Is it Time for Electric Cars to Take Over?
Electric Vehicles or EV’s Are Entering The Mainstream
There’s no doubt about it, electric vehicles, or EV’s, are becoming increasingly popular and a more common sight on the roads today. With fuel prices rocketing, ever-present concerns about pollution and various cities being very expensive places to take petrol or diesel vehicles, the move to electric is already in full swing and it’s only a matter of time before we start to include them in our vehicle rental fleet.
While electric cars are no longer the niche purchase they used to be and have come a long way in the past decade or so, they still have a balance of disadvantages to counter the advantages over their fossil-fuelled counterparts.
Time to Top Up ‘The Tank’
One of the major downsides of Electric Vehicles is the time it takes to fill them up when empty. For petrol and diesel cars, a quick five to 10 minute pit stop is all that stands between an empty tank and a full one. For EV’s however, recharging takes much longer. The time it takes to charge depends very much on the capacity of the battery and the speed of the charging point, but even a fast charger such as those found at service stations can take around half an hour to charge an EV battery, but you’ll pay a premium for the speed of the charge. Home chargers allow you to top up your car at domestic electricity prices but typically take several hours.
Fossil fuels are very heavily taxed, so while it’s far faster to fill up your car with them, EV’s are far cheaper to ‘fuel’, so long as you’re able to factor in the wait time.
Going The Distance
Another downside to Electric Vehicles versus those powered by fossil fuels is similarly linked to the battery, the issue of range. Battery technology has come a long way in the last 20 or so years. The same technology which keep our mobile phones going, producing more power from ever smaller cells, is the same technology, once scaled up, which allows modern EV’s to go further and faster than ever before. Unfortunately, this still isn’t all that far, with most modern EV’s capable of between 100 to 300 miles on a single charge.
Having said that, for most people’s needs, this is more than sufficient for day to day use. Most cars spend the majority of their time parked up and very few people commute far enough to make even an EV’s range an issue. Charging points are popping up all over the place, so it’s getting increasingly easy to find somewhere to park up and leave your car charging.
Battery technology is improving rapidly and it’s expected that within the next decade, we’re likely to see EV’s with a range of up to 400 miles on a single charge.
Other Ways Electric Cars Could Cost You Less
Prices for EV’s are coming down, almost to the point of similarly sized traditionally fuelled vehicles, but buying and fuelling cars aren’t the only costs of motoring. Here, EV’s do particularly well compared to their petrol and diesel competitors. EV’s have far fewer moving parts, so maintenance costs are typically lower than vehicles powered by internal combustion. Local and National Government are also quite keen on promoting the use of EV’s due to their perceived environmental credentials and zero emissions. For these reasons, electric vehicles find themselves exempt from many of the taxes and charges which regular vehicles would be subject to and even benefitting from subsidies to encourage their use. For those who live in or around cities, particularly London, EV’s represent a considerable saving compared to similarly sized petrol or diesel vehicles, on these charges alone.
When will Electric Cars Outnumber Non Electric?
Electric cars are still very much in the minority on the UK’s roads, but it’s a large minority and a rapidly growing one. With the government’s recently stated intention to further encourage EV’s and to invest in electric cars and battery technology, we can see a point in the future where fuel burning cars will be outnumbered by battery powered vehicles. It’s still some time off yet though.
At Priory Rentals, we’ll be, as ever, keeping our eye on the latest developments in vehicle technology as we endeavour to provide our lovely customers with the newest and best cars for hire.
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