The Benefits of Driving an Electric Car
An electric car can have so many benefits to its driver and to society in general, including: cheaper running costs from fuel and maintenance, better everyday driving performance and greener for cities and the environment.
But, the picture is a little more complicated than that. This article gives an overview of the benefits electric cars can offer and a word of warning…
The cost of charging an electric car depends on when and where you are charging.
Charging your electric car at home
Then the price will vary according to your tariff. But on average, it costs about 14p per kw. So, if you are charging your Nissan Leaf with a 30kwh battery, it will cost about £0.14x30 to get to 100%. That’s just £4.20.
N.B. You shouldn’t ever really let your battery get below 10%, so you’ll never charge from 0% to 100%!
Charging your electric car at work
This depends on your boss. But many companies allow employees to plug in for free (or an allowance of free charging) while they’re at work. Even if you have to pay a bit, it will be at a cheap domestic rate.
Charging your electric car at one of the UK’s 24,000 public charge points…
Then it will depend on which charger type you are using. Slower charge points in supermarkets, pubs and car parks are often free to use if you are a customer.
While you can use a rapid charger (usually found in motorway service stations) for around £6.50 for 100 miles of charge (roughly).
Road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), is calculated based on a car’s tailpipe fumes. Pure electric cars are zero emission so don’t pay any road tax!
The slight exception to this is that pure EVs that cost over £40,000 have to pay an annual supplement of £320 for the first 5 years.
The other tax advantage is that there is no duty to pay on fuel. Unlike with petrol and diesel which the government tax heavily.
No Congestion or Zone Charges
Pure electric cars are exempt from the daily £11.50 London congestion charge to enter the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) until at least October 2025.
Cheaper to maintain
Electric cars have fewer moving parts which means less can go wrong. No valves, cylinders and gaskets to worry about. They are basically just brakes, wheels and a battery. You don’t need to check oil levels and your chances of breakdown are considerably lower than in a petrol/diesel. That means fewer surprise costs and less stress!
Free or Cheaper parking
To encourage EV adoption some local councils allow electric car drivers to park at a discounted rate or even for free in some areas!
Electric Cars are a Joy to Drive:
Everyone loves a new toy, the latest gadget. Vehicle manufacturers know that electric cars will soon simply be ‘cars’ to us. Their focus then is increasingly shifting towards designing and developing electric cars equipped with the latest technology.
Customers who want the best user experience with their car – whether that’s the navigation, the sound system, the seat massagers – must look to new electric cars to satisfy them.
Car geeks will talk about power, torque and acceleration. They will refer to drag races and other tests performed on tracks which highlight the amazing performance of expensive electric cars.
But, for us and the everyday car user that’s not really the point.
What is important for us, is that even the most basic electric cars are awesome to drive. Basically, because there is no inefficient combustion process: when you put your foot on the throttle you get instant power (without any noise).
This creates a nippy and fun driving experience in even the humblest EVs.
I recently delivered a Nissan Leaf to my parents who live on a farm in Dorset. It was night when I arrived and I knew that the dogs would usually make a racket as soon as a car pulled into the driveway. There were some surprised and embarrassed doggie faces when I opened the door into the house having silently pulled up outside the house!
Cute story, but so what? You might say.
Well, just imagine a world without the noise of traffic, where you don’t have to listen to the roar of engines as you try to sleep at night or focus during the day; where instead you hear the calmer sounds of the world and its natural rhythms.
You may think standing by the petrol pump is easy enough. But, remember cars are not in use 95% of the time. Electric cars can ‘fuel’ themselves in this time. Totally unsupervised!
Better for people and planet:
Better for the environment
I’ve already mentioned reduction in noise pollution. But, let’s not forget the significant impact switching to electric could have on global C02 emissions – one of the primary drivers of climate change.
The UK transport sector makes up a whopping 26% of our annual CO2 emissions – the largest contributor of any sector.
For more about why electric cars really are greener, click here.
Reducing C02 emissions is one thing, but illness and death as a result of air pollution in cities has increased dramatically in recent years as our urban environments become increasingly congested.
Electric cars don’t produce any of the particulate matter or fumes which lead to polluted and dangerous air.
Electric cars sound too good to be true…
I don’t want to end this article on a sour note, but it’s important to be realistic and transparent. Electric cars can have huge benefits in the right circumstances.
But, at the moment, they will not work well for everyone...
High upfront costs
For a start, they are about £5-10,000 more expensive as an upfront purchase than their equivalent petrol/diesel models. For most people, that is too much of a premium to pay. And while the running cost savings are good, it will take a very long time to recuperate that extra £10k you shelled out!
That’s where new ownership models can help. Getting an electric car on subscription means you can benefit from the running cost saving from the first day of driving. There’s no upfront cost (as with a purchase) nor big deposit (as with a lease) – you just pay your monthly fee and drive.
You may have heard of ‘range anxiety’. It’s the soul-sapping fear you get when you realise you may not have enough charge to get to your destination; and you don’t know where or if there is a charge point en route. And it’s getting dark.
Range anxiety is an overstated issue, especially as the number of public charge points is increasing rapidly; and so is the range capacity on new EVs.
But, it’s still so important that people understand how and if an EV could work for them. Because, though it pains me to say, right now, most EVs on the market (especially the affordable ones) will not work for some people.
We came up with our EV Suitability Tool to help people discover how convenient an electric car could be (or not) for them.
Would an electric car fit your lifestyle?
Try out 3 minute tool to find out:
- The truth about your driving habits
- How much you could save in £s and CO2
- Which EVs on the market are the best fit for you
We think this could be a really important tool for helping people understand EVs. If you find your results interesting, please consider sharing the test and even encouraging any naysaying friends to try it!