Electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly becoming more popular and widely available. To meet consumer demand, most of the major car manufacturers are now offering at least one electric model, with plenty also offering hybrids as well.
But for some people, switching to electric feels like a big jump. Not only do you need to be able to install a charge point at home, which can be expensive and tricky, but plenty of drivers are concerned about efficiency and distance. After all, a large petrol car can cover several hundred miles before needing to refuel, and there are plenty of petrol stations around.
In comparison, whilst there are over 20,000 public charging points in the UK, they can be hard to find. They also require you to wait some time before you can get on your way. Charging rates vary from 10–30 miles per hour of charging (mi/hr) at home to 20-80 mi/hr at public charging points and under an hour at ‘fast charging’ points for a full charge.
So should you buy an electric car? There are plenty of benefits that can outweigh the difficulties of charging. Here, we take a look at three main reasons for buying an electric car.
Reduced running costs
Whilst they’re expensive to purchase initially, one of the benefits of owning an electric car is that they tend to be cheaper to run than a petrol or diesel car. This isn’t true of every model at the moment, mainly due to sourcing certain parts, but as more and more EVs enter the market, hopefully any expensive items will go down in cost due to economies of scale.
Currently, EV owners in the UK don’t pay road tax, and there are fewer moving parts in an electric car, meaning that there is a lower chance of something breaking or going wrong. Both of these factors can result in a lower running cost overall.
Better for the environment
Traditional cars emit multiple gases which are harmful to the environment. Perhaps the most well-known is carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a major greenhouse gas and is directly contributing to climate change.
Whilst it is important to remember that electric cars are not carbon-neutral due to the manufacturing process and the materials needed to build the car, they do not emit CO2 from the tailpipe. Research suggests that shifting to EVs would cut the lifetime greenhouse gas footprint by 37 percent for passenger vehicles, and slash the operating footprint by 75 percent. The more EVs, the less the demand for fossil fuels.
An easier drive?
From an accessibility perspective, EVs can be a great step in the right direction. The electric engine means that the car provides a smoother drive overall, which can be great for those who struggle with joint pain or arthritis. It’s also generally easier to plug in the car rather than struggle with holding down the trigger at the fuel pump. This can be particularly helpful for anyone who struggles with muscular problems or a condition that affects their ability to hold the nozzle securely.
An EV is also silent, which means a calmer, quieter drive. This can help people who suffer with hearing loss listen out for any important external noises like sirens, but also just means a more pleasant experience for those who are sensitive to noise.
To sum up
Ultimately, it will be your decision about whether an EV is right for you, depending on your access to charging and initial budget, but it’s worth remembering that these benefits are significant. The world will need to move over to EVs in order to meet carbon reduction targets, so make sure to do your research and choose an option that is right for you.
Ed: West England Bylines has published several articles on Electric Vehicles and supports the move away from fossil fuels.