The electric car has been widely recognised for helping car uses embrace ‘green technology’. Whether you’re interested in the latest gizmos or not, saving the environment or even saving money on petrol may be tempting. It may be a worthwhile investment, but what do you need to know before you book that test drive?
What kinds of electric car are there?
Example: Toyota Prius.
Engine efficiency is boosted by the battery and the battery is charged internally. Very similar to a standard car as you only need to fill up on petrol.
The Plug-in Hybrid
Example: Chevrolet Volt.
Powered by both petrol and electricity, this car will run on batteries alone for short trips but will resort to petrol on longer journeys. Both petrol and electricity will need to be topped up.
Example: Nissan Leaf
These run exclusively on electricity and will need to be regularly charged. The range is approximately 80-100 miles before the battery runs out.
How long do they take to recharge?
Standard electric socket: 6-8 hours
Specialised unit: 3-4 hours.
What are they like to drive?
They are rather like driving an automatic as they do not have a clutch. Most electric cars will have good rates of acceleration but they may have a limited top speed. Some city cars will reach just 40-50 mph, while most other models have an upper limit of 60-70 mph.
Are they cheaper?
Electricity is significantly cheaper than petrol at just 2p a mile. Electric cars are also exempt from car tax and congestion charges.
Are they environmentally friendly?
An electric car will emit much less Co2 than a standard car. However, while the majority of our electricity is being generated from fossil fuels, the overall drop in emissions may be only 20%. As well environmentally friendly they’re also more appealing to women according to a survey by motors.co.uk
While the electric car may not be the most practical choice for everyone, it is a large and growing influence on the motoring industry.
The electric car is more expensive to buy that a normal car and, although there are incentive schemes available from the government, there is also the recharging unit to consider.
A standard unit may cost £250-£1000, while a more sophisticated one may be as much as £5000 and £20,000.
Although electric cars tend to need less maintenance, the lifespan for the battery is just 7-10 years with replacement costs between £7,000 and £10,000. The short lifespan of the battery also means that these cars depreciate rapidly in value.
Make sure the electric car you are buying has had all the proper checks and has the paperwork to back it up. Electric cars are a brilliant way for motorists to stay green and help the planet.