Update - An announcement was made on 26 July 2017 that new petrol and diesel cars could be banned in the UK from 2040, favouring electric cars as part of the UK government's clean air strategy.
1. Most people can’t afford the price of electric cars
All new inventions like radios, televisions, computers, mobile phones etc. were available only to those with enough disposable income when first launched. However as technology advanced and awareness rose, prices fell dramatically.
Often the best electric cars could be enjoyed only by a high-end market. The first luxury electric cars for sale could tip the £100,000 mark; in contrast, the cost of a new 100% Electric Nissan Leaf in 2017 is only marginally more expensive than a compact petrol or diesel car.
As the cost of electric technology falls and the price of oil fluctuates, electric cars could be the most affordable, future-proof option especially while prices at the pumps remain high. The price of EVs and plug-in hybrid electric cars (PHEVs) can be higher than similar sized petrol and diesel cars because of the electric car battery cost. However recent reports suggest that car battery prices are falling fast, with Global Trends in Renewable Energy calling this price drop “spectacular”
There are many benefits gained during usage of an electric car which help justify the upfront price. As a rule, owning a vehicle for more than 6 years and drive 5,000 miles or more per year means an electric car could save you money over its lifetime. Regular use of an EV will reap rewards even faster.
2. You can’t get far on the power supply
Guernsey is the perfect setting for EVs. A single supply from an electric car charging station can get you anywhere on the island and could last several days.
Running out of power quickly and getting stranded was one of the main hesitations about electric transportation after test runs in the US embedded that fear.
The average islander’s annual mileage is around 5,000-8,000 miles, leaving much to spare from the 100-mile range of a standard electric car battery.
If you regularly use your car for your job, or planning a holiday and expect to drive long distances the answer could be a plug-in hybrid electric car. In full electric mode PHEVs drive up to 30 miles, with a backup petrol or diesel engine up to 500+ miles. Many new pure-electric vehicles due for release this year have an expected range of 200 miles.
If high performance is a must, the Tesla Model S (voted 2016’s car of the year) can reach 60mph in 2.3 seconds.
3. Charging will significantly increase bills
Fuel savings, reduced maintenance and charging overnight on low rate electricity means an electric car will cost you much less long term.
Consider how much you spend at the petrol station each month. Fuel costs for an average petrol or diesel vehicle are around £750-£1,200 per year. A conversion to an electric car will cost you between £150-£240 per year*.
*based on a Ford Focus vs Ford Focus EV at £1.15 per litre and overnight charging on Super Economy 12 Tariff
Electricity prices are not as volatile and vulnerable to external circumstances as oil, with around 30% of Guernsey’s imported power coming from renewable hydroelectric and nuclear sources.
How can an EV give you the best return on your investment?
- A possible 40% reduction in maintenance costs thanks to fewer moving parts – no gearbox, drive train or internal combustion engine
- An electric charging station can be connected to your economy rate tariff
- Generous battery warranties that cover up to 100,000 miles (or 8 years of use depending which occurs first)
- Efficiency pay-off; you can’t reduce petrol or diesel unless you drive less or buy a more efficient vehicle. Using effective energy saving ideas in your home, it is possible to significantly lower your fuel bill.
- Enjoy a better driving experience, less noise and no exhaust emissions.
4. They’re not actually that environmentally friendly
The manufacture of batteries is often behind the claims electric vehicles are not environmentally friendly. Rigorous carbon footprint assessments by The Union of Concerned Scientists found the battery added one metric ton of CO2 to the total manufacturing emissions, however compared to emissions produced by burning fossil fuels to move cars these results were found to be trivial. The electricity generated from coal was also considered, resulting in an overall reduction of 53%.
Batteries can also be recycled, saving at least 70% on CO2 emissions at the recovery and refining of valuable metals. Find out more about lithium ion batteries.
Less money is wasted through heat and noise as electric car motors are up to 85% efficient compared to petrol cars at only 25%.
Around 75% of Guernsey’s electricity gets imported from low carbon or hydroelectric sources, meaning electric cars are eight times more environmentally friendly when measuring well-to-wheel emissions a vehicle’s efficiency from manufacture.
Powering with electricity means drastically reducing your vehicle’s impact on global warming compared to petrol or diesel cars. Even if all Guernsey’s electricity was generated from fossil fuels, it would still take less energy to extract, transport, convert, transmit and power an electric car.
Electric transport is set to be even more environmentally friendly in the future with plans to increase renewable electricity importations to 100% of the island’s demand. EVs help reduce greenhouse gas (CO2) in the atmosphere, emit very little heat and cut down noise pollution particularly in built up areas.
5. They’re dangerous because nobody can hear them
All hybrid and electric cars will need to make an audible noise when travelling in reverse or forward speeds of up to 19mph following a quiet car safety law, with wind and tire noise creating an audible warning at higher speeds.
EV manufacturers have until 1st September 2019 to equip all new electric transportation with sounds that meet the national safety law, with half of all new vehicles to comply one year before the final deadline. Many vehicles such as the Toyota Prius already use sound beacons.