Barry Carruthers, Head of Innovation, Sustainability & Quality
We’re three years into electric vehicle (EV) ownership - and there’s no there’s no going back.
In 2017 we took the plunge and bought a used Renault Zoe to replace an older diesel car. Back then, we saw getting an EV as a second car as almost an experiment, it was bought to complement our larger petrol ‘family car’, and allow us to take our first step into the EV world. Nonetheless, it still felt a bit like a risky experiment given the amount of running around we did for schools, clubs, hobbies, family as well as everything else, but time and again our EV has proven itself to be a reliable car for every aspect of our lives.
The first and most obvious thing people normally ask when you say you have an EV is; “What about the range?” It’s a great point to raise, back when the first generation of EVs came on the market the range they had wasn’t huge, so cars like our second hand Zoe probably did around 90 or so miles in between charging - and a bit less in cold winter mornings. But, for normal day-to-day life, you’d be amazed how that car carries out more than 90% of our journeys and our petrol car now only does about 1000 miles a year, spending most of its time largely tucked away in the garage.
And for all the journeys the Zoe has done, would you like to know how many times have we nearly run out of charge on a journey? None. Plus, the next generation of EVs are expected to be able to do around 200 miles per journey at least.
Part of the routine
The next question you face is, but where do you charge it? Everyone has range anxiety until you buy your first EV - this then quickly shifts to ‘range awareness’! You simply have an additional thought of making sure you charge at a place and time that is convenient to you and meets you journey plans, it could be at the supermarket, retail park, train station, basically anywhere that has a charging point. We did change our ‘go-to’ supermarket for the first six months of having our EV as we didn’t have a home charger but the supermarket did. Of course life is much simpler when you can plug in every night, but even in those first six months, throughout winter, charging at various locations whenever it was convenient worked out really well for us. I promise, it’s not just possible to incorporate charging into your daily life, it’s really pretty easy and soon you find it simply just becomes part of routine.
And finally the third question is, what about cost? After three years, we’re now looking to sell our Renault Zoe in a few months and an automated trade-in price site actually offered me more money than we paid for it. Much like buying any new car, prices can vary depending on make and model, and if you chose to buy fancy brand new EV with a huge range it will be expensive, but we’ve calculated how much we’ve saved in tax, diesel, servicing etc. and we’ve saved more than £2500 per year compared to our old diesel car.
So onward to the next EV model for us, there’s a far greater range of models now than there were three years ago. Batteries have greater range, the technology within the cars is phenomenal, and the children are now old enough to plug and unplug the car which is teaching them how using electricity can help clean up our daily commute! I read recently more than 50% of people now see their next car as an EV – that’s a massive transformation in people’s minds, but I expect and hope that figure will be close to 100% very, very soon.
Find out about World EV Day.