Are you considering switching to an electric car? This is what you need


(Pocket Ribbon) – If you’re considering switching to an electric car, you’re not alone. While internal combustion engines still make up the bulk of the market, sales and availability of electric vehicles have increased over the past year.

There’s a lot involved, but it might not be as much of a challenge as you might think.

Electric cars are not weird

Let’s start here. Just because an electric car doesn’t have an engine doesn’t mean it’s weird. Even if you’ve enjoyed driving in the past, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy driving an electric car — they’re not weird in any way.

On the contrary. Electric cars are actually very nice to drive. Some are decidedly futuristic in their approach, but some are completely conventional. Step into the Mini Electric or the Audi e-tron and there is little difference from the combustion version in terms of quality, features or specifications.

Some electric cars are futuristic, like the Tesla Model X, but there is now a wide range of electric cars to suit all needs and they all run live with a different automatic transmission – but without turbo lag and much less noise.

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But isn’t range a big problem?

The perceived range is the most frequently mentioned disadvantage of electric cars. It is inevitable that even the simplest petrol car has a longer range than most electric cars. However, when it comes to reach, don’t let that stop you.

Think of the last 6 months of use of your car. How often did you drive more than 200 miles per day? Unless you’re doing a lot of highway miles, your daily or even weekly drive is probably within range of most electric cars.

That’s the most important thing to figure out: how much range do you need for normal driving, instead of how much range you need for that one trip you take every year to go on vacation?

There’s no getting around the fact that 4 hours of driving, 5 minutes of stopping to refuel and repeating the process cannot be matched in an electric car. But how often do you actually do that?

For those who want longer range and faster charging, Tesla is probably the answer – and it is precisely for this reason that the Tesla Model 3 is proving popular. The performance is very good and the price is not too expensive, although recent models such as the VW ID.4 offer an alternative.

It’s all about charging

So to the core: charging is for an electric car like refueling for a car with a combustion engine. For many owners of electric cars, charging takes place at home. All electric cars charge from a standard wall outlet, but depending on the size of the battery, this can take a very long time. Smaller cars, such as the Mini Electric or Honda e, charge overnight from a standard wall outlet.

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The homely wallbox

The most common home charging solution is to have a wallbox installed. This could cost you around £500 depending on what you choose, but there are often grants available to cut costs, or offers from car manufacturers to make the deal easier when you buy the car. For most people, a 7kW charger can be installed to charge your car 3x faster than a normal wall outlet.

Yes, there is an initial investment to put in a wallbox, but then you can charge from your drive, without going anywhere. It happens overnight and the cost is minimal compared to conventional petrol or diesel. That could mean spending pounds to charge your car, rather than ten times that amount at a gas station.

The best part is that once you have a wallbox it will work with any electric car, so when friends come over for the weekend they can charge too. It also means that you often leave home with a full load rather than a half-empty tank.

Public charging

If you can’t charge at home because you don’t have a place to park the car, public charging is the way to go. Again, this isn’t a barrier to electric car ownership, it’s just something to consider.

Yes, if you park on the street and can’t charge at home, then you need to think a bit more about when and how to charge your car. Some locations are investing in street charging solutions, although these are quite rare at the moment. If you go to work by car, more and more employers are installing electric charging stations – and that could solve your problem.

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Alternatively, there are plenty of public charging options, but these will cost you more than a wallbox. You may find supermarkets that offer free charging, although these are often slower chargers and only useful if you’ve been shopping for a while.

The best public chargers are the fast chargers. These come in various forms with increasing speeds. 50kW chargers are popping up in car parks, restaurants and hotels, and while they charge you a little more for the electricity, they’ll likely charge your car in about 90 minutes.

There are also chargers over 100 kW that can charge your car in perhaps 45 minutes or less. These are located on most highways and include the Tesla Supercharger network. While Tesla owners can use all public chargers, only Tesla owners can use the Superchargers – and the Supercharger network is one of the best charging networks right now. For those with a Tesla, driving to the local Supercharger for a full quick charge is a viable alternative to charging at home.

Aren’t electric cars just very expensive?

There have been some expensive electric cars. The Tesla Model S and X, Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace are examples of electric cars that are more expensive than many can afford. But they are in the premium segment and are undeniably luxurious.

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But that is slowly changing and there is much more variation. Yes, the initial cost is more than a petrol or diesel equivalent, but the running costs are a lot lower. If you hit the sweet spot between range and price, you’ll find models like the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro or Kia Soul EV – all of which can cover nearly 500 miles.

The Nissan Leaf e+ is also in this space, while the Honda e, Mini Electric, Renault Zoe and others are more affordable, with a lower range. For those who buy a lease car, you may pay a little more for your car, but you pay less to power it.

Electric cars aren’t that green, are they?

This is probably one of the most talked about points around electric cars – the fact that they have a huge chemical battery inside that uses rare earth elements. Most of an electric car’s carbon footprint takes place before it’s even delivered to your door.

That’s true, but it’s not the only side of the argument, because air pollution from exhaust gases and brake dust is a huge problem in city centers and on busy roads – and electric cars have zero tailpipe emissions and use the brakes much less often thanks to regenerative braking, where the engine is used to slow the car instead of the friction brakes.

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Manufacturers ensure that they use green energy in the production of cars and the batteries, which means that many electric cars are produced in a much more sustainable way than cars with an internal combustion engine in the past. This is something VW is quite open about the launch of its ID.3 electric car – and many others have created greener supply chains than other models in the past.

There’s also the argument that electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, so you just shift the emissions elsewhere. Yes, in some parts of the world most of the electricity comes from coal-fired power stations, but in the UK a great deal now comes from renewables – and many public charging networks use green sources. Homeowners can also choose sustainable domestic suppliers.

Of course, there is also the option of not only having an electric car, but also solar panels and a household energy solution (usually made from recycled electric car batteries), meaning you can capture and store your own electricity, so you’re completely off. electricity grid, although considerable costs are involved.

Sum up

There is no doubt that electric cars are the biggest change the automotive world has seen in a century. For many, it’s a change in the way you look at your car and – to some extent – use your car. However, the important thing is not to focus on what you are not getting and to focus on what you are getting.

For some of us, in the UK, there will be a 2030 deadline for sales of new combustion cars to end, but that’s nothing to worry about: electric cars are fun to drive, they’re connected and modern and are packed with a lot of smart technology. Being able to charge at home is a lot easier than having to go to a gas station – especially for those who may live remotely, not just those who live in the city.

So instead of being locked into something like range, electric cars give us a chance to embrace the change coming.

Written by Chris Hall.

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