are many more second-hand electric cars available as well, and you have some very exciting models at very accessible prices. The saving on fuel, cheaper insurance, more reliable motors, less maintenance and better retained values result in electric cars being hard to beat in terms of lifetime ownership costs.
Owning an electric car should be considered in the same way as owning a modern smart phone. People wouldn’t want a phone if the charge lasted a whole week, but then they had to go to the shop to recharge it. People are just happy to plug it in at night to charge, ready for the next day. Electric cars are just the same. 95% of our journeys are very short in distance, and well within the range of all modern electric cars. Additionally, with a growing network of national charge points, the ability to charge on the go (as people do with phones) means even the longest journeys can be completed with only a relatively slight change to plans and routes. Ultimately, being able to walk out of your house each morning and get into your fully charged vehicle means you’ll never have to stop at a garage again, which will save you loads of money in unnecessary snacks and goodies! 🙂
If you have not driven an electric car then I recommend you sort out a test drive if you can. The experience of some of the more recent models is something to be tried, at least once, particularly for models like Tesla, renowned for their instant torque and ease of driving. The “one pedal” driving experience alone makes driving these cars simple, easy and effortless. In terms of acceleration and speed, Tesla’s are hard to beat. For the more “moderate” models e.g. the Kia e-Niro, the experience is no less impressive, with no engine noise, no gears, smooth acceleration and a very low centre of gravity due to the battery packs, electric cars belie their weight and form and deliver a truly enjoyable driving experience, without the mess, noise and filth associated with their petrol and diesel cousins.
Finally, there has been much debate about the environmental impact of production versus lifetime CO2 emissions for electric vehicles, however after many, many studies the jury’s verdict has fallen heavily in favour of electric cars and their overwhelmingly positive impact on CO2 emissions. Buying an electric car, therefore, is something that can also be done from an environmentally conscious position, as well as reaping all of the benefits already listed above.
This is the beginning of the end of the ICE age.