Electric cars are still a polarising subject – one of many in today’s climate. There are undoubtedly both pros and cons to this new technology. Here’s my take on the subject for what it’s worth.
You may have seen headlines claiming car parks are going to collapse under the weight of electric vehicles – those batteries aren’t light. But the stories being written could arguably have instead said that car parks built in the 70s are at the end of their design life and are therefore falling into disrepair. And we don’t have the funds available to knock them down and build new ones.
But it’s not just electric vehicles that are heavier than the original requirements car parks were designed around. Our family Ionic 5 weighs 2,000kg. That sits square between the bestselling family SUV the Nissan Qashqai at 1,500kg and the premium off roader the Range Rover at 2,500kg. So perhaps we can table the argument about ruining car parks for now…
Cost has also long been a concern when it comes to making the shift from petrol/diesel to electric. But second-hand values are steadily falling as more people enter the market and supply problems ease. Electric vehicles with a decent range are quickly becoming much more affordable.
Once you’ve made the initial layout, electric vehicles can be incredibly cheap to run. We drove 2,000 miles last month and only charged the car at home. This was either while we slept (during the off-peak electricity supply window) or using excess solar power from our panels. The cost of those 2,000 miles? Just £40. (Average usage of 3.5 miles per kWh, meaning we used 571 units of electricity. Ignoring the free energy from solar panels, we paid 7p per unit during our overnight off-peak window – 571 x 7p = £39.97.)
There’s also no road tax on electric vehicles. (Although I’d be happy to pay it if it meant fewer potholes on the roads…) Our last annual service cost £50 and essentially involved the windscreen washer bottle being filled and the interior getting a good hoover. In summer, we can happily drive 250 miles between charges. In the depths of winter, that’s more like 200 miles.
But probably the biggest pro of going electric is the green element. We live in a very congested part of Kent, and I’m thrilled than none of our 2,000 miles involved adding noxious gasses from our exhaust to the pollution in the area. And the electricity we drew upon was fairly green too given it was used in the off-peak window when the National Grid isn’t reliant on too much gas and almost never any coal. (The Grid’s reliance on coal is slowly being phased out entirely, with a target for zero coal being used to generate electricity by 1st October 2024.)
It will no doubt continue to be a slow transition from fuel to electricity for most vehicles on Britain’s roads but I, for one – a keen driver and well documented lover of fast, exciting cars – am strongly in favour of it and am already enjoying the benefits running cost-wise. They aren’t boring either – my son likens the way my EV takes off from the lights to being launched on a rollercoaster. Not that I would ever do such thing on the public road of course…