You’ve heard of electric cars, however you are not convinced you should make your next car an electric. Here are our top 5 reasons that should convince you to buy an electric vehicle.
A new year and a new decade means many people will be looking at the dated vehicle sat in the garage or on the driveway and think that it is about time that you replace it. However, with some many choices out there, electric motoring is one of the things that gets pushed aside. People often don’t consider electric vehicles or don’t know enough about them, but you could be missing out on some serious advantages if you don’t make your next car one of the growing number of electric vehicles on the market.
- Electric cars are easy to drive
You may think that you would need to learn a whole new way to drive if you decide to commit to an electric vehicle, however you will find that they are often simpler to drive and offer a more relaxing and enjoyable driving experience.
You don’t need to worry about clutch control or gear changes as there is a simple way to drive which often means you only use one pedal. When you press on the throttle pedal the car will smoothly and silently pull away, when you take your foot off the pedal the car will slow down. This is using something called regenerative braking where the electric motors are used in reverse, as they slow they act as generators charging the battery while slowing down the vehicle. One pedal operation is something you will pick up in minutes and you will soon wonder how you did without it!
The near silent running means that driving is relaxing, with no engine noise you can put on the radio and enjoy your favourite tunes in comfort while you glide down the road. New technologies such as auto pilot and accident avoidance systems can mean that the car looks out for you, helping you prevent incidents and allow you to concentrate on getting to your destination safely and with no stress.
- Despite what you think, electric cars are not expensive
If you were to visit a dealership you would find that the electric vehicles on display are generally more expensive to purchase than a petrol or diesel vehicle, this may well seem to be a reason no to purchase them, however there are two major reasons to ignore this.
The first and most obvious reason is there are attractive government grants available which are designed the offset the initial purchase price to bring it in line with traditional vehicles.
The grant is available on a selection of vehicles including cars, taxis, vans and even electric motorcycles. To qualify for the grant the electric vehicle needs to produce emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emissions range of more than 70 miles. The maximum grant available for new electric cars is £3,500 while the maximum for a new electric van is £8,000. These grants, which can be worth up to 35% of the purchase price of a new electric car.
In order to claim a grant you, as the customer, need to do nothing as it is automatically applied as part of the purchase. Therefore, you can get an electric vehicle at a similar price to a petrol vehicle with no additional paperwork or fuss.
The purchase price is only the first saving, as the electric motors have none of the ‘oily bits’ of a traditional engine and, most importantly, less moving parts which can wear and become damaged you will find that the ongoing maintenance of an electric vehicle is considerably cheaper than fossil fuel engine vehicles.
- Not only is it cheaper to purchase and maintain, electric cars will also save you thousands of pounds a year in running costs.
Running a vehicle costs money with petrol or diesel prices is one of the biggest variables with the cost of a litre of fuel now well over one pound and rapidly approaching two pounds if you have the misfortune of filling up on the motorway. Compared with US drivers who can purchase fuel at around 60p per litre we are in league with Sweden and even Barbados.
An average petrol engine car will cost around 13p per mile, factoring in fuel costs alone. A similar electric vehicle will cost less than 3p per mile. Multiple that over an average years motoring that is a saving of almost £2,000 in visits to the petrol station alone.
If you drive an older petrol or diesel engine vehicle you must look at the annual road tax bill with a certain amount of trepidation. For years now, the Government has weighted the road tax costs towards lower emission vehicles with tax bands costing up to £2,070 per year for the least efficient vehicles.
However, if you drive an electric vehicle you no longer have to worry about road tax as you will become exempt.
If you drive a company car you will also realise you have ‘benefit in kind’ tax applied for vehicles made available for personal use. The benefit in kind tax bands are calculated based on the CO2 emissions produced by the vehicle with the amount of CO2 produced per kilometre setting the individual bands. The amount paid by the individual is then determined by the list price of the car, combined with the employees personal tax rate.
So for example the method for calculating the tax paid is as follows, for the 3 Series BMW if we consider a cost price of £30,000 and an emissions rate of 124g/Km CO2 for a higher rate tax payer:
Company Car List price £30,000
Multiply by the tax rate 28%
Multiple by your personal tax rate 40%
Annual Tax payment – £3,360
This is an additional tax bill of almost £300 deducted from your pay packet each month, and this is for a relatively mid-range vehicle. It is not inconceivable to have a monthly tax bill of over £1,000 and the average fees for executive drivers is over £600 per month.
Motorists are not only charged road tax and benefit in kind based on emissions, there are now also charges related to regional low emissions and congestion charges where drivers are required to pay to enter the central zone, in addition to this there are additional charges for vehicles which have a higher emission rating.
This is currently an issue for drivers in London, however there are plans to introduce similar congestion and emissions zones in cities across the UK. Recently a plan was announced for Bristol where they will go one step further and totally ban all diesel and higher emission vehicles within the city centre.
- The perceived issues of battery range and efficiency are not what you might imagine.
One of the most regular issues mentioned by people as a reason for not buying an electric vehicle is that the battery range is not big enough. This is mostly a fallacy, modern electric cars will have a maximum range of 250 miles and an average range of at least 100 miles is normal.
To understand range we need to understand how we use our vehicles, figures from the Office for National Statistics show that two fifths of drivers (42%) use their cars for journeys which could be walked, generally less than two miles.
This form of driving is particularly damaging for the environment when using petrol engine vehicles, as making short journeys by car causes more pollutants as catalytic converters designed to reduce these pollutants do not work effectively on trips under 5 miles.
In addition, research from the Department of Transport shows 67% of us use our cars mostly for short range commuting. This means that, most of the time we use our cars only to drive between home and our place of work with some other short distance journeys for shopping and leisure.
Therefore the issue of range anxiety, where you worry about not having available range is in fact incorrect. When you tally this with a home charging point you can ensure your vehicle is trickle charged overnight ready for your morning commute. A single overnight charge would allow you to do a whole week’s commute.
When you need to go on a longer journeys, it just takes a little planning and there are a number of apps which will allow you to find rapid charging points where you can easily and quickly charge your vehicle while you take a rest and have a break from the road.
The associated fear is that the battery in an electric vehicle will wear out and die leaving you with a big bill for a new battery, however this has not been the case with owners of many vehicles seeing robust capacity. In addition, most manufacturers support their vehicles with a solid warranty, Nissan for example offer a 96-month warranty for example. Experience shows that even older electric vehicles lose only 5 – 10% battery capacity even after 150,000 miles.
You can feel confident that the technology will not let you down, and as each new model reaches the market the battery and motor technology are improving with capacities and lifespan increasing.
- It’s better for the environment.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that we are facing an environmental crisis and air pollution is a major issue for the planet. Now we have almost totally eliminated coal-fired power stations, the largest emitter of air pollution is transportation. More importantly the pollution produced is at street level which means it can be considerably more dangerous as it is more readily breathed in. Air pollution causes over 2,500 early deaths in Scotland annually, and costs the NHS over £6 Billion per year treating health conditions caused by air pollution.
Air pollution has been shown to cause cancer and reduce our life expectancy. It can damage our lungs and blood, cause heart failure, and exacerbates asthma. It has recently been linked with dementia, diabetes, and obesity. It especially harmful to children, the elderly, and people living in poverty or made vulnerable to other health conditions. We have a responsibility to our children and future generations to reduce this serious health issue.
Whereas there have been improvements made to petrol and diesel engines to reduce emissions, however, with these technologies there are always going to be harmful emissions created at street level as they are driven.
The truly effective alternative is to use one of the new range of electric vehicles which generate no emissions at source and, with renewable energy can be used to reduce the potential emissions to almost zero.
Electric vehicles now provide a credible solution for most drivers. Improvements in battery technology have improved the range and drivability to the point that recent research by the University of York has shown they are less stressful to drive and allow the driver to be more focused on the road.
Overall, you can do your bit for the environment, confident in the knowledge that you are also saving yourself money and experiencing a more comfortable and enjoyable driving experience. It is truly a win win scenario!