Is an electric car viable and should I buy one?
Some have said; “Electric cars will never catch on”. Or will they?
They already have. The number of electric cars on roads worldwide rose to a record high of 3.1 million in 2017, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The figure, which includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell passenger light-duty vehicles, is a 57% rise compared with 2016. Support from policymakers and the car industry suggests this trend will continue. The IEA estimates there will be 125 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. In the UK, more than 120,000 have already been sold, according to What Car?.
Should you join them?
There are benefits. Electric cars are clean and quiet, have lower running costs, are exempt from congestion charges and are free of road tax (for completely electric cars under £40,000). There are government subsidies to help you past the generally higher asking price; insurance tends to be pricier, but annual servicing cheaper; and, despite their reputation, they are fun to drive. They “ghost along very quietly, and they tend to be very nippy indeed”, as Which? puts it. Today, the best electric cars produce 0-60mph times to rival supercars, and even offer seven-seat variants, says Auto Express. “Times really are changing.”
Isn’t range an issue?
Not as much as it was. Most electric cars can travel for around 150 miles between charges, and the best ones up to 300 miles, although if you do a lot of motorway miles you’ll find that the battery runs down faster than estimated range figures would have you believe. If short urban trips take up most of your driving, however, an electric car should do the job.
Where do I charge it?
If you have a garage or off-street parking, then you can charge up at home. (Which? recommends that you get your domestic electricity circuits and wiring checked by a qualified electrician before starting.) If you don’t have such parking, there are government incentives available to get a charging station set up near your home. Otherwise, you’ll have to rely on the national charging infrastructure, which is still in its infancy and will need to expand if electric car use does. Zap Map and similar websites and apps will guide you to your closest charging points, but there’s no guarantee the one you go to will be working or will be suitable for the particular technology your car uses (Teslas, for example, use a lead incompatible with other chargers); the spot may well be occupied, and charging can take 30 minutes or longer. But if you have an electric car, you’ll soon figure out your own strategies to work round these issues, says Steve Fowler in Auto Express. Just check out all your options locally.
What should I buy?
If you regularly make long journeys and don’t have chargers at both ends, there are other options. Hybrids, for example, charge the battery from a conventional engine and from regenerative breaking technology. PHEVs are hybrids that you can charge by plugging them in and they give you better all-electric range than standard hybrids. It will all ultimately depend on what you need your car for. What Car magazine has a What Fuel? online calculator to help you decide what is best for you. When comparing costs, bear in mind that many manufacturers offer a choice between owning the battery or leasing it, says The Sunday Times. Batteries wear out and are expensive to replace, though the technology is improving all the time. But all in all, it’s hard not to conclude that fully electric cars will in time “dominate the driving landscape”, says Auto Express. Below we look at six of the best fully electric cars you can buy today.
The Renault Zoe is the best-value electric car you can buy, says James Mills in The Sunday Times. The official driving range is 250 miles, which, Renault says with refreshing honesty, in the real world is more like 186 miles in the summer and 124 miles in the winter. Every Zoe comes with the same power train, so you just choose a trim level to suit your preference and budget. What you get is a practical four-seat hatch with a reasonably sized boot and assured road manners. It will make an excellent substitute for a VW Polo or Ford Fiesta if you rarely make long trips.
Find our more information or take a test drive contact any of the team at JJ Burke Car Sales, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo on 094 9541359 or visit their website www.jjburkecarsales.com