Electric Car Facts
Do you want to know some electric car facts?
We have been using electric cars since 2006 on an everyday basis including the REVA G-Wiz, Mitsubishi i MiEV and TATA Indica Vista EV. We have also had the opportunity to test others including the Nissan LEAF, REVA NXR and the Think City.
Here are our 10 facts on electric cars.
Why buy an electric car?
Because they are great for the environment, cheaper to run and they are fun to drive.
Electric cars are more expensive to buy than a comparable petrol car, but the running costs are much lower: if you are driving 40 miles a day, you are probably spending around £200 a month in petrol bills. Equivalent electricity cost is in the region of £10-15. And a top-of-the-range Nissan LEAF is similar in price to an equivalently specified Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf.
They are fun to drive, too, with instant performance when you touch the accelerator and rapid acceleration from a standing start.
Who should buy one?
Electric cars are at their best where most of the driving is around town or in urban areas. Drive them fast on a motorway and the range quickly drops. If you normally drive less than 40 miles a day, an electric car will suit you no matter what sort of driving you do. If you regularly drive further, they probably will not be suitable for you right now.
Over 60% of households in the UK have more than one car. Electric cars are ideal in this scenario: use the battery powered car for all the shorter journeys and the other car for longer distance driving.
Facts about Range
The range on an electric car will vary depending on types of batteries, age of batteries, style of driving and also temperature. Cold conditions will affect the range of an electric car and may reduce it by up to a third.
Range can vary from 30 miles for Lead Acid batteries to 245 for the Tesla Roadster. Most manufacturers are producing cars with a range of about 100 miles.
Facts on Charging
Charging an electric car is easy. Most vehicles can be plugged into a standard home socket and charged up over a period of time. We have always plugged our electric car into a timer switch to charge overnight, when electricity usage is lower.
Charging infrastructure is now being put in place in many countries making longer journeys easier.
Charging times will vary and on average will take between 6 to 8 hours.
Facts about Batteries
Batteries have been developed over time. Older and cheaper vehicles tend to use lead acid batteries, these are cheaper to buy, but do not last as long. Some lead acid batteries need maintenance on the early G-Wiz cars the batteries needed watering.
Modern vehicles use Lithium ion similar to that in a laptop computer. Although Lithium ion batteries are more expensive they last a lot longer - Nissan US have announced an eight year or 100,000 mile warranty.
Facts about Safety
Questions have been asked about safety on some older electric cars available. Manufacturers have started putting their vehicles through crash tests and the Nissan LEAF has been awarded Top Safety Pick Award from the Insurance institute for Highways Safety. The Mitsubishi i MiEV has been awarded 4 star Euro NCAP.
Cars powered by batteries are nothing new, the first vehicle was invented between 1832 and 1839. The first ever commercially available car, with rechargeable batteries was available in 1881. After the end of the First World War petrol cars were more reliable and petrol was more available, so the electric car died out.
With Global Warming, cost of petrol and pollution, electric cars are now becoming more popular with major manufacturers announcing new vehicles.
Facts on Pollution
In major cities one of the problems is pollution, electric cars can help to reduce this as they do not have any tail pipe pollution. CO2 emissions are created when the electricity is generated depending on the source, but they still have a lower CO2 level when comparing them to a conventional vehicle.
The cost of purchasing an electric car is higher than a petrol car although other savings can be made. In the UK road tax for an electric car is free; they are exempt from the congestion charge in London, also savings on petrol can be made.
Facts about Performance
Electric cars have instant acceleration and there are no gears to change. The electric motor is much quieter than a conventional engine, therefore the drive feels much smoother. Most electric cars have their top speed limited; one of the fastest is the Tesla with a top speed of 125 MPH.
The 2011 Electric Car Guide
For further facts it is worth reading our books. The books include what they are like to own and use everyday, reviews from other owners, environmental impacts and real range tests.
We have also produced a blog with further information and what electric cars are really like to live with on a daily basis.
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