2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 AWD Front.jpgThe Jaguar I-Pace (RRP from £62,925) is a battery-electric SUV car produced by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Available from second half of 2018

What is an Electric Vehicle (EV)?

An EV is a plug-in electric car that is propelled by electric motors, one or more, utilizing power saved in rechargeable batteries.

The renaissance in the motor industry from 2008, particularly the production of EVs, happened because of the advances in battery technologies. Major concerns of high oil prices, that peaked at $147 a barrel in July ’08, and high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the general use of coal, natural gas and oil may well have been the trigger. 

Many countries now have incentives and subsidies to create awareness and the adoption of EVs depending on the degree of electricity used {Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)},  battery size, and purchase price.

The maximum tax credit subsidy allowed by the UK Government is GB £4,500 per car. The variable plug-in car grant depends on the car category out of the 7 categories. Car manufacturers and auto dealerships can get grants to reduce the price car enthusiasts may pay for brand new electric and hybrid vehicles. The grant will pay for 35% of the purchase price for these vehicles, up to a maximum of £4,500.

As of November, 2017 the global cumulative sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars reached a milestone of 3 million. Nissan Leaf sold the most globally with over 300,000 units sold by January 2018. Tesla Model S ranked second with almost 213,000 units sold worldwide between June 2012 and December 2017.

Advantages of an EV

Zero Emissions

A zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV), refers to a vehicle that does not have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and therefore does not emit exhaust gas from the tailpipe. Instead, it uses a rechargeable battery that stores chemical energy. The electrical energy is stored as chemical energy and then converted into electricity. Electric cars are far more eco-friendly than petrol or diesel cars. The Nissan Leaf produces no greenhouse gas emissions or tailpipe pollution when in operation, and it contributes to the reduced dependence on petroleum.

Cost Effective

Technological advancement means the cost and maintenance of electric cars will continue to be cheaper than cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE). Government grant initiatives, tax incentives, subsidies and the mass production of batteries have further brought down the cost, thus, making EV much more affordable and cost effective.

To fully charge an EV at home, it is estimated to cost less than the price of a coffee for a  week, which is significantly cheaper than the cost of filling a car with petrol, assuming to cover a similar mileage. Of course, the cost will vary depending on where and how you charge the car, just like filling a diesel or petrol car at different stations.

If electricity costs £0.11 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), charging an all-electric vehicle with a 30 kWh battery will cost about £3.30 (11p x 30kWh) to charge a full battery.

A petrol car with a 40 litre tank and petrol is £1.09 per litre, the cost to fill the car is £43.60 (40 x 1.09). With an electric vehicle the tank size is now a measurement of capacity, representing how many kWh of energy it can store. The larger the capacity the bigger the tank. The largest battery size currently available is the Tesla model s 100d – the 100 representing amount of kWhs it can store.

A charging Tesla Model S (RRP from £71,600.4) produced by Tesla, Inc., and introduced to market on June 22, 2012

Low Maintenance

Electric cars run on electrically powered engines and hence there is no need to lubricate the engines. The day-to-day running costs are much lower than they are for a petrol or diesel model car.  The maintenance and running cost of electric cars continue to come down while  petrol powered cars still have high maintenance costs. It is convenient for an EV to be charged overnight at home at a lower unit rate than you would during the day.

Electricity is an ubiquitous and affordable  household utility that has a hugh cost advantage, petroleum does not. As technology improves so does the efficiency of the electric car while internal combustion vehicles continue to contribute to GHG emissions.  The cost per mile to charge the battery of an EV is approximately 25 – 30 % the cost of petrol as shown above. Similarly, maintenance costs associated to EV is drastically reduced in comparison to petrol or diesel cars.

Home Recharge

You never have to use the petrol station, just park and plug at home instead.  At your convenience you can charge the car for 30 minutes or longer. The  charging time would depend on the the speed of the charging point and the size of the battery. An electric car like the 2018 Nissan LEAF 40kWh could take 16 hours to charge (assuming a 3kW charge point at home or half the time on 6kw) an empty battery, after which it could do up to 150 miles on the single charge. Charging may be difficult if you living in a flat, however, access to charging facilities is improving regularly.

Quiet, Quick and Comfort

It only takes one ride in an EV to understand the improved ride quality of a battery powered car compared to a vehicle using an internal combustion engine (ICE) powered by petroleum. An electric car is drives smoothly and is very quiet. It makes most regular cars seem clunky and outdated.

As an electric motor only makes a faint whirring noise, cabin comfort is a major EV forte. You only really have to contend with tyre, road and  wind noise on the move, and if you’re around town all three of these will be pretty minimal. In fact, EVs are so quiet that some makers are fitting sound generators to ensure pedestrians and other road users are aware of their presence when driving.

Nissan Leaf ZE1 Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery 2017-08 1.jpg
The Nissan Leaf (RRP £27,235) is manufactured by Nissan. Introduced in December 2010.