Should you go electric? We spell out the benefits, the facts and the myths.
The benefits of electric cars are threefold. First, they’re cheaper to run. Second, they’re more environmentally friendly. And last but definitely not least, electric cars give you the potential to be energy independent. But how do they feel to drive? Read on for the detail.
Really low running costs
Electric cars run at a cost of between two to three pence per mile. Depending on the car you select, over a year, you could save around £1,000 in fuel costs. When you think back to what’s happened to forecourt prices, the cost of fossil fuel has been fairly unstable. In contrast, electricity is less tied to a pipeline giving it a much more consistent price point.
If a pure electric car isn’t for you, a hybrid, as the name suggests, combines two energy supplies - electricity and petrol or diesel. If you’re not sure what’s what, check out this article explaining the different types of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).
As with electric vehicles, one of the benefits of hybrid cars is the reduction in your use of fossil fuel. A hybrid uses its battery to improve the distances travelled by the petrol or diesel engine, making it more efficient. Depending how often you charge and how you drive, you could expect to halve your costs compared to using fossil fuels alone.
And there’s more good news on the horizon. As more people buy ULEVs, the costs are coming down. Plus those taking a car via a salary sacrifice or company car scheme get a double helping of cost efficiency due to the new 0% BIK rate for pure electric vehicles from April 2020-2021.
Drivers getting behind the wheel of a brand new hybrid vehicle, particularly those that emit less than 50g/km CO2 with a good electric-only range, will also reap significant BIK rate savings.
Environmental credentials – hybrid vs electric vs fossil fuel
Concern about the way humans are treating the world’s resources has never been greater. Against this background, the benefits of electric cars are clear.
With zero exhaust emissions, you’re not adding CO2 to the atmosphere, nor are you contributing other common air pollutants. This is particularly critical in urban environments where Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) are gradually coming into force to combat air pollution. ULEVs can offer particular advantages compared with petrol or diesel vehicles when driving in a ULEZ.
Despite unfounded reports about the carbon intensity of manufacturing an electric car, they’re a great alternative to petrol or diesel equivalents which are hugely inefficient. 70% of the energy that goes into a fossil-fuelled car engine is wasted. And burned oil cannot be recovered, reused, recycled or made clean.
Electric cars don’t have any of these challenges and their batteries can also be recycled.
If you’re motivated to reduce your personal carbon footprint, the benefits of electric cars are obvious. To reduce your reliance on the national grid and ensure your energy is clean, you can have a solar panel system installed on your roof. By generating your own fuel you’ll be completely independent for the majority of your journeys.
An electric car operates at between 85-90% energy efficiency, so you can drive safe in the knowledge that you’re making the best choice for the future of the planet as well as your finances.
What about the driving experience?
Electric cars offer amazing power, torque and acceleration and they handle well because of their low centre of gravity created by the weight of the battery which sits in the chassis. Instant torque from standing means they’re nippy around town and great fun to drive. And as automatic vehicles they’re easier on long journeys too.
Take a look at these incredible stats:
- The Tesla Roadster does 0-60mph in 2 seconds
- The VW I.D.R. beat the all time record for the Pike’s Peak hillclimb by over 15 seconds
The benefits of electric cars vs hybrid in terms of running costs and environmental impact are plain to see. And you won’t have to skimp on the driving experience either.
Can’t decide whether the benefits of hybrid cars outweigh the benefits of electric cars? Take a look at these articles: