We have established the benefits of owning an electric vehicle and therefore it is also important to set out some of the challenges owners may face and should consider before making the switch to a low emissions vehicle.
“Range anxiety” is one of the best known terms when it comes to electric vehicles. While the majority of electric vehicles can now achieve between 100 and 300 miles on a single charge and this is growing as technology improves, it is still significantly lower than that which can be achieved by an equivalent petrol or diesel powe red vehicle. Plug-in hybrids can quell some of the concerns by having the support of a combustion engine. The average journey in the UK and Ireland is between 10 and 15 miles therefore anyone with access to charging facilities at home or within close proximity to public charging infrastructure, vehicle range should not be a major concern.
A petrol or diesel powered vehicle can be refueled within minutes, however the same cannot be said for an Electric Vehicle. Using a standard 7KW home charger can take between 5 & 10 hours to recharge your vehicle, depending on the battery capacity of the car. A 22KW fast charger can reduce this to 2 – 3 hours while a rapid charger at 50KW and above can add 80% to your vehicle’s battery in approximately 40 minutes. Therefore some planning is required as to when and where you are going to recharge your vehicle before continuing your journey.
Public Charging Infrastructure
The availability of public charging infrastructure is a concern for many EV owners. With over 42,000 connection points at 25,000 charging stations in the UK and 1,400 in the Republic of Ireland, a significant increase in the numbers being installed on an annual basis is required if government targets to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road are to be met.
Battery Life and Production
It is currently estimated that an electric car battery was last from 10 – 15 years before the need to be replaced. This figure varies depending on the manufacturer and usage conditions of the vehicle. Concern also exist around the sourcing of lithium to fuel the battery cells and the level of carbon emissions produced in this process and the conditions under which the lithium is sourced.
Electric Vehicles remain relatively expensive and while purchase prices are falling considerably as new models join the market, they still carry a premium of up to £10k over a similarly sized petrol or diesel vehicle.