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Are Electric Cars a Feasible Alternative?

Are Electric Cars a Feasible Alternative?

Are Electric Cars a Feasible Alternative?

We know that petrol and diesel are finite resources, and while they might not run out in our lifetime, increasing concern about the cost of fossil fuels and what they are doing to our planet have sparked an interest in alternative fuels.

Electric cars have been hailed as the viable alternative to diesel and petrol, but how viable are they really? Advances in car manufacturing and battery technologies have certainly made them more viable, and the government offers incentives to people who switch to electric cars, but will any of this convince enough people to get on board with the idea?

The pros and cons of electric cars

First the bad news...

You’ll only be able to travel a certain distance on a full charge

Most electric cars can last 150 miles before they run out of power, but this is the best-case scenario. Many factors can affect how long the power will last, including the temperature and how you drive. A diesel car can last for hundreds of miles before the tank needs filling.

There aren’t enough charging points

The charging network is getting better, but it still isn’t good enough to guarantee that you won’t end up stranded somewhere unless you plan ahead.

Electric cars generally take a long time to charge up too, though for a fee, you can get a fast charging system for your home, where you can charge your car overnight.

They are pricey

The government offers a £5000 grant to anyone wanting to own an electric car currently. However, for most people, electric cars are prohibitively expensive. A Nissan Leaf and ownership of the battery will cost you an eye-watering £21,490, and that is with the grant included! An electric car will take a considerable amount of time to pay for itself.

You can either choose to buy or rent the battery. Renting a battery costs around £70 per month, though this increases if you drive a high number of miles. Renting the battery does have its benefits. If anything goes wrong, the manufacturer swaps it for no extra cost, whereas if you own the battery and something goes wrong with it, it can cost thousands to replace.

But it’s not all doom and gloom...

You save on fuel

Rather than paying per litre for fuel, your car only needs electricity, so depending on your electricity costs, it can cost as little as £2 to fully charge your car.

There are no emissions

Zero emissions mean that you’re exempt from vehicle excise duty and if you live in London, the £10 per day congestion charge.

Electric cars are simple to repair

Electric motors are simple, and there’s no need to replace an exhaust or clutch, because there isn’t one. Services will usually be quicker, as there are just less parts.

Electric cars on the market

Apart from the best-known Nissan Leaf, there are several other electric cars on the market. Here are just some of them:

VW e-Up

This is an electric version of the VW e-Up supermini. It costs from £19,270 and one charge lasts around 93 miles.

Ford Focus Electric

It’s a practical car, which provides a smooth drive, however, it will set you back almost £29,000, which is very pricey for a car that will only reach 100 miles before it needs a charge.

Renault Zoe

This is a more moderately-priced option, at £13,995, but you will need to pay around £70 per month to lease the battery.

How can you charge an electric car?

You can charge your car at home, though this can take a long time unless you have a fast charger, which you can often get from the manufacturer. A fast charger can give you an 80% charge in under 30 minutes.

Ecotricity, offers its Electric Highway located on motorways to anyone for free. All you have to do is swipe a card, which you can get and register online for free, then you have access to their charging points.

In London, if you pay £10 per year, you can charge your car at hundreds of charging points across the city. You may find as the cars get more popular, that you’re waiting on fellow drivers to finish charging their car, as you can’t book the charging points.

Are they worth it?

The vision for electric cars was that they would bring a sustainable and affordable transport option for people who are concerned about rising fuel and insurance costs, not to mention pollution. But there is still a lot to do.

The thing we should remember is that the more electric cars people buy, the more manufacturers will strive to improve them and the more affordable they will be in the long run.

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