The decision to buy an electric car, or not, is somewhat a personal choice. Whether you feel that you’d like to do ‘your bit’ for the environment or if you are just fed up with petrol and diesel price volatility, many drivers, and companies alike, have, or are, considering taking the decision to go electric.
But there’s still so much ambiguity around electric cars (EVs). Where can you charge them? Are all charging points the same, and how long does a charge take?
The obvious starting point here is basecamp, or home. If electric car owners apply the same laws of logic to their mode of transport as they do to say their smartphone, and place their car on charge each evening/overnight, their vehicle should be pretty much ‘full’ for the journey to work the next morning. But chargers can come in different shapes and sizes, particularly in regard to the rate of charge. For example, some roadside charging points can charge at speeds several times that of your home EV charger, which itself should be several times that of a normal ‘3 pin plug socket’ that historically, we’d have typically used to trickle charge our legacy fossil fuel-based vehicle batteries.
The range of electric vehicles ranges from car to car and manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s widely accepted that batteries for electric vehicles are still pretty much in their infancy and will reduce in size in years to come as well as holding more power and thus, ultimately, giving a wider distance ‘range’. But roadside charging points do act as useful ‘top up’ opportunities, which whilst not necessarily intending to charge an EV back up to 100%, are intended to bring levels to around 3 quarters of a charge for less than an hour plugged in (typically, on a rapid charge).
Useful resources exist both as websites and app, to help locate charging points along one’s journey. Waze, for example is an excellent and highly useful app for guidance and traffic avoidance anyway, but can also be used to find EV charging points near you, or along a journey. Zap Maps too (https://www.zap-map.com/live/) is an excellent resource for EV owners, not just offering a full UK wide map and information on charging stations, but a useful app and guides and route planners too.
Of course, they’ll never be persuading of many ‘die-hard’ petrol heads to convert to an EV and herein lies a possible compromise; a hybrid vehicle. ‘Hybrids’ rely on traditional petrol or diesel driven engines, coupled with an electric motor. It’s not an EV as such, but does help reduce carbon emissions and offering economic value on some daily commutes.
As we head ever closer to government self-imposed climate targets and the eradication of new built fossil fuel-based cars altogether, there is still debate as to whether EV’s are the silver bullet of eco-friendly cars. Afterall, where does the energy come from to power the electric charge in the first place? Mention is sometimes made to hydrogen-based vehicle technology and even solar powered. We couldn’t have predicted the current market for EV’s 20 years ago and so we eagerly await what evolution car manufacturers will deploy to make cars as energy efficient and non-polluting as they can be in the future.