Electric cars have come out of the science fiction thrillers in our everyday lives. They are everywhere. Those who are ready to make the leap to an all-electric car, to hybrid gasoline, and to electric cars are a good alternative. Millions of hybrids have been sold and many millions are waiting to be sold.
Electric cars are in fashion
Pure electric vehicles are surely gaining a foothold in the market. Last year, some 13,000 electric vehicles were sold in Britain alone. This is not a number that breaks the world, but enough to justify broader infrastructure and greater R&D investment in new models of electric cars. Two things that could stop a buyer of the electric vehicle from buying are its cost and lack of sufficient charging stations.
Cost of electric cars
The growing popularity of electric vehicles is bound to change the cost dynamics of these vehicles. The price of electric cars is dropping with each passing year. The best examples of this change are reflected in the current prices of the electric version of Mitsubishi Outlander and Renault Zoe. In fact, prices are falling and in the next five years, the premium charged for the electric version of the standard or hybrid cars could disappear.
Electric car charging infrastructure
This has been the second biggest hurdle. Most electric cars have, at best, a range of 100 miles before they need a charging station. This infrastructure already exists in and around the major cities of most developed countries. Certainly not as convenient as stopping at a petrol station to fill the tank, most electric charging points have the capacity to charge two cars at a time, but with 3000 charging stations in the UK alone, it has become feasible to travel long distances with electric cars. In the UK alone, there are 700 quick-change stations that will charge your car to 80% in just half an hour.
One obstacle is that each manufacturer has chosen a different type of connector. There is a great need for all electric car manufacturers to standardise on a single connector, just as all petrol and diesel vehicles can be filled with the same nozzle worldwide. With seven different types of connectors in use for different electric vehicles, one cannot be sure if the connector used in your car will be available at the charging point on your route. A word of advice: don’t head to a charging station without checking the Zap Map before any trip, as it lists this information.
How to load your car
It’s always a good idea to hire an electrician to check if your circuit will be able to withstand the load of a regular night load. If you can’t, then work with him to increase the capacity. Once this is done, you can leave your car to charge it during the night while it sleeps. You don’t have to do this alone. Not only can you get a grant from the government to defray these expenses, many manufacturers will do the installation for you as part of your electric car purchase package. If you don’t have parking in your home, garage or office, most governments in the developed world will give you a subsidy to set up a public collection point near your residence or office. You can supplement overnight charging with daytime charging at public charging points.
At public charging points there are two types of charging: fast charging, which lasts between three and four hours, and fast charging, which lasts about half an hour. Too many fast charges are not recommended, as they reduce the life of the battery.
Are electric cars the wave of the future?
The answer is definitely yes. The pioneers who have taken the step are now paving the way for the rest of us. With governments encouraging consumers through tax breaks and subsidies and manufacturers competing with each other to create batteries with ever longer lifetimes, one can only imagine that in a decade or two we could have electric cars that would need to be charged every thousand miles or so. Then all I would need is a day-to-day charge. Then we can save our fossil fuels for future generations to obtain important petrochemicals for their daily use.