Electric Cars

The future of cars

In today’s technical era it’s difficult to go one month without hearing about a new invention, social media platform or ‘the next big thing’ in digital devices. Well, arguably the most talked about invention (especially within the car industry) is the electric car. I

Although electric cars are not widely available on the used car market at the moment, they will be eventually. We’ve done a bit of investigating into the products to find out exactly how good they are and whether they’re worth the money and the hype – just so you’re prepared.

If you’ve been to your local Swedish home ware store, motorway service station or supermarket recently you may have noticed that they’ve installed electric charging points for vehicles. The introduction of charging points in convenient places is no doubt in response to the surge in demand for electric cars. Over the space of three years the UK’s sales of electric cars went from 3,500 (2013) to 80,000 (2016). So, what’s so good about them?

An Electric Ford FiestaImage: Electric Ford Fiesta via Ecomento

The positives

You’ll see a lot of car manufacturers selling how cheap an electric car is to run in comparison to a traditional petrol or diesel car. Well, it’s true, you spend around 2-3p per mile for an electric car which, based on average petrol prices, could save you up to £800 per year.

It’s not only the money factor that has people looking at electric vehicles; it’s also the eco-friendly factor. You could argue that electricity uses fossil fuels and is therefore no better than a diesel or petrol car and you would be right, however, there are some clever alternatives. Ecotricity, for example, are a brand who have teamed up with Vauxhall and provide an alternative fuel option. The electricity they generate is made through economical ways such as wind farms and the company invest more into renewable energy for every sale they make.

Not only can an electric car help you cut down on fuel pollution, it also helps with noise pollution as most cars have little or no internal engine noise!

The negatives

As with any big purchase you should always consider the negatives and an electric car is no different. The first thing you’ll need to consider is where you’re going to charge it at home. You’ll need a charging point installed in your house which could cost up to £1,000 (although there are government grants which could save you up to 75% of the cost) and you’ll need to have this in an accessible place, so off-street parking is essential.

Arguably the biggest negative of an electric car is that you may need an additional vehicle as, if you’re looking to go on a long journey, it’s likely to take you a long time. Electric cars are capable of travelling 100 miles a day before needing a recharge but, as you can see from Nissan’s image below; this could reduce to around 75 miles with motorway driving.  That means if you’re going on a weekend away you’ll have to find somewhere close-by or keep a map of charge points handy.   

Nissan Electric Cars

Charging your car at home can take around 10-12 hours but, at certain charge points, could take as little as 30 minutes (for an 80% charge). Charge points vary in their power and depending on which vehicle you have will dictate how long you’ll be waiting for your car to recharge.

Zap Map

If you’re looking to find a local charging station you can use Zap Map who claim to have the most comprehensive list of charge points within the UK. Beware, however, that there may be points not on the map so if you’re aware of one near you check if it’s on the map and if it’s not, add it to help fellow electric drivers!

The figures

SAVINGS

  • Government car grant - £4,500 (max discount)
  • Government charging grant - £500 (max discount)
  • Fuel - £800
  • Car tax - £110 (highest saving for bands A-D)

Total saving: £5,910

COSTS

  • Car - £15,500 (minus grant)
  • Charging station - £166 (minus grant)
  • Electricity - £300 

Total costs: £15,966

We know that these costs wouldn’t be an annual occurrence so, once you’ve taken away the one-off payments, you’re left with a saving of up to £910 per year (fuel and tax). This means that it would take you around 17 years for your savings to cover your initial costs!

We don’t see them flooding the used car market any time soon but, if they did, would you buy one?

 

 

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