Here in the UK, there are only nine years left to opt for a new petrol or diesel car or van. To many, it makes sense to stay with the familiar.
After all, who doesn’t love the convenience of knowing that a fresh tank of fuel is just around almost every corner. And in the case of company car drivers, this cost is typically covered by the business – so the savings to be made through reduced ‘fuel’ costs may not be a big driver to switch to an electric car, even though the company could save a lot of money by doing so.
As a company car driver who may cover great expanses of the country in one day, interspersed with finely timed meetings, time is of the essence. Is there actually time to stop for 20 minutes for that top up of electrons?
Well, let’s approach this with an open mind and look at some key considerations when driving electric.
Is charging a challenge? According to Zap-Map, as of 20 March, there were more than 39,200 connectors across more than 22,700 devices in 14,500 locations in the UK. That means that there are more charging point locations than there are petrol stations. So in theory, charging in public should not be a problem. We find chargers at supermarkets, leisure attractions, workplaces, hotels and indeed petrol stations. And if you can charge at home overnight, this is by far the most convenient and cheapest way to charge your car, ahead of being out on the road the next day.
It must be acknowledged that charging at motorway service areas has been a sore point for many an electric car driver in recent years. However, the Government is looking at this issue; and with the recent announcement of a partnership between Ecotricity (the company that operates the chargers at motorway service areas) and Gridserve (the new kid on the charging block), improvements are set to be fast and furious. Instavolt is also joining the fray with a new charging hub recently opened on the M6 in the Midlands.
The UK Government is acutely aware of the need to ensure provision of plentiful, reliable and accessible public charging infrastructure. Where there are issues, these are set to be addressed, and it has committed £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll-out of charge points. The future looks bright for the continued mass roll-out of public chargers, fit for the majority of company car drivers of today.
WILL RANGE RAILROAD BUSINESS DRIVERS?
Most newer models of electric car have a real-world average range in excess of 200 miles. At the higher end of the market, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range saloon tops the charts with a whopping 353 miles on a single charge. Its forthcoming Model Y sibling comes a close second with an estimated 326 miles. Watch out for the newcomers as well, with the Lucid Air incoming with an impressive range in excess of 500 miles. Suffice to say, if range is perceived to be an issue today, those perceptions will soon be washed away.
During the past decade, the Government has been providing a raft of fiscal incentives to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK. The recent changes to the Plug-in Car Grant now mean that grants of up to £2500 are available on cars priced at less than £35,000. This signals a change from the previous grant which allowed for a £3000 reduction in the purchase price of a battery electric car. The good news is that Government has committed nearly £500 million in the next four years to develop mass-scale production of EV batteries, which should see EV costs coming down as battery tech and supply improves.
If you’re feeling ‘EV curious’, or if you have any views on EVs that you would like to be heard by the Government or other organisations, then take a look at Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England.
Set up as a non-profit community interest company in summer 2020, EVA England offers a voice and support to electric vehicle drivers in England. its website features information about electric vehicles and charging, there are even more resources available to members, and membership costs just £20 per year.