The Electric Car Idea

Today I visited a local “Electric Vehicle Roadshow” where you could get information about eBikes, eCars, eMotorbikes, and stuff from people who sold them and owners clubs and so on.

I’ve long had the idea that our next car might be electric. Our current 13-year-old 1.8l petrol midi-MPV has been a superbly-reliable asset to our family life. But it’s getting old and tired (despite only 85,000 miles on it).

The idea is that instead of one medium-sized car that we use for everything, we could get a small electric for getting round town and for longer trips where we’re not taking much luggage. Then for bigger or longer holidays we’ll just rent a bigger car. There’s no point owning a particular car because you need it’s size two or three times a year.

But for an electric car, charging is an issue. We don’t have a drive or garage. We have on-street parking. So if we wanted to charge something, we’d have to somehow park outside our house, and then run a cable out across the pavement!

But today, I think I was tipped over the edge with a realisation.

I was chatting with a chap about range and different battery capacities. He asked:

“What sort of mileage do yo do?”

“Well, if we use the car a lot in a week it’s probably 30 miles.”

“30 miles a day?”

“No. 30 miles a WEEK.”

HAaaaaaaannnnng on a mo.

Even the small electric cars have a range of 120 miles. So even if we were busy and using the car a lot, we’ll charge it about once a month (assuming charge holds well).

For some reason I had it in my head that we’d be charging this thing every other day. But the truth is that we go for days at a time without using our car. So driving to, say, a relative’s house and charging overnight every now and then, or finding a fast charger near a cafe occasionally. These are viable solutions.

Suddenly the big blocker seems to have gone.

NOW…

Electric cars are still expensive. There’s an second-hand market now, which is good. And maybe that would work for us. But there’s possibly a question of: “If you’re only doing 30 miles a week, will it pay for itself? Is it good value?”

You might even be thinking “Why own a car at all?” and the answer really is convenience and the lack of a decent car club. Seriously, if I could borrow a car from a shared pool when I needed one I’d be on it like a shot.

So I don’t think “will it save us money” is a relevant question on it’s own. We don’t own a car because it’s cheap. We own a car because it gives us very flexible travel options. And anyway, currently we keep a 1.8l petrol car on the go. £100’s in vehicle duty. £100’s in servicing. And we only use it’s size and power a few times a year. Mostly it’s wasted. It THAT good value?

If this is wrong thinking then let me know. Really do!

Anyway, now I’m properly looking and researching and I’m likely to become a complete EV bore. So look forward to that!

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