Electric cars have been on the market for some time, and manufacturers are improving their technology. Some countries such as the UK, plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from a certain point to better combat climate change (in the UK’s case 2030) and with more and more people becoming more eco-conscious, the sale of electric cars is rapidly increasing. They are becoming more widely available and more affordable. EV’s can be efficient, cheaper to run, requite less maintenance, perform superbly and are better for the environment.
According to the International Energy Agency, ‘sales of electric cars topped 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 – already a record year – to boost the stock to 7.2 million electric cars.1 Electric cars, which accounted for 2.6% of global car sales and about 1% of global car stock in 2019, registered a 40% year-on-year increase.’ Reports have also shown that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the sales of electric vehicles have continued to grow in various countries despite the overall decline in new car registrations. Norway recently became the first country in the world where electric car sales overtook petrol and diesel sales, claiming a 54.3% market share of all new cars sold in 2020 – which is a global record according to The Guardian. The Conversation also reported that: ‘in Germany, EV sales from January to June increased from 47,584 in 2019 to 93,848 in 2020, supported by particularly strong PHEV growth.’ If you are thinking of buying an electric car, here are some considerations as you shop around:
If you use your car mainly for short journeys, errands and commutes an electric car may suit your needs perfectly. Many EV’s offer over 200 miles range on one charge, but some models offer less. Akin to petrol or diesel, there are factors that will affect your range – such as speed, driving habits, the weather, the cars climate control and so forth.
For longer journeys you may need to consider whether an electric car would tailor to your needs. If not, perhaps a hybrid may better suit you until electric cars are better evolved. Those with shorter commutes would still need to look into and learn where their local charging points are and consider if it is feasible to fit this into their schedule. With more and more places installing charging ports in parking bays and accommodating electric vehicles this is becoming easier and if your commute is particularly short, you may only need to charge at home and/or at work.
Longer journeys may need more planning, mapping out charging stops along the way and considering how far you can go before charging. According to Wired: ‘some systems, as in a Tesla, tell you exactly how many minutes to charge for at each station, and how much range you’ll have left when you arrive at your destination. They also show how many chargers are offered, and how many are currently available or occupied. Today’s longest range cars are still all Teslas, with the flagship Long Range version of the Model S giving you a claimed 405 miles using the WLTP test cycle. This equates to around 350 miles in the real world, but as with all EVs this can reduce in cold weather and also depends on traffic, elevation change and driving style.’
You will also need to consider the charging network available to you. Charging at home is a convenient perk of electric car ownership, but these come with considerations. According to USA News:
‘You can charge your EV using a standard 110-volt wall outlet (Level 1 charging), but it’s going to take some time. Level 1 charging adds about 4 miles of range per hour. If you don’t use many miles of range each day, this may work for you. However, if you deplete a full 250 miles of range, it will take several days to recharge this way. Most EV owners hire an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet in their garage. This allows for Level 2 charging, which can add 25 miles of range per charging hour. Make sure to find out how much it will cost to add 240-volt service at your home.’
You will also have to consider how much it will cost to charge your car. Electricity costs will likely vary depending on where you love and what supplier you use. USA news reported that the average price of electricity in the USA is 13.28 cents per kilowatt-hour, and whilst charging at home is generally cheaper than charging in public and generally cheaper than gas. It is still worth consideration.
Once you have done the research into your model and seeing if it fits into your lifestyle, you may find that an electric vehicle is better than expected. According to The Scotsman many people are happy with their choice of opting for an electric vehicle, ‘Ninety per cent of drivers questioned by the charge point mapping service said they wouldn’t return to a petrol or diesel vehicle for their next car… The majority (73 per cent) of respondents were first-time EV drivers and 52 per cent had bought their car in the last year.’