Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Electric Cars
Wednesday, 27th October 2021
Benefits of Electric Vehicles (EV)
- Lower Running Costs
Charging an electric car with a 60kWh battery at home will cost, depending on where you live, between £9 and £9.90 and provide you with about 200 miles of driving range. Compare that to a car that runs on petrol, where fuel roughly costs about 16p per mile, you’re looking at £32 per 200 miles*. Although that doesn’t seem like much, that’s actually an increase of 255%.
You should maintain your electric vehicle with an MOT and service just like any other car, but repairs could be minimal as there’s fewer moving parts and no emissions to test. Battery issues can be expensive if they’re not covered by the warranty, however the price of batteries is slowly declining.
- No Fuel Emissions
Fully electric vehicles don’t have engines, instead they’re powered by a large battery and driven by an electric motor. And because there’s no engine, there’s no exhaust pipe and no fuel emissions which makes driving an electric car a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
It’s important to think about how your electric vehicle is charged. Unless your home runs on renewable energy, you’re more likely to charge your car using the National Grid. The National Grid transports electricity generated from renewable sources like wind farms and solar powers as well as energy from nuclear, coal and gas. So, the system isn’t entirely emission-free yet but it’s a big step forward to cutting your carbon footprint.
- No Road Tax & Congestion Charges
Road tax is formally known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). VED is calculated based on the year the vehicle was registered, its list price and the CO2 tailpipe emissions. Pure battery electric vehicles are tax free because of their status as zero-emission vehicles, whereas plug-in hybrid vehicles must pay a reduced road tax rate.
The savings don’t stop there, with all fully electric vehicles and most hybrids even exempt from congestion charges as they qualify for an incentive called the Cleaner Vehicle Discount. It offers a 100% discount for vehicles that have a minimum 20-mile electric-only driving range and emit no more than 75kg/km of CO2.
- Reduced Noise
Electric cars are much quieter to drive than petrol and diesel alternatives. They’re not completely silent though, you’ll hear some noise generated from wind resistance and the electric car tyres when driving at higher speeds as well as a slight ‘whoosh’ sound from the battery powered engine.
All electric and hybrid models are fitted with an Acoustic Vehicle Alter System (AVAS) so the vehicles make a sound when they’re reversing or travelling under 12mph. This safety feature is to ensure pedestrians can hear when an electric or hybrid vehicle is nearby.
Electric vehicles deliver their power straight to the wheels, which means they can accelerate from zero to their top speed without changing a single gear. And since electric cars don’t need to change gear, all torque produced is available from zero rpm and you can really tell the difference when you put your foot down.
This is why it’s so important to have the right electric car tyres. The tyres need to support the heavy weight of the car, but also provide plenty of grip to the road when you accelerate.
Disadvantages of Electric Vehicles (EV)
- Range Anxiety
When electric cars were first introduced, the distance they could cover on a single battery charge was much lower than what we’d normally cover driving a diesel or petrol car. An electric car’s range would struggle to reach further than 100 miles on a full charge which just isn’t enough for many drivers.
But as technology progresses, we’re more likely to see electric cars reach about 200 miles on a single charge. And this milestone makes it easier for electric cars to challenge combustion engine vehicles going forward.
- Charging Points
You never have to drive too far to fill up your petrol or diesel car because fuel stations are always readily available around the country. However, the number of charging points for electric vehicles just doesn’t compare. Although we’re seeing more and more charging points being installed, with some of our HiQ centres fitted with EV chargers, the charging infrastructure needs to be massively improved before it can handle more of the general public driving electric cars. If there are a few charging points at your local supermarket then it isn’t going to clear the backlog if most of us drive electric cars.
- Charging Time
It goes without saying that charging your car is nowhere near as quick as filling it up with petrol. The time it takes to charge your car changes with every model and how powerful your charger is, with the quickest time as little as 30 minutes or even longer than 12 hours.
A BMW i3 is charged from 0-80% after about 40 minutes when charged with 50kW at a Rapid charging (DC) station, however charging a Hyundai Ioniq Electric take 12 hours to charge using a three-pin socket. You can buy a home wall charger for around £500 which can produce between 15 and 30 miles of charge every hour. No doubt we’ll see a rapid change in charging times as more car manufacturers make the switch from producing combustion engine vehicles to electric.
- Purchase Price
There are a few different types of electric vehicles available, but when we talk about a battery powered electric vehicle it’s definitely clear that they are more expensive to buy than tradition diesel and petrol cars. Prices for a brand-new Volvo XC40 with a 1.5 litre engine start at £25,885 whereas prices for the equivalent XC40 recharge start at £48,300 (as of October 2021). That’s a huge leap and one that’s hard to ignore.
A new car loses around 40% of its value as you drive it off the forecourt and by the end of the first year. With that in mind, it’s hard to see many people investing in an electric car until the used car market expands.
- Heavier Load
Electric cars are much heavier than petrol and diesel cars because of their heavy batteries. When driving an electric car, you’ll notice they feel a little heavy going around corners and changing direction despite the rapid acceleration.
To support the heavier load, electric cars need specialist wheels with reinforced sidewalls that can extend the car’s driving range and ensure proper handling. You can find your tyre's load index information as part of your tyre's sidewall markings, and make use Dunlop's car tyre load index chart.
*energy and fuel costs can differ over time.