Should I buy an electric car?

sell electric carElectric cars have been getting a fair bit of press over the last year and now many people are considering one. Many pros and cons to going electric need to be considered before making any purchase. In this posts, we'll discuss both the good and the bad so that hopefully you can make a more informed decision about whether electric is for you when the times comes to sell your car and upgrade to a newer model.

Pros for electric cars:

Better for the environment - Being electric and not using high polluting fuels like petrol and diesel creates significant environmental benefits. With no emissions from the exhaust, electric cars produce no CO2, which has an enormous impact on global warming and the destruction of the ozone. No emissions generated from an electric car results in no NOx which has a significant detrimental effect on human health. With many homes now fitted with solar panels, generating electricity for a car has virtually no negative impact on the environment and helps with an individual's carbon footprint. Electricity creation as a whole is becoming less dependent on coal and moves by many governments around the world are focusing on renewable forms of electricity from solar, hydro, and wind. Not all electric cars are fully electric as some are whats called hybrid whereby they still have a combustible engine that powers the car if it runs out of battery.

Reduced running costs - Electric cars are far cheaper to run for a number of reasons. First, as the car produces no CO2, they are exempt from road tax (VED) which can cost up to £500 per year on some high-emitting cars. Many electric, hybrid and PHEVs benefit from 100% discount on London congestion charging with some boroughs also offering free parking which can amount to a significant saving. On average an electric car costs just £3.20 to charge fully whereas as filling a 50-litre tank with fuel costs c£60.Many towns and service stations around the UK have free charging points so a refuel could cost you absolutely nothing. It's not just VED and fuel costs where electric car owners save, they also payout limited amounts in maintenance during its life cycle. As they have no combustible engine and no moving parts, there is far less to service or go wrong. They also don't need oil changes or have complicated exhaust systems that can often be costly. Servicing and running an electric car will be far cheaper with fewer visits to your local dealer, with maybe just tyres and disc brakes being the only expense.

Better power for a quicker ride - Some of the electric cars coming to market now are far quicker than their combustible engine counterparts. With far fewer moving parts than traditional vehicles, an electric car can push the power from the batteries to the tyres much quicker and you'll experience far superior 0-60 times. An electric powered car produces far more torque (twisting force) than both petrol and diesel cars producing and exciting driving experience, just put your foot down on the accelerator and launch off.

Cons of electric cars:

Short Range - One of the primary concerns around electric vehicles is the relatively short range they have between recharging. On average they tend to have a range of just 60 miles which can prove an issue for some drivers although higher end models such as Tesla are seeing ranges more than 300 miles. Despite the average range being only 60 miles a number of studies have been conducted by both manufacturers and governments which indicate that the range should be sufficient. These studies have shown that on average a driver's commute is just a 36 mile round trip although this can still be an issue if you were looking to travel around the country at the weekend.

High Purchase Cost - The cost of acquiring an electric car is still quite high compared to a combustible engine car. Take for example a Nissan Leaf which retails for over £20,000 and is double that of a Nissan Mica at just £10,000. On average, a standard electric car is in the region of £25,000 - £35,000 with some of the higher end models fetching more than £60,000. Even with the governments subsidies and Plug-in Car Grants amounting to a maximum of £5,000 for a car and £8,000 for a van, the cost is still high. As the technology becomes mainstream, and manufacturers can get their production costs down, these prices will reduce but not for a good few years. Although the purchase prices of these cars are high, the running costs are very low so it's worth doing some research into lifetime ownership to really understand what the cost/saving is over a traditional car.

Longer Charging Times - With a conventional car you'll pull up at the petrol station, stick your nozzle in, and be filled up within minutes. Electric charging is a different matter with the average full charge taking over four hours to complete. This is not an issue if you are charging overnight as by morning you'll be ready to go but if you're travelling any great distance then be prepared to have extended breaks at the service station. Advances in technology are starting to reduce these waiting times with some companies able to charge a car to 70% within just 20 minutes.

Reduced Choice - Currently consumers are relatively limited with the choice of available cars to buy if they're considering electric. It's not just that there are only certain manufacturers producing electric vehicles it's that they don't come in many varieties. Each brand may only have one electric car whereas they have several model line-ups of traditional vehicles. For more information on check out our lists of electric cars.

Check out this video below about the BMW i3 which will give you an idea about the capabilities of an electric car.