You’re sitting in traffic, doing the typical drive home after a stressful day in the office. It’s a wonderfully British evening; cold, damp and gridlocked with people doing the same drive as you. The main difference is your car is electric and time is ticking on your battery power.
Your headlights are on, you've got the heating blazing out of the air conditioning and you’re constantly stopping and starting to crawl along the busy road – you’re going to run out of power, great.
There are many misconceptions and problems with electric cars, but we often hear the same arguments over and over again – here are the top four misconceptions and problems with electrics cars in 2013.
1) Not Enough Range:
This tops the polls as the single biggest worry that we receive from clients, and it’s a valid concern that we understand. We’re going to look at the best-selling electric car on the market to date, the Nissan Leaf. Many tests have been conducted with this vehicle to determine its true range and reports have come back in their hundreds.
|Nissan Leaf Dashboard|
The tests revealed that the Nissan Leaf is capable, on average, at producing 73miles before needing to be recharged, that drops into the 50’s if you constantly have to stop and start due to traffic. To put this into perspective, that’s about the distance to get from London to Brighton…not the greatest start if you’re a frequent motorway driver.
Range of the electric car is a problem and it’s something that we cannot try and sweep under the carpet. The only saving grace for this conundrum is that, due to newer technologies, this is only going to be improving.
Take for example, Volkswagen new and confirmed for production venture – the XL1. The company are stating the XL1 will manage over 300mpg (combined equivalent, of course).
Naturally, vehicles like the XL1 are a long way off and won’t be readily available to the mass market. However, it is clear to see that many manufacturers are at least trying to improve on the electric car and develop a vehicle which is viable for the long journeys.
2) The Price
It may come as a surprise to some that the electric car does not come with a light price tag. In fact, a large majority of fully-electric, viable alternatives to traditional fuels and family friendly vehicles sit between £20,000 and £40,000.
Take for example, the fourth most popular electric vehicle, the Peugeot iOn. The taxable p11d price for this vehicle is £26,161. You’d expect some decent gadgets for this price, but you’d be wrong. Unfortunately the iOn isn’t rammed full of goodies, with the basic specification giving you just Bluetooth and Climate Control.
If you’ve got deep pockets, you can of course fork out for the more luxurious models, such as the Fisker Karma or Tesla Model S – but we’re talking big money here.
Once again, we believe this is going to be a waiting game before electric cars are in the price range for a majority of buyers. They costs a lot because they are not cheap to manufacturer, again this is due to the newness of technologies used – but as these technologies become more refined – the price should go down.
3) Design and Style
For some very strange reason, car manufacturers seem inept in designing a good-looking, or at very least ‘normal-looking’ electric car. Perhaps the volts have gone to their heads.
In all seriousness, a majority (but not all) of electric cars are not the best looking vehicles in the world. Whilst we appreciate that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – often the consensus agree!
Perhaps the excitement of developing a car for the future often leads designers down the route that the car also needs to look like something from Back to the Future.
There are nice looking EV’s out there, such as the Vauxhall Ampera and there are ‘normal’ looking ones too, such as the Renault Fluence. However, many have just been designed to look futuristic for the sake of it – and it’s doing the market no favours.
4) Charging Times and Stations
The advertised advantage of Electric Vehicles is that you’re going to save a pretty penny on ever-rising (and they will keep rising) petrol/diesel prices. That’s all well and good, but we often hear of people worrying about charging times and how to charge them
|A typical charging point|
There are 3 types of charging points currently used in the UK; these are slow points, fast points and rapid points. Break these down into ‘how long’ they are:
Slow – utilising a standard 13-amp supply, this takes 6-8 hours for a full charge.
Fast – utilising either a single or three-phase 32 amp supply, 3-4 hours for a full charge.
Rapid – provides a quick, direct current supply and typically takes 30 minutes for a 80% charge.
There are growing numbers of rapid charging points currently sprouting up all over the UK, in particular major cities where it is believed where electric cars will be more popular. This means that, when there are enough of these rapid points – charging worries won’t be so much of a problem.
5) Why on earth should you buy one?
It’s true, the electric car isn’t yet developed enough for everyone to consider buying or leasing one. However, some will find it fits their lifestyle perfectly.
Those of you are town-drivers/inner-city drivers will have no problems with electric cars, charging points in major cities and now even smaller ones are frequent and easy to use. New technology now means that ‘rapid-charging,’ which means your EV can go from 0% to 80% in 30 minutes means it’s viable for some.
The electric car is, at the current time – a town driver’s car only. Many experts are forecasting that with changing technology and developments in the EV market, the electric car will be ready to roll out to the masses in ten years.
Don’t be put off by this article, electric vehicles will soon become a viable option for the masses – it’s just going to take a bit more learning, a squeeze of investment and a big handful of passion.
For more information cars, electric or otherwise - visit the Alternative Route Finance website!