TECOSIM have established that although electric vehicles are the future, not enough people share their own experiences living with them. A fast amount of people do not know the benefits or negatives that could impact their everyday life, so we thought, how can we engage with our followers, clients, staff and friends to raise awareness of electric vehicles? Both of our Directors at TECOSIM both own an Electric Vehicle which they use for work and personal use. As a company, we have been fortunate enough to learn first hand what living with an electric vehicle is really like, from an honest perspective.
How to know if an Electric Vehicle (EV) is for you
Electric cars have come along way in recent years. Many see them as the future and it’s only a matter of time until we’ll be driving in an electric utopia. That vision is still a long way off though. Despite government subsidies and incentives, there’s still work to do on the charging network infrastructure and the cars themselves.
We’ve weighed up some of the pros and cons of owning an EV for you, with a little help from our resident EV owner, Gareth Evans, Operations Director at TECOSIM.
Some experiences may vary.
Count The Cost
When buying any car, cost is a significant factor. Not only do you have the large up-front costs, but also the day to day running to think about as well.
An entry-level electric car is going to set you back at least £20,000, but there are government grants and other incentives that can help. You can get £3,500 from the government’s Plug-in Grant scheme. If you’re buying as part of a company car scheme, the BiK Tax rate will be 0% from April for electric vehicles.
The everyday running of your EV is where it comes into its own. Say goodbye to car tax and scouting for the cheapest petrol or diesel prices. The average cost per mile for an EV is about 4p when charged at home. This is a significant cost saving compared to even the most economical of petrol cars. EVs also have fewer moving parts that require servicing. So you won’t need to visit the garage so often.
When it comes to home charging, you can get a 32Amp 7Kw charging socket installed using a government subsidy. We’d recommend not to go for the non-tethered version. It requires opening up the bonnet to get the cable and plug in, rather than just getting the cable from the unit. It may seem like a small thing, but it can get annoying, especially in the driving rain of the British summertime.
Plan your journeys
Unfortunately, even the best electric cars aren’t a match for most standard cars when it comes to driving range. This can lead to a common condition which is found in EV owners; Range Anxiety. In severe cases, this may lead to insomnia, as the driver stays up all night worrying about long drives they need to make.
The good news is this is treatable with careful planning.
The best performing electric vehicles on the market, like the Tesla Model S or the Jaguar I-PACE, have a quoted range of 300 miles plus. In reality, this seems like an optimistic estimation. Unless you plan on not listening to music, keeping climate control off, or just driving, you won’t get that far.
If you’re planning a long journey then you’re going to need to factor in a stop of about 20-40 minutes for charging. If you try and plan this out before you leave, then hopefully you won’t get caught out. If you time that around a meal stop, then it shouldn’t seem like such a long wait.
If you are struggling to find charging points en route, then there are some useful apps that will point you in the right direction. Zap-Map, PlugShare and Chargemap all will show you charger locations nearby, including the power and type. These apps are your friends, especially if you’re in a tight spot needing to find somewhere fast.
At the moment, there are still only a limited number of charge points in general. Fast charge points are especially difficult to come across, so you may be waiting for a while before one becomes available. We imagine this will improve in the future when more EVs will be on the road. Helpfully, some of the charge point apps will also tell you if the charge point is in use.
Range is something to seriously consider if you often drive long distances every day. If your commute is a bit shorter, then you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Some great automotive advancements have been made with electric cars’ features, an important factor in an increasingly climate-conscious society. Some of those features also happen to be great fun!
A favourite feature of ours is the preconditioning. Winter is a hard season for workers. No-one enjoys scraping ice off your car and waiting for it to demist and warm up before you set off. Not the ideal morning routine. There must be a better way?!
If you happen to own an electric vehicle your morning routine might change slightly. No more scraping, no more cold seat dance. The car does it all with preconditioning where you can cool or heat the cabin or battery. One tip is to precondition your car while it’s still plugged in, then you don’t have to worry about range reduction.
While you’re on your journey, you might notice your EV is a bit zippier than your average petrol car. Instant torque gives you access to some fantastic acceleration, especially from a standstill. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility! Don’t get too pedal happy, or you might just have more than a drop in your battery range to worry about. It may take some getting used to at first, but this is a great feature.
Have you ever been in a car driving along the motorway shouting to be heard over the engine noise? Silence is golden. All you have to contend with in an EV is the noise of the tires on the road.
EVs will also track your driving data. This can be a great tool to learn how to drive more efficiently and reduce the amount you’ll need to recharge.
Electric cars aren’t cheap, but if the initial costs don’t scare you, the fuel savings are great. After cost, it’s all about range. If you’re regularly driving under 100 miles a day, then it’s definitely manageable. Any more and you will get frustrated very quickly with daily charging.
The EV market still has a way to go and the jury is still out on electric replacing petrol or diesel. But we think that EVs are developed enough that they won’t leave you pulling your hair out in frustration. In fact, they might surprise you.