This is a collaborative post
“Electric cars are the future. One day we will all drive an electric car.” I’m sure you’ve heard these phrases but in fact electric cars are already here. Nissan, Renault, BMW and Tesla are some of the better known brands but all car manufacturers are working toward electric. Charging networks are just beginning to grow, but you can get a New Motion charging station for your driveway so you don’t even have to wait.
Cost of making an electric car
This is a whole new field of technology. To make an electric car manufacturers need a custom made production line in the factory as the engine and drive train are all new. That’s expensive but the biggest cost of making an electric car is the battery. With increased volume of electric vehicle sales, battery prices have now dropped some way. Industry insiders tell me they are waiting for a tipping point where battery cost is low enough to mean high volume car production can start. That moment is just about here, now.
Risk of making an electric car
The car manufacturing industry is highly risk-averse because any mistake is so expensive. These new electric power technologies are untested in long term use. If a fault causes a product recall then the cost would be sky high, and the publicity would be crushing.
The manufacturers have to balance the risk against the cost of production and once they’re happy with that, electric cars will take over.
Planning to buy an electric car
I spoke to Liz, a Nissan Leaf owner. The Leaf is fully electric with a range of 250km and Liz has a charging point installed on her driveway. She is happy with her purchase. “We wanted an electric car as a second family vehicle to do short runs around town. The new technology looked interesting and we wanted to see what owning an electric vehicle would be like. We thought the cost benefits would work for us, and we liked the environmental benefit too. As it’s on a two year lease, if it doesn’t work out, we are not stuck with it.”
Owning an electric car
Liz identifies two strong themes of life as an electric car owner. The first is comfort and convenience: “The Leaf is so quiet that the whole family can talk as we drive. And it’s nippy at low revs – to beat people off at the lights is easy. The range is good enough for shorter motorway trips and days out, and we can de-ice the car using a smartphone app before leaving the house.”
The second theme of owning an electric car is what Liz calls “charging stress”. Before going any great distance you have to know where you will find a car charging point, and it has to be the right sort for your car; they’re not standardized. “Sometimes we arrive at the destination and the charging point is broken, or a petrol vehicle is parked in the way” she says. “It works well for us because we have a charging point installed at home.”
I am itching to get an electric car just like Liz. You may think it’s only because I love cars but I would truly love to reduce our emissions and save all that petrol money. Does it appeal to you? Let me know!
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Additional image credit Relive Media.co.uk via Unsplash