Is it time you made the switch to Electric power?
Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.
It’s a daunting question and one that’s on the top of every motorists mind when it comes to possibly changing cars. Are you ready leave the combustion engine behind and move away from petrol or diesel? DoneDeal has thousands of cars for sale at any one point but if you are to consider driving an electric vehicle or perhaps hybrid, what are the key factors you need to consider? Lets delve a little deeper!
Firstly, is it really worth changing to an electric vehicle for the environment?
Most modern combustion engines have so many particulate filters to meet emission laws they are incredibly clean but on the road, they still can’t beat electricity! Generally speaking, electric cars tend to produce significantly less planet-warming emissions than the traditional petrol and diesel-powered engine models that we have used on our roads for decades. Most manufacturers are making greater efforts to reduce the impact of an electric car’s production from the very start. The factories they are made in, are powered by renewable energy, the materials used are of a sustainable nature and the battery technology is getting cleaner and better every year. More electric cars on the road means significantly reduced air pollution, lower carbon dioxide emissions and reduction of noise pollution. With no exhaust pipe to produce carbon monoxide, air quality becomes considerably better using an electric vehicle. Another point worth noting is how clean the electricity is that you feed your electric car. At present, roughly one-third of electricity used to charge an electric car is renewable and Ireland has set a target of 70% renewable grid electricity by 2030. When it comes to your impact on the environment you have to think of future generations and not just today and living in the now. It is imperative that will all play our part and every little bit helps!
What about the range on an electric car, will I run out?
The dreaded range anxiety that can only be felt by EV owners has had many second-guessing the practicality of electric power over the years. If truth be told, it was, and still is something to consider but the overall distance range of an electric car has improved dramatically in the last ten years. With a little planning and proper understanding of your daily commute the anxiety will dissipate as you acclimatise to life with an EV. Studies have shown that for the vast majority, electric cars can easily do the daily commute with power in reserve on a single charge. Broadly speaking a 40kWh battery provides around 270km range on one charge, while a 62kWh battery provides up to 385km on a single charge. If you happen to cover 50km per day on average, a 40kWh car would only need to be charged every five or six days, or once a week with a 62kWh car. Driving style, where you live, weather conditions all play a factor but most will find the range of a modern EV more than adequate.
The other key to eliminating range anxiety is to know where to charge in your area, home or workplace. The ESB has installed approximately 1,300 charge points across Ireland, with that number continuing to grow. Other suppliers have also come on stream, some with high speed charging capabilities. A good tip is to make sure you have a home-charging unit also if possible because this really is the key to commuting daily with ample range. On arrival home, simply get into the habit of plugging the vehicle in. On average, 80% of car journeys in Ireland cover 20km or less and with typical electric vehicle ranges going from 100km up to 500km, you can put your mind at ease.
What are the running costs like and what savings could I make?
Yes the big question is what are the savings like and as an electric vehicle owner, it’s a question you best be prepared for, because everyone wants to know the answer! The simple answer is yes, electric cars are cheaper to fuel, tax (€120 per annum) and maintain in the long run over your traditional combustion powered vehicle. Charging aside for a moment there are fewer moving parts with no engine oils, plugs, belts, filters in play making service trips few and far between. Even brakes last a great deal longer than their petrol and diesel equivalents thanks to highly efficient regenerative braking systems. You simply lift your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow up on regen braking, which becomes strangely addictive. Depending on the type of EV, varying levels of regenerative braking can be used.
To directly compare the saving you could experience with an electric vehicle we recommend checking out the SEAI’s comparison calculator website but the average annual saving when you run different vehicles appears to be around €2000 a year. Owners of a home 7kw home charging unit can avail of a full overnight charge for as little as €3 should you choose to avail of nighttime electricity rates. This is then added to your domestic electricity bill. Public charging varies in price but the ESB charges 26.8c per kWh at the “pump” which equates to around €3.97 for 100km/h of range. A subscription-based option will reduce this further. Although electric cars were regarded as expensive vehicles to purchase in the first place, you have to do the math with the grants and other savings considered. Most electric cars listed on DoneDeal are either directly price-comparable or even better value than existing petrol or diesel alternatives.
Are there any grants I can avail of to aid me in the purchase of an EV?
There are a number of grants including cheaper toll bridge crossings from the government and the SEAI have various grant options available for private use. Grants are accessed through an authorised dealer network from our trusted DoneDeal dealer network. These grants apply to new vehicles only. For the private individual, a maximum grant of €5,000 is available, dependent on the overall price of the vehicle exceeding €20,000. In comparison, a minimum grant of €2,000 is made available for electric cars priced between €14,000 and €15,000. The lower the price, the lower the grant. Most prices quoted on DoneDeal for new electric vehicles would be inclusive of the grants available. From a charging perspective, provided you are a private owner, a grant up to the value of €600 can help towards the purchase and installation costs for a designated charge point at your property. This is a must if you plan and leaving combustion power for electric. Having access to your own charger makes living with an EV so much easier!
Perhaps a hybrid might be a better choice for me, what are my options?
New hybrids no longer qualify for any grants unlike in years past. The sticker price is the price you will pay but there are various types of hybrid power trains that you should understand. The first form of hybrid motoring is a battery that works in harmony with your petrol or diesel engine to power the vehicle at lower speeds or through traffic. These are self-charging units most often found in Toyota’s full hybrid powertrain line-up. You just get in and go letting the vehicle do the work. Then there is the plug in hybrid (PHEV) of which the main elements are very similar to a standard hybrid car, in that you have an extra battery and electric motor to support the work of a petrol or diesel engine. The main difference is that the battery is bigger, allowing a PHEV to drive much further on electric power alone.
It is worth noting that many manufacturers claim to have a hybrid offering these days but some are classed as mild hybrids. This is simply a conventional petrol or diesel engine with a low voltage (48V) battery and an electric motor which is typically used to power electric components such as the radio or other cabin comforts like the air conditioning. At low engine speeds, they can supplement the engine with a small electric boost during acceleration, but unlike full hybrids, the electric motor cannot power the car on its own, and they cannot drive in full electric mode. In our opinion if you are considering a hybrid, it should be a full or plug in hybrid at the least. This will give you a realistic taste of what it will be like to live with a battery electric vehicle (BEV) in the future. Please keep in mind that if you buy a plug in hybrid and don’t charge the vehicle, you are simply using your combustion engine to haul a heavy batter around and thus killing the efficiency of the car.
DoneDeal has a massive selection of used electric vehicles. What should I look out for?
Well this is a tricky one really because we are still learning about the technology, how long the batteries last and what range they will continue to give. Most electric vehicles come with a separate warranty for their battery, and this usually runs for longer than the car's warranty. The industry standard for battery life is an eight-year warranty on most models but more recently we have seen some brands offering a shorter five-year term. At the very least the battery should still be offering 70% of its total capacity after the eight year period. There are options to replace or recondition but we are hearing mixed reports on pricing. It is worth factoring in that aside from the battery there is very little else that can go wrong. Make sure you have good brakes, suspension and all the electrics are working inside. With fewer moving parts they generally appear to aging better than combustion powered vehicles.
To see our large range of electric vehicles for sale please click HERE.
To get more electric motoring insights and read some of our reviews please click HERE.
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