Since the dieselgate scandal of 2015, the government has reviewed its stance on diesel and has pushed towards electric cars, creating grants and incentivising both motorists and manufacturers through grants, low tax and recognition from the government.
Grants available for electric vehicles include a plug-in grant and money off the initial cost of the car. Electric cars also never have to pay road tax unless they are worth over £40,000 pounds. Due to their zero emissions status, which is something the government are trying to push, electric vehicles are given a number of priorities and can also be driven in some cities where internal combustion engines (ICE) cannot, such as Oxford.
How does an electric car work?
Electric cars are most commonly run on lithium batteries that are suspended below the seats in most circumstances, although some are situated in the same place as ICE engines. Due to the size of the battery, it makes more sense to spread the weight over the base of the car rather than place a huge weight at the front.
The power from an electric car is generated by battery power, and thus it must be charged overnight, and occasionally throughout the day. Overnight charging allows the engine to slowly charge, whereas daytime charging is faster and will provide the boost you need to keep you going throughout the day.
One of the main benefits of electric cars is the endorsement by the government. The zero emissions of an electric car mean that you don’t have to pay congestion charges in major cities and have zero road tax. It also means that when some cities start to ban certain cars that are more polluting, EVs are still able to drive in those cities. In some areas, EVs have priority parking as you charge while you park, and so you can get closer and better parking spaces.
One of the main downsides of EVs is the need for charging. Most EVs need charging every day, and so having a cheap electricity plan is going to be vital if you’re thinking of switching to an EV. The other downside is the cost of repair. If you ever need a repair it’s likely going to cost you a bit more than it would on an ICE as Kyle Burke owner of Eagle Autos, Winner of the Best Garage in London 2017, said “There are a lot more electric cars on the road than there were only a couple of years ago which means we have had to adapt and learn about repairing new components. The way an electric car is put together is different from a combustion-engined car, which means some garages might charge significantly more money for labour as they need more time to figure out how to make the fix.”
While its clear electric cars are being pushed as the future, a lot needs to happen to get them there. Most people can’t afford a brand new EV and so making a car that is viable for the majority of the country is going to be a big thing. The longevity of the battery is another major player as most people who do long distance driving haven’t got the time spare to charge their battery once or twice every journey.
Electric vehicles are one of the ways forward, but not the only one.
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