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Electric Cars – is now the time to buy one?

With rising prices for fossil fuels, electric cars’ running costs suddenly seem increasingly attractive, especially if you regularly do a high mileage. On the up side, electric cars can be cheap to run and to maintain and they have no direct emissions of carbon dioxide. In these respects they are economical and good for the planet. By the year 2030 they’re due to be the only option for buying a new car. On the downside they are currently expensive to buy, even with the UK Government’s incentives. Also people still have concerns about the distance you can travel on a single charge.

New electric cars are currently some £5k to £10k more expensive than internal combustion ones. The maximum ranges of modern electric vehicles are around 200 to 300 or more miles. The battery packs are heavy so brakes and tyres are different. Regenerative braking saves some energy by feeding electrical charge into the batteries as the car decelerates. On-road performance can be better than fossil fuelled cars in terms of smoothness, acceleration, noise levels and better cornering due to the lower centre of gravity. Recharging the batteries is getting quicker and cheaper. From a fast charger at home, it’s possible to use only renewable energy on a low-cost overnight tariff.

Finding charging points on long-distance journeys has been a problem, yet the situation is rapidly improving. There are in-car sat navs and mobile apps that will direct you to the nearest available charging point. There are already tens of thousands of public chargers in the UK, with thousands more being added each year, yet it’s still prudent to plan for comfort stops combined with fast charging along the way. Since most driving trips are within a 100 mile range, it’s not easy to run out of battery energy. Even if you did so, the car keeps some charge in reserve to take you to the nearest charging point.

An all-electric vehicle’s drive batteries and motors are essentially maintenance-free in comparison to an intern- al combustion engine with its fuel supply and exhaust systems. When your car is up for replacement, please consider an all-electric vehicle, preferably second-hand. Mean- while you could try one out and ask current owners about their practical experiences.

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