by means ofJen Laming
Posted04 July 2022
In 2021, around 12%of the new cars registered in the UK were a full battery electric car. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to hundreds of thousands more electric vehicles (EVs) hitting the road. With petrol and diesel cars in the making phased out by 2030is only expected to accelerate the transition to EVs.
From the model you want to get to to where, when and how to charge, there’s a lot to think about before buying an EV. So if you’re considering going electric on your next car, here are some frequently asked questions to help with your research.
How does the lifetime carbon emissions compare to petrol and diesel cars?
Good news – research by universities in Exeter, Cambridge and Nijmegen has shown that in the UK the CO2 emissions of an electric car over its lifetime 30% lower than for petrol and diesel cars. This rises to 70% in countries such as Sweden, where a higher proportion of electricity is generated from renewable sources.
How do operating costs compare?
Take into account the reduced need for expensive maintenance and the lower cost of electricity compared to petrol or diesel, and it’s almost certainly cheaper to run an EV. Here are some of the financial benefits and incentives that can help make an EV more affordable:
- Grants: The Awarding EV charging points provides funding for up to 75% of the cost of installing an EV charger for people living in condominiums or rental properties.
- Tax Benefits: EVs are exempt from motor vehicle tax. And if you choose one as a company car, you don’t pay any benefit tax.
- To upload: Most modern EVs can travel about 250 miles on a single charge, and it costs as little as £5 per load if you charge at home, depending on your electricity rate. Speaking of the cost of driving, if you regularly drive in city centers, it’s good to know that electric vehicles are exempt from most congestion charges.
Which model of electric car do you want?
From hatchbacks to SUVs, the choice of EVs available is growing year after year. Go to Next green car for reliable reviews of the latest EVs on the market, or check out the Fully charged Show for more inspiration.
Can you install a purpose-built charger at home?
While you can plug an EV into a standard wall outlet, it takes much longer to boot compared to installing a purpose-built wallbox charger. These are installed in a garage or on an outside wall of your property, so are best suited to properties with on-site parking.
This is not to say that people without access to off-street parking cannot access EV chargers. The government has the Regulation for charging points on the streetproviding grants to local authorities to improve street charging facilities.
How is the coverage of public charging points where you live?
If you can’t install a wallbox charger where you live (for example, if you live in a condo or house with no designated parking space), it’s a good idea to check what public charging coverage looks like. We are a majority investor in EV charging app, Zap cardwith which you can search for available charging points.
Also keep in mind that charging times at public charging stations can vary widely. Fast chargers can be fully charged in just 20 minutes. Ultra-fast chargers that cut this time even further are being rolled out more widely, but it’s worth noting that some networks are limited to certain EV models. An example of this is the Tesla Supercharging network.
Is your electricity rate geared to electric car drivers?
Charging your EV at home will increase your electricity consumption. Good Energy does not currently have an EV rate in the market, but we hope this will change in the near future. We are also exploring the development of innovative uptimes to further reduce costs.
If your home has solar panels or other forms of renewable generation, you can charge your EV with clean, renewable energy, making it even greener.
Other environmental questions to consider
Do you need your own car?
While replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with electric vehicles will reduce CO2 emissions associated with transportation, research commissioned by Friends of the Earth states that this will not completely solve the problem. There should also be a reduction in the number of vehicles on the road.
If you live in a city, short-term rental services such as Zipcar and CoCars now include EV models, which can assist when traveling by bicycle or public transport. While it’s more difficult not to own a car in rural or less well-connected regions, improving access to safe cycling and walking routes and affordable public transport is something you can discuss with your local council or MP.
How does the manufacturer protect the planet and people throughout the supply chain?
Like fashion and smartphones, the production of electric vehicles is not without environmental or human costs. EV batteries require rare earths and minerals that are mined in over-exploited countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Battery manufacturers are currently developing batteries that require less of these resources – and recycle battery Regulations are also being introduced in Europe.
In the meantime, consider examining whether the manufacturers of the cars you are interested in have policies in place to reduce environmental impact and protect the rights and well-being of employees, and how strictly they adhere to these policies. Ethical consumer is a good place to start for this.
And just like with clothes and smartphones, buying a second-hand EV can be not only more economical, but also more ethical.
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