They make a lot of sense in so many ways, and could ultimately help to rescue the planet from climate change death, so why don’t more of us put our money where our environmental consciousness is and invest in an electric car?
Hybrid technology is the fastest growing of all the ways of powering a car, and while that is a step forwards from petrol guzzlers or diesel chokers, it is only a small part of the answer, since a lot of the time a hybrid is running off its fossil fuel motor.
The G-Wiz, butt of endless Top Gear jokes, did not help. Small, lacking in style, hard to charge and not quite as green as it wanted to claim (it was made largely of plastic – including the tyres judging by the ride quality) this vehicle became the face of electric cars.
And not a very pretty one at that. Its cheapness to run in part offset by a high initial price. That is something the electric car industry is yet to address, and will remain a problem until it reduces.
Maybe if the Tesla ever replaces it in the minds of the public, electric car reputation might improve.
There is a sense, undoubtedly, among the public that they risk being the guinea pigs for full scale electric cars. Although range is getting better all the time, unless you can afford a considerable outlay, 200 miles is going to be the limit, and that is in good weather with the heater off.
Planning a journey from London to Edinburgh, for example, is not just a case of getting on the M1 and arriving, including a coffee stop, five hours later. No, stops have to be planned. Allowances have to be made in case of heavy congestion. A motorway closure could spell disaster. What is saved on fuel costs will be half used up on Service Station pasties and Costa cakes. This alone is a huge reason why many drivers don’t use a service like The Car Buying Group and upgrade to an EV.
Here we reach the nub of the problem. There might now be 2500 or so charging stations dotted around the country, but these are in the hands of twenty different companies. Some are investing in super-fast charging facilities (although, this is relative) but many more still need an hour or even more to fully charge the car.
This can easily add a third to the total journey time of your trip. It simply doesn’t cut it with business users, families or anybody who knows they might one day be in a rush.
Even charging at home can be difficult. It might cost well under a pound to charge up your electric car, but you can only do it if you have close access to a plug socket, and that means off street parking.
Electric cars look like they will be the future, but there is a long way to go before they become popular enough to rival hybrids and even fully fossil fuelled cars.