THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO CHANGE…
There are so many really good reasons to change to plug in hybrid or pure electric cars.
Vehicles – Much more choice
Since the introduction of Government’s Plug-in Car Grant in 2011, registrations of electric cars have grown dramatically. This rapid rise is fuelled by greater consumer awareness, the increasing number of plug-in cars now available – currently 35 models and growing.
Prices are also coming down, and plug-in cars and vans benefit from generous Government grants.
Compared to petrol or diesel, electricity is cheap so pure electric cars can be at least a third cheaper to run. Plug-in hybrids efficiently combine an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine, meaning they too can be considerably cheaper to run.
The driving experience is also a revelation delivering a smooth quite ride, with an almost instant surge of power when accelerating due to the high levels of torque delivered by the electric motors.
Cheaper to maintain
Even more savings can be made on Pure electric cars, which require far less maintenance with just three main components – the on-board charger, inverter and motor – and fewer moving parts than cars with an internal combustion engine.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) can also be cheaper to maintain. Whilst these have a petrol engine that needs regular servicing, the electrical motor requires little maintenance.
The reality is probably a lot further than you usually need. Most of us drive much shorter distances than we imagine. The majority of car journeys in the UK are less than 15 miles. Even when you drive that bit further, you should be able to easily stop and top-up on the way, thanks to over 13,000 public charging point connectors across the country. This includes rapid chargers at 96% of motorway service stations too, which could charge a pure electric car to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.
The range of pure electric cars is rapidly improving. Huge advances in battery technology and falling costs mean this will continue to grow and grow. It is now not unusual for the average range to be in excess of over 180 miles.
In some areas, electric cars and vans are able to park for free (or at a reduced rate) whilst they are charging, which can be a very welcome benefit to your journey.
Most electric car drivers charge at home, and it’s easy to see why. No more queuing (or paying!) at the petrol station; simply plug in when you’re at home or overnight, to be fully charged in the morning.
Depending upon the route an employee takes, charging at work is likely to be every bit as straightforward as charging at home or using the public charging network.
The public charging network
The UK’s public network of over 13,000 public charging connectors is already one of the largest in Europe; whilst our network of almost 1000 rapid chargers is the largest. Highways England’s intention is to ensure that 95% of the strategic road network will have a charging point every 20 miles, which will be rapid charging points wherever possible.
One size fits all
The good news is that there’s an agreed standard for the sockets found on the latest charging points – all now using the universal ‘Type Two’ socket. That will fit the ‘Type Two’ connector found on the end of the charging cable that (usually) comes as standard with your electric car, so you should have no problem plugging-in to a public charging point.
How quickly your car charges depends largely on how powerful the charging unit is, as a general rule there are three charging speeds for pure electric cars:
- Rapid charging units (43, 50, or 120kW) could charge up to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.
- Fast charging points (7-22kW) can fully recharge some models in 3-4 hours. The majority of public points are fast chargers.
- Slow charging points (up to 3kW) are used for longer charging times, around 6-10 hours, depending upon the car. This applies mainly to some homecharge and workplace units.
The Government are actively encouraging drivers to switch to electric cars and vans – which is good news for anyone considering buying a new one. The plug-in car grant provides a discount of up to £4,500 for eligible pure electric cars and £2,500 for eligible plug-in hybrids (costing £60,000 or less); and up to £8,000 for eligible vans. There are also generous grants available to help towards the cost of home, workplace and on-street charge points.
There are significant tax incentives for making the switch to electric. For company car drivers the news is even better, with electric and hybrid cars emitting 50 g/km of CO2 or less incurring a Benefit In Kind tax of only 9% in 2017/18. This can represent huge savings for the driver.
Plug-in hybrids have significantly lower average emissions than traditional petrol or diesel cars too. This can help improve air quality, particularly in urban areas and at the roadside where air quality can be worst.
Even when taking into account the impact of generating the electricity used, pure electric cars can still produce substantially lower greenhouse gases than petrol or diesel cars.
Over their whole lifecycle, electric cars have lower greenhouse gas emissions than ICE vehicles. Battery manufacture can be than offset by increased efficiency and emissions savings over the life of the car.