Could you live with an electric car?
Ever-increasing concerns over the green credentials of traditional combustion engines have, in part, prompted a noticeable shift towards electric vehicles. According to experts, the UK's electric vehicle (EV) revolution is just around the corner. But does an electric car fit your lifestyle? Owning an electric car has its pros and cons.
Benefits of owning an electric car
- The main benefit is having zero emissions and if the power source for charging the battery comes from renewable energy, you are genuinely being eco-friendly.
- To encourage usage, there are plenty of incentives such as the Government's Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) in UK for vehicles with low carbon emissions and today the PICG only applies to electric car, mitigating in part its relatively high price. Aside from PICG, there are tax incentives and electric cars costing less than £40,000 qualify for free road tax. The tax incentive extends to business users too. In addition electric cars are exempted from the London Congestion Charge.
- An electric car has a lower running costs compared to the petrol/diesel powered cars. An electric car can be charged overnight, using your lower electricity unit rate and ready for next day’s use. The cost of charging at home or at charging stations, even with some variations will be about a tenth of what it will cost to pay for petrol or diesel to cover a similar mileage.
- The electric engine give cabin comfort whether it is from its more silent engine or more cabin space because the batteries are mounted lower in the car and as a result the engine compartment is smaller.
- As for speed, the pick up speed is good because of the instant torgue and the sustainable speed has been greatly improved too.
Drawbacks of owning an electric car
- Any invention or initiative need to be supported by the appropriate and adequate infrastructure for it to be successfully implemented and adopted. One major infrastructure is the charging facility. Charging points need to be widely accessible. Home charging is possible only if electric supply is accessible on the street as most people do not park their cars in their garages, 40% live in rented accommodation and 20% in flats. On the road, there is a need for charging stations, but then how long would it take? Would a journey get longer than the mileage? Or will it be case of forward planning and ensuring that you charge your car sufficiently overnight for the next day journey? A new habit similar to charging your mobile phone?
- What about the battery range? Can you reach your destination without the need to recharge your car? And if so where? More planning? But car makers are looking into making EV with a range of about 300 miles. And if your electric car can be charged easily each time you park, then this could be a solution.
- Electric cars are now quite pricy. On the average they cost around £10k more than an equivalently sized petrol or diesel powered car. Bu the tax incentives do to some extent mitigate this issue.
- For drivers who like thrill driving, the electric car does dull the driving experience with its heavy batteries and silent engines.
EV Policies across Europe
Europe’s automotive market is slowly getting charged. The benefit of EV policy is helping the climate, energy, and air quality impacts are significant and show what would be achievable if the EU would increase its pace of EV and infrastructure deployment. It reduces CO2 emissions and leads to less dependence on fossil oil-based fuels, along with air quality improvements, while at the same time creating new job opportunities in Europe
The UK is one of the few governments that has a comprehensive strategy for electrification. The government’s Road to Zero Strategy addresses commercial cars, public transport, charging infrastructure and much more, also includes a proposal to end the sale of fossil-powered vehicles by 2040. There are over 16,000 public charging points across the UK, and the government has established a 400 million-pound fund to finance an expansion of the charging network.
Norway has become the world’s EV capital, the Norwegian Parliament has decided on a national goal that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero-emission including electric or hydrogen. As of May 2018, there are 230,000 registered battery electric cars in Norway. Battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles together hold a nearly 50% market share. The Norwegian Parliament has decided on a goal that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero (battery electric or hydrogen) emission vehicles. The Parliament will reach this goal with a strengthened green tax system, but not a ban.
The French government has set a goal of increasing EV sales fivefold by 2020. Paris plans to phase out legacy vehicles in the city by 2030 to decrease air pollution. The country has a range of incentives in place, including purchase subsidies of up to 6,000 euros for electric and hybrid vehicles, and a diesel scrappage plan that offers up to 4,000 euros for trading in an older diesel vehicle.
The government has implemented several incentive plans in the last year, the Alternative Mobility Support Plan was launched with a €20 million budget to encourage sales of alternative-fuel vehicles — the budget was used up in less than 24 hours. There are 5,906 electrified vehicles sold in Spain in the first half of 2018, nearly double the number registered in the first half of 2017. Also, Span has announced a plan to install 25,000 charging points by 2021.
As the home to the world’s largest automaker and some of the world’s most iconic luxury brands, the federal government is pushing, they set a goal of having one million electrified cars by 2020, but the auto industry has been bravely holding back the tide. There are around 100,000 plug-ins on German roads, just over half of them pure EVs.
- The UK government. “Electric Vehicle Position Statement”, Feb 2019.
- European Alternative Fuels