Should You Buy An Electric Car?
Are you considering buying a new (or used) car soon? Despite the fact that there is loads of choice on the market depending on what sort of car you want and how much you are prepared to pay for it, an increasing number of people in the UK are looking into buying electric cars.
I would normally be all for buying a car powered by an alternative fuel source which will reduce or eradicate any CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions and save me lots of money on fuel costs, but I think that electric cars are a pointless purchase – for now. Here’s why:
Electric cars are too expensive – is history repeating itself?
You would be forgiven for thinking that electric cars are a relatively new idea, because the first electric cars produced were actually at the turn of the 20th century! The problem was, electric cars were more expensive to buy than ones with internal combustion engines.
These days there have been many advances in battery and electric motor technology, but as was the case more than 100 years, electric cars are too expensive in comparison to their petrol and diesel engine alternatives; this is even taking into account the £5,000 government grant that is discounted off the price of a brand new electric car.
Range is limited
Many folks that want to go down the electric car route decide to go for the best of both worlds and buy a hybrid car – that is, a car that is powered by an electric motor and batteries, as well as a small diesel or petrol engine.
The reason for this is simple: range. Most ‘cheap’ electric cars have a very limited range of 60 to 100 miles before needing a recharge, so you couldn’t drive from London to Edinburgh without stopping at several charging points along the way – which brings us beautifully onto my next point…
Battery charging infrastructure in the UK sucks
I live in the West Midlands, about 11 miles outside of the city of Birmingham. If I wanted to charge my electric car and for some reason I could not do so at home, I would have to drive all the way into Birmingham city centre to find somewhere to charge my batteries up!
Many of the existing charging points are what is known as ‘slow chargers’; in other words, they take around 6 to 8 hours to fully charge batteries, whereas there is only a limited amount of ‘rapid chargers’ that can charge batteries to 80% capacity within 30 minutes.
Responding to such issues, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg recently stated that the government was still committed to expanding the charging point infrastructure and that the state is going to invest approximately £9 million to install more rapid charging points.
According to car dealer Sunny Hill Aberdeen, these additional charging points will mainly be installed along motorways and at some train station car parks.
Charging your electric car from home isn’t going to be much of an issue as you can get a charging point installed on your driveway or in your garage, but with the limited amount of charging points (and in particular, rapid charging points) across the United Kingdom, travelling around in a fully-electric car could be a bit of a lottery when it comes to recharging on the go!