Electric vehicles: Suffolk expert on key talking points for would-be buyers

It is very easy to charge your electric vehicle and use renewable energy against global warming and

What are some of the concerns of would-be electric car buyers? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned by the government by 2030, meaning electric vehicles will soon become the most common option for brand new car buyers. 

But what are some of the concerns and reservations for would-be electric vehicle (EV) buyers as the motoring shift gathers pace? 

In an interview with this newspaper, James Patchett, from Stowmarket-based electric car specialists Ev-Lution, discussed some of the key issues. 

James Patchett, Ev-Lution. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

James Patchett, from Stowmarket-based electric car company Ev-Lution - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Cost

Electric cars do cost more to buy outright than their petrol or diesel counterparts because EV batteries are expensive to make.

However, prices are expected to drop in the future, and Mr Patchett said people have to consider running costs and the fact that EVs are likely to cost less over the course of ownership. 

"The vehicles are much more efficient to run so you get more energy out of the money you put into it," he said. 

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"The average petrol car is probably about 25% efficient, diesel vehicles are not much better, maybe 35%. Electric vehicles are around 85% to 90% efficient. 

"You've got to think of running costs as well. These cars don't really break down like we're used to with petrol and diesel cars. 

"You'll see your money back. Prices are high at the moment, with all cars, due to the lack of microchips and new manufacturers have shut down production lines.

"So the values of second-hand cars are artificially high. I think as soon as those production lines get going again, you're going to see people ditching diesels, and the values are going to plummet." 

'Range anxiety' 

The distance an electric car can travel on a single charge varies, but many models are now claiming a range of 250-300+ miles on one charge.

Again, more electric vehicles with even greater ranges are expected in the future - but is that enough to satisfy the concerns of would-be buyers?

Mr Patchett said: "What I say to people is, 'how many miles do you do in a day?' because 80% of all journeys in Britain are less than 20 miles.

"People need to have a reality check. A lot of people say something like, 'Well, once every three years I drive to Scotland to visit my great auntie', and of course, you would have to make a few stops on that journey. People love to quote the worst-case scenario." 

New charging ports could pave the way for more electric cars in Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

New charging ports could pave the way for more electric cars in Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Charging points - are there enough? 

The UK currently has around 30,000 public charging points, and it is estimated there are around 420,000 pure electric cars on the roads of the UK.

This led to the government recently announcing plans to increase the number of charging points to 300,000 by 2030. 

The Department for Transport said the £450million local electric vehicle infrastructure fund would focus on charger hubs and on-street chargers. 

Mr Patchett said: "It is so simple for companies, for the council, for the home user to install charging points because electricity is everywhere. You imagine if you were trying to build a new petrol station, the amount of hoops you would have to jump through would be unbelievable. 

"Putting in a new charging point can be done in a few days, especially if there are already some there. Installing another pump is easy and you'll find infrastructure will grow hand in glove with the uptake of electric car sales. You're going to see them more and more. 

"The people who drive electric cars know where these points are and know that there isn't an issue. It's the people who don't drive them, because they're not looking for them, they are not seeing them."

Will an electric car last?

Most electric vehicle batteries have warranties of around eight years, or 100,000 miles, but are expected to last much longer with their lifespan continuing to improve.

Mr Patchett said: "Most manufacturers give their batteries about an eight-year warranty. They don't do that with petrol or diesel cars. So they've got confidence in those cars. 

"Minimum warranties these days, electric car manufacturers are putting five years on, most are putting eight. We've only really seen that with Kia and Hyundai on the petrol and diesel side. So that in itself makes a statement really that they put longer warranties on the electric cars than they do on the petrol and diesel."