Author - Ashvin Suri, Founder of E-Zoomed, a Creditplus partner: Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Prior to that he was an investment banker with JPMorgan. He was awarded an MBA from the London Business School in 1998.
Certainly Yes, But It Depends On The Specific Circumstances!
Although there are a number of excellent reasons to buy an electric car, I encourage a ‘practical and studied approach’, to assess if an EV is right for you. A robust ‘discovery process’ to buying a car will always reduce risk! Do not be seduced by fancy sales pitches etc. Certainly take your time in making a decision. You can learn all about EVs on e-zoomed.com.
Now, if you are like me, you should be thoroughly confused with the terminology used for EVs (honestly, I am baffled at best). But I have done the work for you, to simplify, what is a complex landscape to navigate.
So what is an EV? Well, there is no precise definition of an EV. An EV encompasses a BEV, PHEV and many other types of electric vehicles. For more on ‘jargon busting’ visit Top 20 Jargons Used In The Electric Vehicle Industry.
1. Range Anxiety
I always like to start with the challenges, and hands down, the biggest concern I hear in regards to an electric car is range, or popularly known as ‘range anxiety’.
Will I run out of charge on the road? It's a fair question to ask!
The last thing you need on your afternoon school run, with hungry kids in the car, is a broken down EV, because the battery has run out of juice. The good news is that the probability of this is very low. You will only find yourself in this predicament, if you forget to charge your EV. It is the same principle as a mobile phone. Charge it, before you go to sleep!
I have written about range anxiety in an article about busting EV myths. The issue of range anxiety has been over exaggerated to a large extent. Do not get me wrong. It is a valid concern but needs to be placed in the appropriate context. The average commute in the UK is 12 miles, and most EVs on the market today, will deliver over 100 miles on a full charge. Some electric cars are capable of delivering up to 300 miles per charge.
Now, unless your local grocery store, pub, gym or school is 300 miles away, rest assured you will get to your local destination and back without a worry! And for that once in a year event, when you are forced to meet your extended family, living 700 miles away, I suggest you fly! So bottom-line, most EVs will easily meet the demands of everyday commutes, to include leisure and work.
2. Charging Facilities
If you live away from a big city and have access to private parking, then in all probability, charging your EV at home will be relatively straightforward. Moreover, you can take advantage of the government subsidy OLEV grant scheme, for home charging.
However, if you live in a city then charging at home is not quite as easy. In my view, legislation needs to make it mandatory for all existing and new developments to install charging infrastructure. Interestingly, I do see a number of developments in London enquiring about EV charging.
Let's assume you live in an urban area with no ability to charge at home. Your best bet would be to identify the closest public charging points to you and to use it. To be honest, it is not the most convenient, but it is an option worth considering.
However, I always encourage individuals living in cities, with good public transportation, to not own a car. Instead, use public transportation. When you do need a car, use a car-sharing scheme, like Zipcar. They also have EVs!
Now that we have sorted home charging, lets briefly discuss public charging and workplace charging. Yes, public charging infrastructure needs to develop further and I sincerely hope it does. Having said that, last month, EV charging points in the UK surpassed the number of petrol stations. Wow!
But lets put this concern in context. The majority of EVs are charged overnight at home. Public charging infrastructure, though critical, is not quite as extensively used as home charging.
Moreover, workplace charging infrastructure is being deployed rapidly. If you happen to be that poor soul, with no home charging, no workplace charging and very limited public charging, well guess what? An EV is not right for you today! I would, therefore, suggest you opt for a traditional hybrid that is less polluting.
If you have access to charging, in particular, home charging, I would certainly encourage you to buy an EV versus a polluting traditional petrol or diesel car. If you are like most people (including me), you detest pollution, in particular, pollution from road transportation. So why contribute to it?
Help improve your environment, both for yourself and for your children. And honestly, it is just cool to be in an electric car. If you don’t believe me, ask the generations after you!