Electric Cars – Where we are now?
UK is third largest buyer of electric cars in Europe
The UK is the third-biggest owner of electric cars in Europe, with around 90,000 now on British roads.
Electric cars produce no exhaust emissions as they use electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Plug-in hybrid electric cars use both electric power and a conventional engine, producing low emissions and maximise fuel economy.
Electric cars are cheap to run and perfect for short journeys like the school run or a local commute. As they become more in demand we will start to see more charging bays popping up all over the UK meaning you will be able to travel a lot further. Electric cars also give you the advantage of being able to avoid paying London’s congestion charge or road tax.
The call for a reduction in pollution and improvements in air quality has heightened competition between car manufacturers. This has seen more choice of low and zero emission vehicles available for environment conscious motorists.
The UK and Europe’s most popular alternative fuel car last year was Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid, the Outlander. This is despite the Outlander’s all-electric range being just 32.5 miles before having to switch to unleaded power.
The all-electric Renault Zoe is the second best-selling electric car, followed by the electric Nissan Leaf and the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid.
Electric cars battery life
One of the big things holding back the electric car market is the concern over battery life. They generally cover only about 150 miles between charges, and it takes a long time to recharge the battery. So if you regularly drive long distances, they may not be a practical choice. But manufacturers say they are working on improving this and some luxury electric cars can run for around twice as long on just a single charge.
There are also large areas of the UK without charging points. So unless you are lucky enough to pass one on your commute, you could end up rather stuck.
The future of electric cars
The future does look bright for the electric car market with new plug-in cars expected to launch in the next couple of years.
The Government is also investing £35 million to encourage more motorists to buy alternative-fuel cars. This also includes new charge points across the UK, particularly by workplaces. The Government’s Plug-in Car Grant has also been guaranteed until 2018, making an electric car a viable option for a large number of motorists.
Although the idea of fuel free cars might be an attractive one, it does seem that there is still some way to go before they are sold as widely as non-electric cars. However, as the research develops, ranges are improving, along with charging times and affordability.