An Introduction To Electric Vehicles28th October 2019
The Rise Of Electric Vehicles On U.K. Roads Has Seen A ‘Stealth Takeover’ As These Silent Zero-Emission Cars Become Familiar Sightings!
I cannot think of a day in the past 12 months, that I have not seen an electric vehicle (EV) on a road in the U.K. In fact, it is usually multiple sightings a day. The sight of a zero-emission all-electric car, whether a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla Model 3, never fails to lift my spirits. Its feel like falling in love, multiple times a day.
I imagine consumers reading this EV blog on an ‘energy saving products platform’ will not be surprised to read an article on electric road transportation. After all, energy saving products and EVs have much in common, but most importantly, both, have a positive impact on the environment! It certainly will be the case, that consumers using energy saving products at home are already owners of electric vehicles. It is, but a natural extension of their lifestyle!
If you are like me and most people I have met, then you are as utterly confused with the jargon related to EVs. Below are some basic explanations on EVs. For a more detailed list of jargons, please follow this link to the e-zoomed jargon busting article.
Ultra-low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs)
Any vehicle that is capable of reducing pollution to below 75g of CO2/km and capable of a zero-emission range of at least 10 miles, is a ULEV. Yes, all EVs are ULEVs!
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
Any EV that runs only on a rechargeable EV battery is a BEV i.e. a BEV will not have any other type of power source, like an internal combustion engine (ICE). Still confused, then walk to the back of the vehicle. If you do not see a tailpipe, then rest assured it is a BEV, as BEVs have do not emit pollutants. BEVs are sometime referred to as ‘pure electric cars’ and ‘all-electric cars’.
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs)
It is another type of an EV, except it has dual fuel sources i.e. a rechargeable EV battery and an internal combustion engine (ICE). Yes, you do both, recharge the battery from an external source and go to a traditional fuel station to fill the tank. What fun!
So, Which Is Better? A BEV Or PHEV?
I always encourage households to migrate from polluting petrol and diesel cars to a BEV i.e. all-electric road transportation. The top 3 reasons to buy a BEV over a PHEV are:
- The latest BEVs have excellent zero-emission range and can meet the needs of most families to include travelling for work, family needs and weekend trips
- You can take advantage of the U.K. government plug-in car grant (PiCG) of up to £3,500 for a BEV. PHEVs are not approved for a government incentive.
- BEVs are zero-emission driving i.e. do not pollute the local air you and the family are breathing!
Range anxiety is certainly the most discussed concern among aspiring and current electric car owners. It is a valid concern, but it has been exaggerated.
Most drivers in the UK do not travel several hundred miles a day. In fact, the average commute in the UK is a mere 12 miles.
Let me put this in perspective. The most common daily trips are usually a short school run, a work commute and an evening visit to the local grocery store or restaurant. Now, unless your local grocery store, pub, gym or school is 300 miles away, rest assured you will get to your local destination and back without a worry! So bottom-line , most EVs will easily meet the demands of everyday commutes, to include leisure and work.
Most EVs have a range of between 100 to 200 miles on a single charge. In some case, even more. Yes, there is a difference between manufacturer quoted range and ‘real world range’, but even then, commuting for work and leisure is easy in an EV.
Closely related to range anxiety, is the concern over charging, in particular, public charging points. It is true that there is much room to increase available public charging infrastructure in the UK, but let me put this in context.
As of June 2019, there are 23,649 connectors and 13,908 devices across 8,712 locations in the UK. Last month, EV charging points in the UK surpassed the number of petrol stations.
According to the UK government, Go Ultra Low campaign, up to 90% of electric cars are charged at home.
If you live away from a big city and have access to private parking, then in all probability, charging your EV at home will be relatively straightforward. Moreover, you can take advantage of the government subsidy for home charging i.e. the OLEV grant scheme.
Top Reasons To Buy An Electric Car!
- Cheaper to run
- Cheaper to maintain and service (fewer moving parts)
- Low to zero tailpipe C02 emissions (yes, the planet matters)
- Low to zero road tax
- Government PiCG incentive (take advantage before it is removed)
- New models with longer ranges (lower range anxiety and more confidence)
- Recharging an EV battery is far cheaper than filling a full tank of fuel
Ashvin is the founder of e-zoomed, a leading electric vehicle platform and a partner of Energenie. Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Prior to that he was an investment banker with JPMorgan. He was awarded an MBA from the London Business School in 1998.