Are Electric Cars the Future?
The growth of many things in the tech world can surprise us. What started as a humble idea soon takes control of its target audience and revolutionises the way the consumer interacts with the product. Look back to the first ever airplane, the first computer, the first use of the internet and the first mobile phone. Each one has accelerated to a level its creator never would have anticipated at its inception.
Now, we are in the age of the electric car. From its humble origins in the late 1800s, (yes you read that correctly!) to where we are today, the evolution has been spectacular, if a little laboured initially.
Car giants Ford, Volvo, Lotus, and VW are all changing their business models, with some turning 100% electric within the next 8 years and others switching their output priorities to 70% electric by 2030.
With the UK government also stating that the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned by 2030, the process of turning to greener energy has no doubt sped up. Read on to learn more about the electric car revolution.
What is an electric car?
This may sound like a silly question, but it is honestly not. Many people haven’t yet made the leap from petrol to electric, partly out of cost, partly out of lack of knowledge and partly out of sticking to what they know.
So, for those unsure, an electric car is simply a car just like any other, except the motor is electric and is powered by energy stored in batteries. They operate with fewer emissions than petrol and diesel vehicles, have no exhaust emissions at all and are far quieter. They also tend to be cheaper to maintain and have lower overall costs of ownership compared to regular cars. The majority of them are automatic but some have been manufactured to incorporate manual gearboxes.
How do electric cars work?
Due to them not having an internal combustion engine, electric cars rely on battery power. The battery is recharged via a plug on the car. Typically, these cars can travel 100-200 miles but if other facilities are used within the vehicle this can be reduced somewhat. More premium models can travel further on a single charge. A key feature of electric cars is that they embrace smart energy recovery technology meaning that the battery can top up via braking or travelling downhill.
To charge, you plug into a wallbox that powers at 7kW, which can be a laborious process – many models can take almost 10 hours to fully charge. Luckily though, most electric vehicles can be charged via a rapid charge function that pushes the battery to 80% capacity in just 40minutes.
How many electric cars are there in the UK?
The market for electric cars in the UK is clearly growing and by the end of 2021 18.5% of all new cars registered in the UK could be plugged in. 400,000 electric vehicles are now on the road in the UK with just under a million plug-in hybrids the car of choice for drivers.
Types of electric vehicle
There are 3 types of electric vehicle, and it is the EVs that are likely to become the market leader in the automotive world.
Pure electric vehicle (EV)
Cars powered by a battery, giving you a range of 100-200 miles.
Plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV)
Powered by both electricity and petrol/diesel. These have a smaller battery than the EV and can only cover up to 30miles on a charge. When the battery is drained, the fossil fuel then powers the vehicle until the battery is charged again.
Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)
These electric cars never need to be plugged in and charge under braking. Due to this, it can only drive a few miles from electric before switching to petrol fuel.
How can I charge an electric car?
With the increase in sales, the demand for more charging points is naturally increasing. Stats provided by EDF Energy show that there are now over 42,000 charge point connectors across 15,500 locations in the UK. On balance, that means there are more public places to charge than petrol stations. All new home builds are also set to have an electric car charger as standard.
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
There are three types of charging for electric vehicles. Slow, fast and rapid. The slow charge facility is normally used for charging at home. It can take 8-10 hours to fully charge and operates at 3kW. The fast charge is rated at 7kW of 22kW and can get the car charged within 3-4 hours. You would find these charging points at supermarkets. The rapid charge, as we mentioned earlier, can get a charge into your car within an hour and is normally found at petrol stations, service stations and similar venues. These will only work with cars that have rapid charge compatibility.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
Depending on the battery and type of charge, the costs can vary. A full charge at home, for example, would cost a little over £15, whilst a rapid charge will cost around £6.50
Additional benefits of electric cars
Not only do electric cars have environmental benefits, but they also tend to give a better driving experience. This includes more responsive acceleration, regenerative braking and improved handling thanks to its lower centre of gravity.
Along with this, many electric cars can be parked for free. In Milton Keynes alone there are over 15,000 bays where drivers of electric cars can park for free. To further help bolster the bank balance, not only are you saving on fuel and parking, but the resale value of electric cars also seems to be higher. Something worth considering when the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from 2030.
Whether you drive electric, petrol or diesel, speak to our expert team today to ensure you are fully covered against costly excess fees when hiring a car. No matter if it’s an excess insurance policy for a European break or a worldwide holiday, you can rely on Direct Car Hire Excess to keep your time with a hire car, stress-free.