1. What is the cost of an EV?
The cost of an EV is varied as well as happens with conventional vehicles. Currently the price of the most common electric vehicles available from the most popular manufacturers range from £22,000 (Renault Fluence Z.E.) to £28,000 (Nissan Leaf or Peuugeot iOn). Most of these cars are included in the Plug-in car grant scheme and their price can be reduced up to £5,000. To see more details about this funding, please go to the question 12. The electric motorbikes prices range from £7,000 to £9,000.
In terms of running costs, EVs are exempt from Vehicle Exercise Duty car tax, which saves around £130 per year compared to a conventional car. Furthermore, for drivers around London, electric cars receive the entire Greener Vehicle Discount from the London Congestion charge. This charge costs £10 per day so with an electric car there are potential savings of around £2,000 per year.
2. How is the driving experience in an EV? Is it different from driving a conventional car?
The driving experience between a conventional and an EV is similar. The only difference you might have is that, as electric engines works in an efficient way in all ranges of speeds, they do not have the same gearbox as the conventional one. They only have three positions: Drive, backwards and parking.
3. What is the lifespan of an EV?
4. Are they going to be “normal shaped” cars or they will look always like futuristic prototypes?
There are some electric cars like Renault Twizy that seems more a prototype than a car. However there are several cars with the same style of chasis like the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Plug in Prius, Vauxhall Ampera, Peugeot iOn Renault Fluence Z.E.
5. What about the speed? How much they could achieve?
The maximum speed that can be achieved by an electric car is varied as it happens with the conventional cars. The maximum speed range on the commercial cars nowadays goes from 80 mph to 100 mph. In motorbikes 88 mph could be achieved.
The battery of a car can be changed in different ways which are explained in different ways:
- In charging points or stations: The charging points allow you to charge the battery while you are doing something else like work, shop, etc. there are three types of charging points: slow, fast and rapid. The main difference between them is the charging speed and the potential damage that could make to the battery. There are various charging points across the UK. You can see them in the following website: http://www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/charging-points.php
- Making a quick swap of battery in a switch battery station: It is not widespread already but some companies like Better Place have built some battery switch stations where the battery of the car is changed automatically in few seconds. They work in the similar style as a car-wash. An illustrative vide can be seen in the following page: http://www.betterplace.com/How-it-Works/battery-switch-stations
- Charging from home: There is a possibility to plug the car into the house electricity grid in the same way that you plug a mobile phone or a laptop.
7. How long does it take to charge the battery?
It depends on the type of the charging point, a full charge ranges from 1 hour in the high voltage charging points (fast and rapid) to 6 hours in the slow type or home charging.
8. Can I charge the battery in my house?
Yes, and it could be the most environmentally friendly option if you have the house powered by renewable energy as you do not rely on the national grid mix. However, it needs to be taken into consideration that not everyone has a garage or a space to charge and that the charging points could be far from some residential areas.
9. Which are the fuel costs in EVs?
The fuel costs in EVs are competitive as electricity is zero-rated in the fuel duty. Therefore, an estimate of 2p per mile is estimated but is dependant on the electricity tariff. In addition, there are several organizations like Source East where members can use the Source East network of charging points for a membership fee of £10 per year.
10. Where can I charge an EV vehicle?
There are many charging points across the country, including Peterborough, with increasing prospects. You can see them in the map built by “next greencar” clicking here.
11. Can I charge my hybrid car at the electric charging points in Peterborough?
Yes. Both hybrid and fully electric cars can be charged in the electric charging points available across the city.
12. Is there any funding stream to reduce the cost of buying an EV?
Yes, the government has a funding called the “Plug-In Grant” since January 2011. This funding covers the 25% of the cost of purchasing an ultra-low emission car to a maximum of £5,000. This discount is directly applied by most of the EVcar manufacturers. To find more information about this funding you can visit the Dft page.
13. Are there other types of electric vehicles like motorbikes, vans, etc, or is it just cars?
- Motorbikes: Zero Motorcycles-Zero DS, Zero Motorcycles Zero S
- Scooters: Elecscoot E3, Econgo Yongo, and E-Mo Electric Scooter
- Vans: Renault Kangoo Van Z.E.
- 4×4: Land Rover Range-E
- Trucks: Smith Edison and Newton
14. Are electric cars just another trend or they are going to settle in the future?
Finding an alternative to finite fossil fuels is an obligation nowadays. The world is getting run out of them and most of the developed countries (including UK) are dependant from other countries to obtain those resources. Electric cars seem to be the most feasible alternative nowadays and the future pictures a scenario with full integration of electric cars.
15. Is there any difference in maintenance and repair between conventional cars and EVs? The battery has to be replaced every two years at it is popularly said?
In terms of preventative maintenance, electric cars do not need the regular service that fuel propelled cars needs. They do not need any oil or air filters and the components are less exposed to friction so there are cost savings in that area. However, it is likely that the battery would need to be changed during the life of the car.
The life-cycle of the electric car batteries with the current technology is meant to last 10 years, a higher number than the two years that is commonly believed.
16. What about the life-cycle of the batteries? Questions related to battery availability and recycling.
According to the last studies, there are enough reserves of lithium but there are mainly concentrated in Bolivia, Chile and China so an alternative is trying to be found. The battery recycling is mandatory in Europe as the law saysthat all the batteries must be returned to their owner in order to be recycled or, in the worst scenario, properly disposed.