There are three main types of electric car:
- Battery electric – these have a large battery connected to electric motors which allows the car to travel for 100 to 300 miles on a single charge. A rapid charger can top this up again in as little as 20 minutes.
- Plug-in Hybrid electric – these have a smaller battery which allows 15 to 30 miles on a charge, plus a petrol engine which can power the wheels when the battery runs out.
- Range-Extender electric – these have a medium-sized battery which allows 30 to 50 miles on a charge, but use an onboard petrol generator to power the battery for longer journeys.
Why should I buy an electric car?
- Super cheap fuel – electricity costs work out at around 2.4 pence per mile, which is only 15% of the cost of petrol or diesel, plus zero Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
- Quiet – no engine noise and very responsive at low speeds.
- Zero emissions – improved local air quality as electric vehicles have no exhaust. NOx gases and particulates from petrol/diesel, are harmful to our health, causing adverse effects on the respiratory system.
- Energy efficient – typically have only half the carbon footprint of petrol/diesel equivalent when charged from the national grid. Electric vehicles can also be charged from clean renewable sources of electricity making them carbon free.
- Regenerative brakes – these capture energy during braking to top up the battery.
- Cost effective – electric vehicles can be cheaper to run compared with a new petrol/diesel when total cost of ownership is considered due to greatly reduced fuel and servicing costs.
- Environmental benefits – while the production of the battery does have more environmental impact than the creation of an engine, the overall environmental impacts of electric cars are still far less. This is because more than 95 per cent of a conventional fuelled car’s impact across its lifespan comes from the combustion of fossil fuel!
What types of electric cars are currently available?
More and more models are being introduced as manufacturers catch on to the increasing demand for these vehicles. See Go Ultra Low’s Choose Your Electric car for a guide to some of the latest models available from leading manufacturers.