ST is in favour of electric cars. More and more Thornbury people have them and love them. The technology is improving all the time, but we feel electric cars have come of age, and are a real, practical and fun option for lots of people. There are now around 90,000 electric cars on UK roads at the end of 2016, compared to 3,500 in 2013.
They look the same as other cars, but they are much quieter. They produce no air pollution in the streets, but the electricity has to be generated somehow so their total impact depends on how the electricity is generated. If you have solar panels then you can use them to partially charge up your electric car, so your driving is even cleaner. We believe that they are a key part of the world’s move away from reliance on fossil fuels (in this case oil).
We are holding an Electric Car Day on 1 April 2017 to promote electric cars. On the morning of Electric Car Day there will be a selection of electric cars and their local owners in Thornbury shopping precinct, so you can talk to owners about how easy they are to use, why they like them and discuss the practicalities and the advantages and disadvantages.
Electric cars are typically much cheaper to run and maintain than petrol or diesel cars (including hybrids). They produce no pollution and hardly any noise in the street. They look like petrol cars, but have no exhaust pipe, gears, clutch or starter motor - you just press the accelerator pedal and they go. For urban journeys and in traffic they are much more fun.
See the Next Green Car website for reviews of electric and hybrid cars.
Electric cars are brilliant for shorter journeys, i.e. round trips up to around 70 miles, especially in urban traffic. Different models will vary, but broadly, apart from being environment-friendly, their advantages include:
They are less well suited to long distances and motorway driving. But with recharging points at motorway services, they can do occasional long drives. Most electric cars are small or small family size. Different models will vary, but broadly, their disadvantages are:-
There are larger, more powerful electric cars, with spectacular performance and range, but also hefty price tags. It is less clear that these are environment-friendly, but it depends what the alternatives are.
The range of an electric car depends on how many batteries it carries. Batteries are expensive, so having more batteries increases the cost of the car to buy, and to replace the batteries. Having more batteries increases the weight, and reduces the luggage space. Most makers offer a choice of how many batteries, to give a range from around 70 miles up to possibly 200 miles. ???
If you buy a new electric car, the price will generally include installation of a charging point by your drive for you. Otherwise, there is currently a government grant available for installing a charging point for home or workplaces. This charging point will recharge your car in a few hours.
For most journeys to work, the shops, the school and so on, you will probably want to recharge at home. For longer journeys you need to be able to find public recharging points. Charging at home is cheaper than at a public recharging point.
There is a growing number of charging points in public car-parks and motorway service stations. A fast charger (such as those at motorway services) will take half to one hour to recharge your car. Different cars need different types of charger. There are websites and mobile phone apps to show you where the public charging points are and what type they are, and to pay for the recharging.
To recharge at a public point you need to register with the relevant network that manages the point. Some chargers are free, but for most you set up an account and pay per charge or per 30-minute session by using a mobile phone app.
Electric cars can be charged from an ordinary household 3-pin 13 amp socket, but recharging will then take several hours.