Electric vehicles – just a fad or tomorrow’s future today?

The future is now here. Electric cars are everywhere. You may not have even noticed unless one has stealthily surprised you as it silently glided past. But is it a passing fad or will they slowly fade away as quietly as they roll down the street? Are they worth the money and are they really as good for the environment as they appear at first glance? Let’s take a look.

Just how eco are electric cars?

Let’s start with the manufacturing. The latest studies show that the environment cost of constructing an electric vehicle (EV) is actually higher than a normal car. As a headline, this could put you off but bear with us, it’s not that bad. The reason for this is the battery. It’s massive and extremely complicated.

But the good news is that once the vehicle is constructed, you start to see huge advantages. Unlike traditional cars, which spew emissions on every drive, with electric cars there aren’t any. You can cruise around all day and not worry about your car polluting the environment with every mile driven.

The major criticism with electric cars is that although the car itself doesn’t burn any fuel, some will have been burnt to generate the power you charge the car with. That’s true to a certain extent. A fully electric car will need to be charged somewhere – normally done at home overnight. You’ll need to get a charging point installed when you buy the car. Most manufacturers offer deals on this to keep the costs down and it means no more queuing up at the petrol station again.

Going for greenest green

To maximise the green potential of your car, you would need to make sure you are signed up to a green-only energy tariff at home. That way, all the electricity in your house and, subsequently, your car comes from renewal sources (wind, solar, etc). Job done. Away from home, you are a little more limited on where you charge it but every month, more EV charge points powered by renewal energy are popping up all over the country.

In terms of cost to power it really depends on your home energy tariff. For maximum impact, there is some great technology available which will only charge the car overnight when no one else is drawing power from the grid and when your cost per KW/h is at the lowest. This can mean you could completely charge your car for a pocket full of change rather than a wad of notes down at the petrol station. Not only are you saving the planet, but you’re also saving cash at the same time – making it one of those rare occasions when you can please David Attenborough and Martin Lewis at the same time. Nice work.

How far will a battery take me?

The average range of current EVs is around 200 miles per charge. That’s great for zipping around town and short trips. But if you are making longer journeys, you will need to plan your route around locations where you can plug in and charge en route. The cars are actually smart enough to work this out for you when you use the built-in sat nav and will plan in when you need stop at the nearest charging stations.

The technology has come along in leaps and bounds in the last few years. Now there are plenty of models to choose from depending on what you need from a car. Whether that’s a large SUV for cramming all your golf gear in or the perfect little nip-around car for slotting into those tiny spaces on crowded streets. There’s plenty to choose from.

Powerful cars but with no vroom!

Electric vehicles are so quiet that newer models have devices fitted which emit noise when you are travelling very slowly or in reverse to help prevent pedestrians from jumping out in front of you without looking. If you love the feel of power, don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels. Many of the higher-end models really shift when you hit the pedal. But please remember to drive responsibly at all times.

Is it just a passing fad?

The simple answer here is – no. The government has announced that all new cars produced after 2030 will need to be powered, at least in part, by electricity. You can get in early and stay saving the environment now – and possibly a bit of cash in the long run.

The best thing to do is check out which models are available from your favourite car marques and head down to your local dealer for a chat and take one for a spin.

Get your electric vehicle covered

Not all insurers provide cover for electric vehicles. Saga Car Insurance includes cover for a range of electric vehicles. We currently have an offer to get 10% cashback when you take out a new policy with Saga Car Insurance. Find out more.

Saga’s car insurance policies are unique products designed by us specifically for our customers. They are underwritten by a number of carefully selected insurers that provide high standards of quality and service.

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