The cars in my 1970s childhood left clouds of choking exhaust fumes. So, when my Ladybird book of cars told me that the picture of a tiny electric car was the future, it gave me hope. The question now is: Are Electric Vehicles (EVs) still the way forwards for a greener future?
I have an EV – I drive a Nissan Leaf to avoid polluting the streets where people live with fumes or noise.
Many people are put off by the limited range of an EV. However, range anxiety doesn’t last long as you get used to driving an EV. My early EV’s 100-mile range is fine for me, but the larger batteries in newer models give you options to go further if you need to. New EVs have an average range of around 260, with some as high as 412 miles from a single charge.
The number of charging points is also increasing up and down the country. For instance, you can now charge in parks or whilst visiting the gym or doing your shopping at the supermarket. You can find a map of charge points here: Map of charging points for electric car drivers in UK: Zap-Map.
Although the initial cost of an EV may be higher than a petrol car, they are far cheaper to run, as they have fewer parts to break and need less servicing. Your costs are also known, and you are not at the mercy of rising fuel prices.
The best cars I have ever driven were both EVs. There is no manual gearbox and regenerative braking make them easy to drive around town. They are also much quieter and there is less to go wrong with the simple electric motors.
The need for rare metals is an issue but is likely to be solved by new battery types on the way to market. Also, when cells in an EV battery fail, they can be replaced without replacing the whole battery. Finally, as renewables reduce the electric grid’s emissions more each year, EVs will also become more and more climate friendly.
Are EVs still the future? The electric car future that Ladybird promised is better than the past. However, cycling shares almost all of the advantages of EVs and improves health, reduces congestion, and uses a lot less space in cities.
In the government’s National Travel Survey 2020, 59% of car trips were under five miles long. Many of us could cycle this distance with ease. In my view, the future is people walking or cycling and scootering along segregated lanes shaded by avenues of trees, with the odd EV for larger loads, or for people with specific needs. For example, knee trouble makes cycling hard for me. I just hope we don’t have to wait 40 years.