Is the World Shifting to Electric Cars? Does It Make Sense to Do it Now?
Governments and prognosticators alike have been making strident calls for moving from a reliance on fossil fuels to using electric vehicles. The spanner in the works has always been the cost of doing so. Whilst the likes of Elon Musk are grabbing the headlines over things like the Tesla Model 3, not everyone can afford these vehicles, which cost upwards of £41,000 ($46,000) in the UK, with other markets not far off this mark. Is it the right moment to make your next auto an electric one? Or is it still too soon?
How Expensive Are Electric Cars?
The cost of electric cars has been reducing. This reflects the reduction in the price to manufacture the batteries, which are a critical component. Here are a couple of examples in the UK:
Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance Life – This smaller size auto has a 263-mile effective range on a full charge, precise steering, rear-wheel drive, and quick acceleration. It can get to 99 miles per hour and will go from 0 to 62 miles in just 7.3 seconds.
The UK list price is £33,125 ($43,916 in dollars). Other markets will vary.
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus – Updated recently, this Tesla has pleasing style cues, a 267-mile range on one charge, and precise driving features. There are many safety options inside that prevent accidents by correcting bad driving or accounting for another driver on a collision trajectory. There is also an extra package that provides a larger capacity battery and a second engine too.
The UK list price is £42,990 ($57,015) with the extra distance package available for an additional £6,500 ($8,621). Prices elsewhere will differ.
One of the proponents of going electric in the UK is ElectriX. They support this movement and help car buyers to learn more about electric cars. They know that this creates a trickle-down effect with other people encouraged to follow suit.
Are There Enough Charging Stations Globally?
Charging stations are growing with new installations all the time. The ratio of electric vehicles (EVs) to charging stations is how this is measured. Some countries are doing better than others with the proliferation of public-facing, corporate, and other station installations. However, just like all new developments, it takes time.
Charging stations with the capacity to charge just a single vehicle are uncommon. Usually, there is a bank of them in a row. This allows companies to purchase several EVs and know they can all be recharged overnight, rather than one by one.
While the UK stands at a 10:1 ratio of EVs to charging stations, South Korea is leading with 3:1 whereas the Netherlands is going well at 5:1. Other countries generally lag.
The UK government, for instance, has a couple of schemes to help fund the creation of charging points nationwide. However, while this is over £950m ($1.3bn), it has still seen the ratio decline. More private sector investment is needed to help create ubiquitous charging stations to encourage the take up of EVs.
Should You Get a Charging Station Installed at Home?
Another option is to have a charging station installed at home. It reduces the reliance on plugging the car in at the office to recharge it or waiting around while it’s plugged into a public charging station. Charging stations aren’t cheap. To help with this, some governments including the UK have provided schemes or grants. These reimburse for a portion of the cost, up to certain imposed limits, as long as approved installers and specific charging stations are used. Any old ones won’t do. Rather than being limited to only the public stations available – and whatever they deemed to charge – people can take back control by having their own.
Is There Sufficient Electrical Power Supply to Supply Electric Vehicles?
Consumer confidence is important with EVs. When they’re too expensive or finding a charging station requires an app or circumnavigating the globe to do so, that’s a problem. It becomes a little like the chicken and the egg situation; it holds back the adoption of electric cars. So, governments are incentivised to help to solve that problem. The same goes for the electrical power supply too.
Greater Electricity Usage in the Future
While recent global efforts to encourage people to conserve power by using eco-friendly devices and turning them off at night have been going well, electric vehicles now encourage greater reliance on the electricity grid. However, this is still better for the economy than continuing with vehicles that rely on using fossil fuels.
Will There Be Sufficient Power Supply Availability?
Currently, there are no power shortage issues in most countries. Some countries do make arrangements to purchase excess production from their neighbours though. With an increasing number of people plugging their EVs in overnight to charge, there is the potential for electricity to run short. However, the demand is still far less than what’s used during the daytime. Therefore, it’s unlikely that this night-time use will cause future issues. Capacity can also be increased to match the trend towards electric cars too.
Are the Running Costs Lower or Is It a Myth?
Some people are cynical and believe that the suggestion that EVs are cheaper to operate is untrue. However, the facts speak for themselves. The price of car fuel in different countries varies widely. This is reflected in levies and taxes added on. For example, fuel costs less in the USA than it does in the UK. This is helpful because the US is more spread out. However, it also makes EVs easier to justify for UK people because it creates a wider gap between the cost to charge an EV’s battery and the petrol (gasoline) cost at the pump.
In the UK, petrol (gasoline) autos can cost upwards of 15 pence (20 cents) for each mile driven. For the smaller electric vehicles, that’s reduced to under 4 pence (5.5 cents). The difference is alarming on the positive end. It is less pronounced for Americans due to the lower fuel costs, but it’s still enough to have previously encouraged going to hybrid vehicles, and now to fully electric ones.
Levies for Older Vehicles Coming into Effect
Whether drivers like it or not, many countries are now tacking on a cost to drive into densely populated cities with an old, inefficient vehicle. The idea is that it is a disincentive to continue owning and using a polluting car. In Europe, there are regulations relating to how efficient a car must be to not fall foul of their standards. Other regions or countries around the world have similar laws now too. The advent of additional costs tacked on for using older vehicles encourages updating the car to something that doesn’t hurt the planet. People should see this as a clarion call to action.
It makes increasing sense to follow the trend and purchase or lease an electric vehicle. While various government incentive plans and encouragements suggest it’s a good idea, more young people are purchasing their first car too. Many are focused on being environmentally friendly, recycling, and so forth. Therefore, the movement to electric vehicles matches this trend and should only increase.
While regulations over the abandonment of new sales of fossil-fuel-based vehicles may come into force in a few years in many countries, likely, the outcome will already be clear by that point. Consumers should have embraced non-polluting transportation options way before then.