Almost 38,000 plug-in electric or hybrid cars were sold in the UK last year. The government has said that by 2040 we should all be driving electric vehicles (EVs). Prof Jim Saker at Loughborough University confirmed that “everyone in the motor industry has been talking about this for years”, so I thought it was time to have a look at them.
EVs can be charged up in different ways. Barrow resident, Dan Goulding, showed me his Mitsubishi Hybrid which has two charging points fuelling a battery running the length of the car (as well as a traditional petrol tank). Dan can choose to plug the car into a normal home socket and leave it overnight (when electricity is cheaper) but he has also had a charging point installed. This charges the battery more quickly if he is in a hurry. He received a government grant of £500 and then paid installation costs but it very quickly paid for itself since charging electrically is much cheaper than buying petrol.
Tina Fisher-Silk, daughter of one of the narrow boat owners at Pilling’s Lock, has a Nissan Leaf Tekna … and a helpful blog with videos which can be found at: https://planetsavingnovice.com She uses her car to drive the relatively short distance to work and back and generally plugs her car into a normal socket overnight. Some interesting EV facts gleaned from Dan and Tina:
- EVs have automatic transmission so make driving easier for people who struggle with gears and clutch use
- EVs are keyless – so no more losing, or forgetting, where you put your keys
- EV batteries can take temperatures between -17 and +49℃
- EVs can go through drive-thru car washes
- EV charging cables can’t be stolen when you have them plugged in and charging because they are automatically locked into place when you lock your car door
- EVs have a climate control function which means that when it is charging overnight you can set the temperature for ‘warm car ready’ for you first thing on a cold winter morning (Tina’s favourite feature!)
Both Dan and Tina agree that it’s worth spending time researching the right kind of EV for your personal needs. Engineers are making batteries ever smaller, lighter and longer lasting. It makes environmental sense – especially if you use a renewable energy source.