An electric car is simply a car that operates using electricity as its power source. This contrasts with the cars we’ve traditionally used since the combustion engine was invented.
The petrol and diesel pumps we see will become a thing of the past, replaced by ultra fast charging units used to power-up your car’s batteries. These will be complemented by the ability to charge your vehicle at home while it sits in the driveway.
The technology to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support a transport network dominated by electric vehicles is already taking shape. Just look at what’s happening in Nottingham right now. Although the city is a frontrunner in its adoption and implementation of green energy technology, other cities are following suit all over the UK.
Should I buy an electric car?
Buying an electric car means you are contributing to reducing your overall impact on the environment due to the harmful carbon emissions petrol and diesel cars release into the atmosphere. If that’s important to you, then consider buying an electric car.
If you want to embrace new green technology, enjoy the benefits of emerging techniques in vehicle power, and get a head start on pioneering ways to drive, then consider buying an electric vehicle.
Indeed, if you want to sample the latest vehicles for road users and be an early adopter of the technology that’s going to present the future of personal travel, then an electric vehicle might be for you.
If, however, you don’t want to spend too much money on your new car, and you don’t have the disposable income to maintain a vehicle that still requires specialist attention, then an electric car might not yet be the best option for you. However, these concerns are being lessened every day as technology advances and the infrastructure to support nationwide use of electric vehicles continues to be developed.
Are electric cars worth it?
While concerns about climate change and our environment are relevant and important, not everyone can afford to spend their hard-earned money on expensive technology to reduce their impact. But increasingly, people are embracing green energy technology, be that something as simple as a smart meter in their home or something more significant like purchasing an electric car.
Over the last few years, electric vehicles have increased in popularity. There are more than 100,000 plug-in vehicles on the road today in the UK which compares significantly to 2013 when data suggested only 3,500 were present. This increase is due to a number of factors such as there being greater choice for drivers, increasing engagement with green energy technology and techniques, and an improving infrastructure in order to allow users to recharge their cars.
There’s incentives too. The choice of cars keeps getting wider while the government’s plug-in car grant has now been guaranteed until 2018.
So, I’m going to get an electric car… which one shall I buy?
The question of whether or not to buy an electric car is increasingly coming down to one of aesthetic choice rather than the overriding ambition to reduce to harmful impact on the environment. In 2017 there were more electric vehicles to choose from than ever before and the technology is moving at such a pace the gap is closing between the power and range of electric vehicles versus traditionally fuelled petrol and diesel cars.
When it comes down to what car to buy, Nissan’s Leaf is an industry leader. Recently, the car manufacturer revealed the new Leaf will have an increased range of 235 miles alongside the introduction of its latest autonomous driving technology known as ProPilot, which includes distance management among other features, and Nissan’s e-Pedal concept which allows drivers to control the car with a single pedal. By 2018, Nissan hopes to have a higher power version on the market with increased battery capability. Nissan’s unveiling of the new Leaf, the world’s best-selling electric car, sees the e-powertrain deliver 38% more power output than the previous generation model. Acceleration has also been boosted with torque up 26%.
“The new Nissan Leaf, with its improved autonomy range, combined with the evolution of autonomous drive technology, such as ProPilot Park and the simple operation of the e-Pedal, strengthens Nissan’s EV leadership, as well as the expansion of EVs globally,” said Nissan’s president and chief executive officer, Hiroto Saikawa. “It also has the core strengths that will be embodied by future Nissan models.”
What are the benefits of an electric car?
If you decide to buy an electric car you’ll instantly notice its near-silent running. Using electricity means the car won’t produce the same noise associated with a combustion engine. You’ll even notice a curiously satisfying new quirk in electric cars – that being instant torque. For anyone who has driven petrol or diesel cars all their lives, this instant power from a standing start is quite the surprise!
The benefits of owning an electrical vehicle are added to by government incentive. The Plug-In Car Grant for buying a new electric vehicle has been extended and allows you to get up to £4,500 off an EV. Electric vehicles that cost less than £40,000 are also exempt from UK road tax.
If electric cars are so good, everyone would have one, wouldn’t they?
Yes, electric cars are currently cost prohibitive for most people. New electric cars generally cost more than £20,000 and they come with disadvantages. Most electric cars have a range of around 100 miles which is range prohibitive. If you don’t have the facilities to install a high-powered vehicle charger or forget to charge your vehicle overnight, you won’t get far either. Indeed, electric vehicles need time to charge; it’s not a case of spending 60 seconds filling up your car with petrol or diesel at the pump. But as mentioned, technology is developing rapidly to address all these concerns.
Said pioneer Taavi Madiberk, CEO of Skeleton Technologies, “With the electric car market intensifying and competition in the sector reaching its peak, Nissan’s announcement of the long-range Leaf is another step forward in reducing costs and making electric cars commercially viable. In the UK this surge has seen a significant momentum with a recent report from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reporting a 50 per cent year-on-year increase in sales of EV and alternatively fuelled vehicles.
Madiberk adds, “In order for [growth in the market] to continue, the UK must now look to invest in building reliable charging infrastructure to match the surge of power demands. Government, regulators, industry bodies and businesses must work together to support energy storage technologies that complement the grid, such as ultracapacitor and battery technology, to allow us to smooth the peak power needs and manage the growing demands on country’s energy infrastructure.
“With regulation forcing a response from manufacturers and a reduction in energy emissions, we must act quickly to create a foundation that will nurture renewable technology and support wider EV adoption to ensure that Britain can continue to innovate now and into the future.”
I’ve decided… I’m going to get an electric vehicle!
The Nissan Leaf has revolutionised the sector and increased attention on developing EV technology to combat many of the concerns the general public have in whether or not to invest in electric over petrol or diesel.
Now, most major car manufacturers have released EV models from Ford, Peugeot Citroen and Renault to Volkswagen and BMW. You will also have heard of Tesla which boasts its all-electric model range with range capacity that leads the way. However, Tesla cars come at a premium cost with its cheapest new cars priced at over £64,000.
What Car? recently listed the top 10 EV cars which is worth checking out. The list was topped by the Renault Zoe which it said was “conventional, stylish, nippy” and costs “pennies to run”.
It adds, “The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it’s easily big enough for a family’s weekly shopping.”
The car is definitely one of the best on the market currently with CarBuyer also singing its praises. However, another electric car to consider is Hyundai Ioniq Electric which CarBuyer compared favourably with Nissan’s Leaf.