General UK

Should my next car be an electric one?

Should my next car be an electric one?
Should my next car be an electric one?
Image caption Angie Brown’s 15-year-old petrol-fuelled car has clocked up hundreds of miles, however is it time for her to interchange it with an electric car?

The natural electric car marketplace is rising, however price, battery existence and charging issues can put other people off. Here, one wannabe electric car proprietor searches for solutions to key questions.

After purchasing my car 15 years in the past and by accident scraping paint from its nostril on a multi-storey car park pillar, reversing it into the nook of my space after which riding over a small wall in my lawn, it become affectionately know as “Scratch”.

On our muddy adventures over time to my many ultra-marathons and mountain motorcycle journeys “he” has turn out to be a trusty spouse permitting me nice freedom to get entry to even the remotest puts in Scotland.

Sadly regardless that, his backdoor now rattles and disconcerting creaking noises have led me for a few years to means each and every shuttle as whether it is his final.

The factor is, I are not looking for my next car to be a petroleum one. So I’ve been flirting with the theory of shopping for an electric car, or because the cool other people say, an EV.

The examine force

I desperately need to do extra for the surroundings, to mend our planet, however is an EV a truth for me with the puts I need to cross to, or is it simply too quickly to take this carbon-free step into the unknown?

To in finding out extra I visited Barry Carruthers, head of innovation, sustainability and high quality at Scottish Power to have a examine force in one in all their fleet of Nissan Leaf vehicles.

From his place of business in Glasgow he drove us 20 miles to Scottish Power’s Whitelee Wind Farm, which produces a lot of the fairway electrical energy for the car. Then I took the wheel.

Image caption It used to be a clean trip for electric car amateur Angie Brown

It used to be an computerized, a lot to my horror as I’ve handiest pushed handbook vehicles, however strangely inside of no time I used to be nipping about very easily – a reduction as I’ve now realized all EVs are computerized.

It had strangely just right acceleration too, for overtaking at the dual carriageway, now not the Driving Miss Daisy trip I had idea it could be.

“Don’t you feel smug?”, Barry requested, after which it hit me I used to be in spite of everything riding guilt-free for the primary time in my existence. I wasn’t polluting the arena with carbon fumes and it felt nice.

“Yes”, I stated and at that second I did not need to wait any other fume-filled minute, it used to be time to do away with “Scratch” and purchase an electric car.

Reality test one – price

However, to buy one new would be between £31,500 and £39,500, which is a hefty monetary enterprise even with the United Kingdom executive’s £3,500 grant and the Scottish executive’s passion loose mortgage of as much as £35,000 over six years.

“You can buy a second-hand one though for about £7,000,” stated Barry who has owned a used Renault Zoe for the previous two years.

But is there any hope the brand new car price will come down quickly?

Analysis via environmental foyer workforce, European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), suggests the choice of electric car fashions to be had to customers in Europe may just triple via 2021.

If that does occur then there’ll be a larger marketplace, extra festival and perhaps a greater deal for purchasers. But my drawback is “Scratch” hasn’t were given a lot existence left.

Reality test two – battery existence

My test-drive Nissan Leaf had 155 miles at the clock once we activate, but it surely used to be a brand spanking new type with only a few highway miles.

But how just right is the battery in a used electric, do they act like a cell phone battery when it will get previous?

Barry’s solution used to be: “When I thought that perhaps the battery range [in his EV] was reducing, a software upgrade from the manufacturer helped increase the range.”

That used to be thrilling to listen to as this has been one in all my greatest worries.

Recent analysis prompt just one in 4 other people would imagine purchasing an absolutely electric car within the next 5 years. And vary, that is the distance the electric car travels between fees, used to be one of the restricting elements.

Reality test 3 – charging issues

Another concern of mine used to be discovering charging issues. Were there sufficient across the nation?

I came upon that there are greater than 1,000 charging issues now throughout Scotland together with fast charging issues, charging vehicles inside of 25-40 mins.

The Scottish executive says the typical distance between any given location to the closest public charging level is solely 2.78 miles.

Barry confirmed me the electric car’s built in sat nav to seek out us a charging level only some miles away and the way simple it used to be to make use of.

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Media captionAngie Brown makes use of an electric car charging level for the primary time

He had a unique card, costing a one-off £20, which he used it to turn on the rate level.

The lead used to be then plugged from car to charger and the loose fill-up started. Yes, loose gas – I used to be getting extra eager about the second one.

I assumed it would not be just right for the car’s battery to rate sooner than it used to be totally discharged however Barry disagreed.

He additionally stated there have been now many cinemas and supermarkets with charging issues so I may just peak up whilst I used to be buying groceries or looking at a movie.

In an city setting, the charging image appears to be like certain. Another certain is there’s no car tax. Also I looked at that I may just get an electric car MOT accomplished at my native storage.

But it does appear to be any giant issues of the battery – an important a part of an electric car – must be tackled via the dealership.

Image caption There are handiest about 200 shifting portions in an electric car
  • Did you already know? A combustion engine car has greater than 1,000 shifting portions whilst a natural electric car has about 200.

Most electric vehicles have warranties at the battery of about seven or 8 years.

They are made up of a number of modules which will be changed if the battery, as an example, stops charging previous 70% capability. However, the battery is simply too dear to be changed totally.

Access to charging issues whilst out and about is something, however charging up at house is what I want.

Installing a charging level at my space, the place I’m lucky to have a driveway, would price within the area of £1,500.

That’s a large outlay, however I may just get grants that carry the associated fee right down to a couple of hundred kilos.

Will a breakdown corporate pop out to mend my EV?

After early analysis and my examine force, I used to be becoming an “electric car evangelist”, I assumed.

I needed to be extra exhausting headed so I determined to write down down precisely what I wished a car for, together with how sensible it used to be to get to far off races and to Glenshee within the iciness for snowboarding.

At this level I remembered Barry telling me an EV loses about 25% battery existence in freezing chilly climate, which might now not be just right.

Then I were given excited about what occurs if I destroy down. So I known as the AA and a spokesman advised me they did attend EVs and all their engineers have been educated to paintings on electric and hybrid vehicles. I used to be glad once more.

The motoring breakdown organisation additionally stated it used to be growing and trialling an choice fuels car able to offering a top-up rate for an electric car or a hydrogen top-up for a gas mobile car. They may just additionally tow EVs to the closest charging level.

Would a motoring skilled purchase an electric car?

Image copyright Fabrizio Bensch
Image caption The clock is ticking against the top of petrol and diesel fuelled cars

I used to be nonetheless in a bit of of a dilemma so I determined to name The Scotsman’s motoring correspondent, Matt Allan, for recommendation.

He stated: “For some an EV is completely possible and they are able to rate their car in a single day at their house. For others between the variety and infrastructure they may in finding it to be a stumbling block.

“I would not cut price an EV for my next car as it could serve my commuting wishes, however it is once we need to force as an example to my mother-in regulations that it abruptly turns into very restricting.”

Matt added: “You can rate them in an strange three-point pin socket however it could take a long time so once more that perhaps is not possible.”

Is there a transportable charger I may just lift within the boot of my car?

Matt stated: “There is not, I’m afraid, as it could be too heavy.”

Do I opt for it or now not?

Image caption Angie Brown does not suppose “Scratch” will be at the highway for an excessive amount of longer

I determined to invite a chum why she had bought an electric car handiest 3 years after she had purchased it in 2014.

She stated she gave it up as it simply wasn’t possible.

One, she did not experience sitting in darkish far off car parks looking ahead to her car to rate.

Two, the 150-mile vary would trade each day, relying on how she drove, so she could not be certain of depending at the mileage promised.

And 3, when she moved to a flat it wasn’t sensible to roll leads out of a window around the pavement to her car.

  • Did you already know? There are 31.five million vehicles at the highway in Britain, in step with the DVLA – and 31 million of them are nonetheless petrol or diesel powered.

Like all wannabe electric car homeowners, for me price and battery existence are key. I’ve concluded that an EV hitting a capability within the area of 300 miles will be the only I opt for.

Car producers say they’re getting there in relation to vary, because of the bigger 64 kilowatt battery. And a promise of extra miles to your rate has created rising ready lists for next-generation EVs.

Take, as an example, Hyundai – they advised me that since August final 12 months, that they had bought 1,500 in their Kona electric and as a result of the rising call for had a ready record of four,000 plus.

A spokeswoman on the corporate stated that even though the car itself used to be made via them in South Korea the battery used to be sourced from in different places.

She idea that in the event that they began making the batteries themselves then they might extra simply fulfil call for for his or her EVs.

While I would possibly not be an electric car pioneer, I need to be an early adopter. But when?

Well, for now I’ll put my title at the record for a kind of larger battery vehicles and proceed believing I will sign up for the street to an emissions-free long run, quicker relatively than later.

And whilst I wait, I’m hoping “Scratch” will stay on going.

BBC Scotland News is operating a season of local weather trade protection throughout radio, TV, on-line and social media.

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