Is now the time to consider buying an electric car?
Welcome to Cheshire cars first blog of this new year, 2021. For the vast majority of car owners in the UK ownership and useage of vehicles will mean using either a petrol or diesel powered vehicle. In fact for the vast majority of us we will have known no other power than fossil fuelled vehicles. However with the ever increasing push to develop ever cleaner and more sustainable ways of powering our mobility needs, electric only powered vehicles are being seen as the way to achieve these objectives.
So at present the options are we use one of the following technologies, fossil fuel which is petrol or diesel, hybrid technology which is part fossil fuel part electric or fully electric power, so no engine at all only a battery pack. The UK Government has recently brought forward the ban of the sale of fossil only fuel new vehicles by the year 2030. This is a further reduction from the previous target of 2035 and the original one of 2040. So you can see that 10 years has been cut from the original date prohibiting the sale of any new fossil only fuelled vehicle here in the UK. However it is important to remember that use of already registered and in use petrol or diesel cars are not going to be affected by this 2030 ending of new petrol and diesel only engined vehicle sales. Any petrol and diesel engined only vehicles in use before 2030 will continue. Furthermore, Hybrid vehicles using both petrol and diesel technology are being allowed to continue to be sold new until 2035.
What is an electric car like to drive and own?
At Cheshire cars we have bought and sold both fully electric and hybrid versions. I personally drove the electric car using the local charging points to recharge when required, before delivering the car down to its new owner in London a journey of over 150 miles. In the case of the hybrid car, the buyer came to collect the car from us here. A hybrid car is much the same as driving either a petrol or diesel engined car than the electric only cars. The battery power of an hybrid is used for low speed driving before the engine takes over to power the car.
I think the first thing that anyone will notice apart from there being no noise after switching on an electric only car is the quick take up of speed. There isn't any drag from engine components strangling the speed, its instant power. So these two areas will be immediately evident upon your first experience. I personally quickly adjusted my driving style to suit the car, although I can see many people needing more time to do so. For myself I hop in and out of all types of differing vehicles each week therefore much less time needed to adjust.
On the trip to London I needed to stop and charge the car on four ocassions. I used the motorway to reach London so each stop to recharge took around 30 minutes to reach 80% battery power. The range of the car was 80 miles so i didn't allow the charge to fall below 20 miles before recharging. These stops added at least 2 and a half hours to the journey. My conclusion was that the car was better suited to city and town driving than distance driving. Did I like the car overal? Yes I did, but could I make it work long term? If I needed a car just for short journeys in or around a city or town then yes, however if I needed to use the car for longer journeys then no, not at the present time due to lack of range with the batteries and lack of charging points.
How do you charge an electric car and how long does it take?
There are currently three levels of charging. Slow, Fast and Rapid. The slow and fast levels will be in the main in the high street and in homes with the rapid chargers being for fuel stations and motorway service areas. In most instances it will take up to 40 minutes to charge using a rapid charger BUT remember this is to reach 80% capacity, it will take longer to reach 100% due to the speed at which the charge is being delivered into the battery. The slow method is at home from a normal plug socket and can take up to 10 hours but as we move forward more homes will have home chargers installed enabling a fast charge usually within 5 hours. Costs of charging is between £3 to £9 per charge. There are grants available if you buy a new electric vehicle of up to £3000 for most mainstream models with some manufacturers including a home charger with the purchase of a new electric vehicle. For those looking at a used model then a subsidy of up to £350 towards the supply and fitting of a home charger may be available.
To sum up the electric vehicle market will increase along with the number of charging points available. The range of travel will also increase as technology improves for the batteries. It is looking like the travel of the future, however remember that for 5 years after 2030 hybrid new vehicles are being offered and this shouldn't be overlooked. Hybrid offers both types of power and for some will be a good way to ease into electric car ownership. Not forgetting that 2030 does not signal the end for either petrol or diesel powered vehicles as the ruling of 2030 is for NEW petrol and diesel powered only vehicles and not those already in use.
Cheshire cars have their own YouTube channel Cheshire cars, where you can watch helpful videos on this subject alongside other subjects relating to vehicle ownership if you subscribe to the channel then you will receive alerts after a new video has been posted. The channel has 900 plus subscribers currently with views of the channel approaching 750,000. Well worth subscribing to.