Starfish Gazette

Thinking of an electric car?Here’s a few things you need to know….

The estimated total mileage is based on average conditions: Yes it’s true that your car may not go as far as you thought it would. Forget the air-con if you want to maximise your range, that’s what windows are for. Even turning on lights and windscreen wipers on will reduce your range. If it’s cold, keep a blanket in the car because if you turn the heating on, you can watch your range plummet. And what if you run out of juice? You’ll have to call a recovery service to tow you to the nearest charger! All this leads to range anxiety, which is a pretty uncomfortable feeling, when the battery starts to sink low.
Although this is off-putting, most drivers will just do short journeys that allow them to charge at home, so most of the time, this won’t even be an issue.
If you do get caught short anywhere then the options for charging are increasing by the day and the reliability of them is on the up too.
Lots of Tesco’s, Morrisons and Lidl stores now have charging points as well as most motorway services and handy apps are available to help you locate them when you’re out and about. Zap map gives you all the charging points in a location, and can plan a route for you, incorporating the charging stops.

Chargers are unreliable and there aren’t enough of them: This was certainly more of a problem a year ago but there are more and more chargers springing up, and they are becoming easier to use. There are a myriad of different providers, each requiring a different app and registration process. This seems to be falling by the wayside, in favour of tap and go contactless payments.
Of course if you get to a charging station and it’s being used, you will have to wait, but as more chargers are installed, this hopefully won’t be an issue for much longer.

Charging takes hours and can leave you stuck: So there are different rates of charger. You have your standard 3 pin plug which delivers approximately 3kw of power so may take 12-14hrs to charge. Some places have 7kw chargers which take 3-4hrs to charge. The 50kw chargers deliver masses of power in just 40 mins. Now 150kw ultra fast chargers are being rolled out, delivering 100kw of power in 10 mins – a real game changer.

They aren’t really much better for the environment:
If you charge your charge with electricity generated from coal fired power stations then it probably isn’t a huge benefit to air quality or reducing global warming. There are now lots of energy companies who only supply energy generated by renewable means so its possible to charge your car with green energy only. If you have solar panels, you can get a home car charger that will divert power straight from the panels to your vehicle’s battery. That’s as renewable as it gets.

Other benefits of an electric car are:
There’s no sound, so it’s a quiet, smooth drive, (this also means pedestrians don’t hear you coming so drive extra carefully!) instant power with 0-60mph in some cars! And they are cheaper to run with cheap tariff energy costing as little as 5p per kW. Meaning you can drive around 125 miles for £1.50.
Servicing costs less too as there aren’t as many parts as with a combustion engine.
Of course you will have the inflated outlay of buying the car in the first place, but there are schemes available to help you budget for this.
Although driving electric isn’t always a smooth ride, the benefits outweigh the negatives, and you’ll never need to visit a petrol station forecourt again. That is an incentive indeed.