It’s true, a Porsche Taycan is not exactly cheap, and the average showroom price of an electric car is considerably more than an equivalent ICE vehicle. But this has always been the case with any new technology, as the cost of producing something different from a standard industrial process will not start to reduce until there are sufficient economies of scale.
Subsidies such as the UK’s ‘Plug in Car Grant’ are available, enabling purchasers to save £3000 on the cost of a vehicle up to £50,000. It is the savings during the car’s lifetime, however, that set EV’s apart from their competitors. Road tax is free on pure BEVs. Maintenance costs are low because there are simply far fewer parts to break or age. Yes, no head gaskets or cam belts!
And of course, charging your battery is considerably cheaper than filling up at the petrol or diesel pump. It will vary from model to model, but most EV owners will find that charging at home will save them between 60-70% on the price per mile of running their car. Dedicated EV charging tariffs could reduce this even further.
Let’s start with the Mother of all EV Myths – range anxiety.
While it is true that some areas of the UK are still poorly served with charging infrastructure, the situation is changing fast. 2019 was the year in which the number of EV charging sites actually overtook those of petrol and diesel forecourts. According to the data published by Nissan, based on information from the Energy Institute and ZapMap, there were 9,199 places to recharge an EV, and 8,396 petrol stations.
As our EV Technical and Specifications Manager Jim Rugg proved, it is possible to make a long journey into an area considered a charging ‘black spot’. True, work needs to be done on ‘joining the dots’ on the map, but any EV driver will appreciate that a little planning is a small price to pay for the savings you will be making on fuel and servicing.
A very legitimate concern, with around a third of car owners in the UK having no access to off-street parking. But there are solutions beyond trailing a cable and 3-pin plug out of your bedroom window!
With drivers making an average daily journey of less than 30 miles, there should be enough time in the day to top up your battery at public charge points. Most towns and cities have a range of charging stations at supermarkets, leisure and retail parks, although charging rates will vary.
More and more businesses are installing charging points in their own car parks. If you are lucky enough to work for such a company, your EV will be able to recharge fully during the day, with even a 7kW charger charging a 2nd generation Nissan Leaf in 4-6 hours.
It is true that the performance of your EV may struggle in a cold snap. Your battery will be devoting more energy than normal to heating the inside of the vehicle, and keeping itself warm, than keeping the wheels turning, so range might be reduced by around 20-30%. Lots of shorter trips will drain the battery more.
Charging times will also be longer, and it is advisable to start driving as soon as possible after finishing charging as the battery will be warmer. Regenerative braking will also reduce. More manual braking will be required as the battery temperature will be lower.
If you are very low on battery, using the heated seats rather than the air con will maximise range.
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