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Rebecca Milligan | Transport | electric car, electric vehicle, carbon emissions, low emissions vehicles
Driving a plug-in vehicle can make a big difference to your carbon footprint as well as your day-to-day spending.
There are 5.1million electric vehicles on the road worldwide, with almost 250,000 in the UK. This is still a small percentage of the total but numbers have increased significantly within the last few years.
The UK Government’s Road to Zero plan has a target of 2040 for ending sales of new petrol or diesel vehicles. But millions of people have already switched to a low-carbon option - here's some reasons to join them.
The UK's high fuel costs mean on average, you'll pay around three times more to drive 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car than in an electric vehicle. Of course, while you’re generally going to find big savings between charging and filling up, as with any vehicle purchase, it’s important to choose your model wisely.
Need convincing that the cost savings stack up? Pick an EV and compare it to the vehicle of your choice using Go Ultra Low’s Journey Cost Savings Calculator
Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, and many studies show on a full life cycle analysis they emit significantly less carbon than internal combustion engine vehicles. On average you'll save 660kg of carbon dioxide a year.
As we generate more electricity from renewable sources, over 50% in 2018, the indirect emissions associated with charging battery-powered vehicles reduce too helping us move towards net zero.
Manufacturers are creating new electric vehicle models all the time. There are lots of high-quality vehicles to choose from.
Car magazine and Top Gear both feature the likes of the Audi e-Tron, Hyundai Kona Electric and the classic trailblazer the Nissan Leaf among their top selections. There are some very high-end options too –Tesla’s Model S and X get plenty of mentions, while the company’s Model 3 was released this year to considerable success.
Government support means buyers get money off the purchase cost of a new electric vehicle, as long as it’s from an approved list. For electric cars, this is capped at £3,500, while there are various rates offered for vans, taxis, motorcycles and large goods vehicles.
We’re well past the ‘early adopter’ stage with electric vehicles. Models come with greater range, better performance and aesthetics than ever before.
The typical range for a new battery electric vehicle is now 150-200 miles, which could take you from London to Leeds on a single charge. Work is also underway to improve the sustainability of the entire battery supply chain.
Electric vehicles have fewer mechanical components than conventional vehicles, which often results in lower maintenance costs.
Then there’s the ‘softer’ benefits to EV motoring: vehicles are quieter, and drivers often report a more relaxing time at the wheel.
The UK now has more public charging points than petrol stations (over 15,000 to 9,000), and just under 2,500 of those are rapid-charging facilities.
You can use Zap map to find charging points near you.
Local authorities, supported by programmes like the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, are installing record numbers of on-street chargers, to help people charge cars near their homes if they don't have off-street parking.
There is also a government-supported scheme to get more recharging points installed at workplaces.
Charging speeds are coming down dramatically. Although rapid charging is not the be-all-and-end-all because many electric vehicle owners can charge at home, the installation of the UK’s first ultra-fast (150Kw) charge point in Hammersmith is a sure sign of things to come.
Currently, 350kW speeds are the talk of the industry. No electric vehicle models can handle such a high speed - yet, but it does illustrate that charge times are set to plummet further.
It might sound high-tech but you can use your electric vehicle to store energy and integrate it with an energy efficient smart home.
Smart home energy management systems can display and help control the power flows of anything connected to the home – meaning that vehicle batteries can essentially become home energy storage facilities through a ‘vehicle to grid’ system.
Pure electric vehicles costing under £40,000 are currently exempt from road tax. Plug-in drivers can move around the London congestion charge-zone for free (a possible annual saving of £2,000 for regular users) and similar benefits will apply in all the UK’s new Clean Air Zones.
Electric vehicles can also park for free in some urban locations.
Energy Saving Trust created electric vehicle benefit finding tool with Go Ultra Low, which highlights where all the local perks of driving emissions-free are around the country.