You may well be bored of your 'hippy' friend, colleague or acquaintance constantly banging on about how we need to save the environment and stop using up all of the planet's oil resources to get us to and from work. While they might not put the most convincing argument forward, there are a lot of advantages to becoming an eco-warrior in an electric vehicle.
First and foremost, fully electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions which has a massive impact, particularly in built-up areas, on the surrounding environment in which you drive. We all know that our petrol and diesel cars produce greenhouse gases and that these emissions are harmful to those breathing them in.
Here is the part that some of you may point out that an electric vehicle still needs to use electricity generated from a power station in order to be charged. So even though an electric vehicle has zero emissions, it still contributes to air pollution.
This is of course correct; however, increasing amounts of the National Grid's electricity is being sourced from renewable resources as opposed to coal or gas power stations. Even if you factor power station emissions into the mix, an electric vehicle's CO2 emissions are still considerably lower than vehicles using traditional fossil-fuel burning machines.
Recycling is something that has become a part of everyday life so that we can all feel like we are doing our part for the planet, but there are no personal rewards for doing it. Driving an electric vehicle is very different! Being environmentally friendly becomes an added extra with an electric vehicle because of the money that you save.
It is a well known fact that electric vehicles have zero emissions. Under the current road tax scheme, which is based on CO2 emissions, it also means that electric vehicle owners pay £0 in road tax. As of 1st April 2017, the way that road tax is calculated is changing. Any car that is registered after this date will have to pay a variable road tax rate in the first year of ownership based on the car's CO2 emissions. From year two onwards, every car will have to pay £140 a year in road tax, or £450 a year if the car originally cost more than £40,000. The only cars exempt from this are electric vehicles. They will continue to be charged £0 in road tax, unless they originally cost more than £40,000, in which case they will be charged £310 a year in road tax from year two onwards.
Before you've even driven anywhere, buying an electric vehicle has already saved you money. When it comes to fuel, electricity is undoubtedly cheaper than petrol and diesel. Typically, if you were to charge your electric car at home it would cost between £2.50 and £5, depending on your electricity tariff, for a full overnight charge, giving you around 100 miles of range. This works out at around 2p-3p per mile.
If you were to fully charge your car at home five times a week, it would cost about £25 per week, or £100-£125 extra per month on your electricity bill. In contrast, even the most frugal 0.9 litre engines would cost at least £40 to achieve 500 miles of driving, which is almost £200 per month.
It is highly unlikely that you will be driving 500 miles a week. Let's suggest that you have a 30 mile round commute to and from work and you fill up your petrol car that achieves 43mpg with £50 of fuel at £1.12p a litre which gives you around 420 miles. If there were twenty two working days in a month you would be driving 660 miles and therefore need to fill up twice, costing you £100. If, however, you switched to an electric car and you received 100 miles of range for every charge, you would only need to charge your electric car six times in a month, costing you around £30 in electricity. This is a saving of around £70 a month and nearly £850 a year!
These figures are based on charging your electric vehicle at home, when in reality you can charge your car while it is parked at work, using the company's electricity. If you are able to charge your car at work it will be very rare that you will have to rely on home charging because your car will already be charged, meaning that you can save even more on your fuel costs.
In 2011, the government introduced the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) which incentivised car buyers to purchase a fully electric or hybrid car in order to receive up to £5,000 off the car's full sale price.
This grant has recently been extended with buyers of pure electric cars receiving £4,500 off of their new purchase. Unfortunately, you are not eligible to receive a grant for second-hand cars, or category 2 or 3 vehicles with a recommended retail price of £60,000 and over.
As well as receiving money off of your initial purchase, vehicles registered with a fuel type of 'electric' qualify for a 100% discount from London's Congestion Charge. So, if you regularly drive into London for work or any other reason, you could save £11.50 per day.
New PiCG Categories
|CO2 Emissions & Zero Emission Range||Money-off|
|Category 1||CO2 emissions <50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles||£4,500|
|Category 2||CO2 emissions <50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles||£2,500|
|Category 3||CO2 emissions 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles||£2,500|
Electric Vehicle drivers have become accustomed to advanced technology that is commonplace with most electric cars that aren't normally found on conventionally-powered rivals. Owners of an electric vehicle can take advantage of driving-specific functions to help them make the most out of their range. 'Eco' modes limit auxiliary power drain and deaden throttle response, while variable strength brake energy recuperation harvests energy to assist with maximising range. Electric cars also have heated seats and steering wheels, features that are more commonplace with more luxury brands, because it is more efficient to heat contact areas rather than a large volume of air.
As an electric car owner, you would also be able to control a number of vehicle features including locking and unlocking the car, pre-conditioning the car's temperature, accessing driving information and charging times. Setting predetermined charge start and stop times is available on almost every electric vehicle. You can determine a certain time limit or battery percentage and this information can be stored so that you don't have to keep putting it in.
You might not associate electric cars with speed, but you would be very surprised behind the wheel of one.
The torque from the electric motor means that pick-up is instant which might even make a Ferrari beating you off the line difficult. Of course after a short distance you would be overtaken by the Italian supercar, but in the instances of short bursts of acceleration, an electric vehicle is much faster and more efficient than building revs.
Electric vehicle's electric motors produce very little noise. So, if you are looking for a quiet car to drive around town and commute to work in rather than a roaring and frankly impractical supercar, an electric car could well be the answer.
Electric cars are actually so quiet that the government are looking to introduce laws to create extra noise for them when they are at low speeds so that they are safer for pedestrians around town; otherwise they are actually too quiet.
No matter how much we want to avoid it, oil, coal and gas are finite resources that are going to run out one day. That might not be a time that any of us need to worry about, but it is something that is going to happen. While electric vehicles may not be perfect, the same could be said of any gas-guzzling model, but they have the added advantage of providing a sustainable and infinite method of power that is far more environmentally friendly and could end up saving you a lot of money.