4 Months Living with an Electric Vehicle

25th July, 2022
Author: Full time Climate Change Officer, part time Low Carbon Volunteer, striving to improve her lifestyle to live more sustainably.

Buying an electric vehicle (EV) was something I had considered for a while, but for a long time the cost and range wasn’t what I needed. I had also looked at buying a hydrogen car, but until the refill network improves and vehicle prices reduce it will not be an option for now. Over the past couple of years more suitable Battery EV options had come to the market, and after some thorough research I found the ideal EV for me with a 200+ mile range and a reasonable price tag (thanks to the government grant available at the time).

For me, it was the perfect time to move from a petrol car to electric. Initially I wanted to reduce my environmental impact by having a car which has a smaller carbon footprint. EV appealed to me due to zero tailpipe emissions and how they contribute towards improving air quality whilst reducing noise pollution significantly. But, since having the car I have discovered other perks, with the biggest being able to save money! Benefits also include free parking in certain areas, low costs for charging (or even free in some places), able to charge using green energy suppliers offering 100% renewable electricity, quiet peaceful driving, more space inside and responsive performance. Another pro which I did not consider was having no concerns about driving into low emission zones, albeit I usually use public transport or cycle into my nearest city.

Post pandemic I would commute by train. Life has slowed down in the past 2 years, but as things normalise again and my routine returns to the pre-pandemic norm, by swapping my previous travel habits to using only EV I will save on average £2000 a year! I’m lucky as I have access to free charging most of the time. Although, occasionally I also use my local residency EV pass (I appreciate this has not been adopted in every local authority area), charging the 58KWh battery to full at the local EV hub costs £8.70, and gets me a range of around 230 miles. With the current fuel prices, my efficient petrol car would’ve cost me £30+ in petrol for the same distance! This demonstrates the stark difference in travel costs. With the added benefit of no road tax and less parts to go wrong once it needs a service, it is a pleasant and welcome change in my annual outgoings.

I did suffer from some ‘range anxiety’ before setting off on a recent long-distance journey (with a full car of people and their luggage!). However, we managed to get to our destination just fine. The journey was a breeze and as we stopped and waited for the car to charge (approximately 1 hour on a rapid charger), we explored Berwick upon Tweed, had coffee, ate lunch and relaxed. The ‘Pre-EV’ me would probably never stop on route to my destination, so the need to stop and charge will encourage me to explore more places. Another bonus of the trip was… our Airbnb had a free charging point!

The charging infrastructure around my home and place of work is very good, but after my first long-distance journey I realise there are areas where the charger network is currently lacking. My top tip for a long journey in an EV would be to plan your journey ahead of time, identify rapid chargers along the way as well as backups in case your selected chargers are occupied or out of service. I would recommend selecting larger towns or cities with multiple chargers, so that there is plenty of choice and plenty to do while your car charges.

EV technology is continuously advancing. I look forward to seeing future EV improvements which aim to protect our environment further. In particular, the eco credentials associated to manufacturing processes, battery types and efficiency, car weight and sustainable materials.

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”

Dr Jane Goodall, Scientist and Activist