Renault ZE in the Renault Owners Club

With a surge in popularity in the last four years, new registrations for electric vehicles (EVs) have seen a steady increase since 2016, with 2017 seeing a significant increase month-on-month. With 4,444 new EVs registered in June 2017 compared to last year’s 3,196, electric motors are on the rise.

This rise could be due to an ever-increasing mindfulness of the environment coupled with manufacturers offering more electric vehicles than ever, with 59 plug-in models available on the market today.

How do electric vehicles work?

Electric vehicles utilise an electric motor to power the car. Power is taken from electric cells and turned into power through the electric motor. The battery is charged through a mains socket (at home or at a charging station) without needing to use fossil fuels.

What do you gain from going electric?

Some of the most significant advantages of getting an electric car include:

  • No longer having to pay for petrol, eliminating pesky trips to the petrol station. Electricity is much cheaper than fossil fuels.
  • Paying less for engine repairs due to the electric motor being much simpler than a traditional combustion engine. You can take that oil change off of your to-do list.
  • Paying less for a new car as dealerships receive grants from the government (of up to £4,500) when selling electric vehicles, lowering the overall price before you step into the showroom.
  • Electric vehicles charged with standard UK mains electricity have around 40% less CO2 output.

Why people may want to stick to petrol cars

  • ‘Range anxiety’ – the worry of running out of charge before reaching a charging point. You’ll need to precisely plan where charging points are on any long journey.
  • Long recharge times – average electric cars take around an hour to add 20-25 miles of range.
  • New electric vehicles can be expensive.
  • A small range of choice – only 59 fully electric models are available today.

Are people’s fears justified?

With most cars averaging around 100 miles and the UK daily average distance travelled being 25 miles, you’ll have more than enough range to get through the week with few charges.

Charge overnight or whilst parked at work to keep fully topped up. Some electric vehicles have much larger ranges, with the new Renault Zoe getting up to 250 miles in a single charge. An extensive charging infrastructure makes this easy for anyone.

Charge time can put people off, as spending hours waiting for your car to recharge sounds boring, but certain models feature quick charge functionality. Depending on the power supply, a new Renault Zoe battery can be fully charged in anywhere from 1 to 14 hours.

Electric cars may seem to have a higher price point, but in the long run you’ll save a fortune on tax and petrol. Fully electric cars that cost under £40,000 are exempt from tax in the UK and a charge of around 100 miles will cost around £3.

Compared to traditional engines that have compulsory yearly tax charges combined with a cost of driving 100 miles being around £12-£15.

Save money further by applying for off-peak charging tariffs that cost less when charging overnight.

The UK’s charging infrastructure

With just shy of 5,000 charging locations with a combined amount of 14,061 connectors available for charging, there’s ample coverage across the UK.

Now the most commonly found type in the country, Fast charging connectors give you a full charge in around 3.5 hours. For those in a rush, Rapid charging connectors can give you 80% of your charge in just 30 minutes.

Rapid chargers are commonly found in service stations and off of main roads, letting you stop off quickly to benefit from a quick charge.

The future of electric vehicles

The future is undoubtedly electric in the automotive industry. The deciding factors hang in the balance.

People’s willingness to make the change, manufacturers’ openness to producing enough electric models and the government’s policies on pollution and combustion engines all have a direct effect on the electric vehicle market.

In July, both Britain and France made a pledge to stop the sale of combustion engines by 2040, bringing closer a market dominated by electric models. Some manufacturers are releasing more and more fully electric cars in an effort to make EVs more accessible to the public.

Shell recently announced that they’re installing charging points in their petrol stations, letting you Rapid charge your EV on the go.

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