There’s no Reason to Buy a Petrol or Diesel Car

We are now at a point where there is almost no reason for anybody buy a new petrol or diesel car. If you’re buying a new car it should be electric. With decent battery ranges, a model to suit most needs available and cost of ownership parity with ICE cars your next car should be electric.

Owning an EV

Now 4 months into Nissan Leaf ownership I’ve experienced most driving situations and types of journey. The 30kW Leaf I have was replaced by a new model 2 years ago and is, in the fast moving world of electric vehicles, now considered a low range car. At about 120 miles range on a good day I have no problem doing a day’s driving lessons charging overnight then with an hour’s top up on the slow charger while I’m having lunch.

Long journeys have been a pleasure. I have realised it takes longer to do the miles on Britain’s roads than we think. I usually need a break before the car is empty and, with a bit of planning ahead, the public rapid charging network is good. So a quick break gets enough electricity in for the next leg of a journey. There have also been unexpected 100 mile round trips to my parents as my father has been ill. With my father foremost in my mind I’ve not even thought about charging. I know where the rapid chargers are and simply stop if I need some juice.

With this experience it becomes plain that with a slight change of habits just about anybody can use an electric vehicle. With 200 mile and more range normal on new vehicles there’s a car to suit just about anybody’s requirements. Although still a bit more expensive to buy, EVs cost so little to run and have such high residual values that cost of ownership is now on parity, if not better, than an ICE car. They are usually high specification models so comparable to top of the range ICE vehicles.

A Car For Every Need

Let’s consider the electric models currently available. This is by no means an extensive list and some may be missed out as new models are being announced on a regular basis, and I might have forgotten some. These are all cars you can order or register an interest in at the time of writing.

Urban Runaround

  • Smart EQ
  • Renault Twizzy
  • VW eUp

Small hatchbacks

  • Renault Zoe
  • Honda e
  • BMW i3
  • Peugeot 208
  • BMW Mini
  • Vauxhall Corsa.

Medium sized hatchbacks

  • Nissan Leaf 40kW
  • Nissan Leaf 64kW
  • VW ID
  • VW eGolf
  • Hyundai Ioniq

Small SUV

  • Hyundai Kona
  • Kia eNiro
  • MG ZS

Mid Size Saloon

  • Tesla Model 3.

Large SUV

  • Jaguar iPace
  • Audi eTron
  • Tesla Model X
  • Mercedes EQC

Large Saloon

  • Tesla Model S

There must be a car in those lists to suit every purpose. Then there’s commercial vehicles. Lots of electric vans are being released and the Nissan eNV200 electric van is well established with a 7 seater in the range. Also camper conversions are available from specialist conversion companies.

There has to be a Maybe

Maybe I’m being a little arrogant, there has to be a maybe to this assertion that everybody buying new should buy an EV. There are two things that cause difficulty at the moment. The first is for people who have no off street parking so cannot charge overnight at home. There are solutions, by chasing councils and making it known you want an EV things can change. We now have excellent Ubitricity urban charging in Portsmouth. It made it possible for me to own an EV. The second reason is the long wait for new electric cars. There may be lots of models available, however, the demand for electric cars is so high if you order one now you’ll probably have to wait until some time in 2020 to get delivery. Most people can wait, some might not be able to.

Used Electric Cars

In this article I’m suggesting new car buyers should buy an EV. The used car market doesn’t have the supply to make it a choice for everybody. The EV with the highest sales since it’s launch in 2011 is the Nissan Leaf. The amount on our roads is small in comparison to ICE cars. Demand is high for them keeping prices high and making them difficult to find used. Currently the prices of used Nissan Leafs is increasing, not many cars increase in value as they get older. Buying a used EV requires some determination to find one. You need to offset the low running costs against the higher price of purchase. If residuals hold up the cost of ownership could still be less than an ICE car.

2025, No Justification For Buying ICE

The market is sorting out the move to EVs quicker than governments. By 2025 new car buyers will not be able to justify to themselves buying a petrol of diesel car. Electric cars will be cheaper to buy and run, battery range will be 300 to 400 miles, public charging will continue to improve. The cost of ownership of ICE cars will be much higher, buyers won’t be able to justify the higher cost of purchase and ownership. This will drive down ICE car demand and hence residual prices which will further increase cost of ownership and consequently lease costs will increase. Buyers won’t want an ICE car if it looks like residual prices are tumbling and by 2030 it will be worth very little as EVs establish themselves.

Fleet buyers buy most of the new vehicles. Businesses want the significant savings possible with EVs.

Cities with little off street parking will have to get on with installing the on street charging network otherwise people won’t want to live and work in them if car ownership is a lot more expensive.

EV charging sign

Technology is Moving Quickly

The rate of change will drive the market. You only have to look how far we’ve come from the original 2011 Nissan Leaf. In just 8 years the Leaf has gone from a 24kW battery to 64kW in essentially the same vehicle. 64kW capacity is giving 200 to 300 miles of range in many EVs. By 2025 the density of batteries will increase further and the purchase cost decrease. New car customers will want these cars that cost less to buy, cost a fraction of the cost of ICE cars to run and have almost no servicing requirement. Because of good residuals lease costs will be lower than ICE cars. By this time a lot more people will have been exposed to EVs and realise they are quiet, fast and comfortable. They will have friends and relatives running them and realise they are simply better vehicles.

Cost of ownership will be the motivating force for EV ownership. The benefits to being kinder to the climate will motivate a lot of people as well. The fact they can run a car on renewable energy and not pollute the air in the place they live will be important.

Buy Electric

My message is simple, if you’re buying a new car buy electric and get a green energy tariff to charge it with. Politicians can sit around making noises for and against de-carbonising the economy buy it’s the market, and it’s consumers, that will drive the change before they do anything with any urgency.

Greener Than The Average Dog

Greener than Wilbur?

We are all becoming aware our lifestyles are causing damage to the planet. There’s lots we can all do now to help improve the situation. Being an Electric Instructor is part of what I’m doing, however, being mildly smug, I’d like to ask am I greener than the average pet dog?

The average dog in the UK lives in a house centrally heated by gas emitting lots of CO2, gets driven to a walk in a polluting petrol or diesel car and eats meat, a big contributor to greenhouse gas through methane from farmed animals. The dog can’t help it and has more important things in it’s life to think off like chasing rabbits in the park rather than climate change.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

What can we do as humans to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions? Let’s consider the first, transport. If you use public transport you might have no choice other than to use a diesel bus or taxi so have little influence over this part of your life. You could consider how you holiday and cut down on air travel. Maybe take that weekend break to a European city by train rather than flying. We’ll let the average dog off here as it probably uses little public transport and rarely flies away on holiday.

Personal Transport

Personal Transport and Workplace

Personal transport can now be emission free on a daily basis. It’s simple, buy an electric car and run it on green energy. I know they are still too expensive for some people but you should have the intention to replace your car with electric as soon as possible.

I hear all the criticisms about EV battery range and understand the concerns. There are plenty of cars available that do at least 120 miles and most people leaving home with a full battery from an overnight charge can easily last a day. The new models being launched are mostly have over 200 miles. 100 miles a day 5 days a week is 26,000 miles a year. If your doing a long journey 50MPH will be the average speed on a UK motorway so that will mean stopping after 2 hours for a rapid charge and rest. I’m a driver trainer, you’ll not convince me anybody should be driving for over 2 hours without a short rest.

I also hear the criticisms about building electric cars creating more CO2 and cobalt mining being unethical. Most of an EV is the same as an ICE car. The motor and drivetrain are very much simpler so if anything, excluding batteries, the EV is greener in manufacture. Like any manufacturing process, manufacturing batteries creates CO2, there’s so much conflicting information about this. It seems that after about 5,000 miles the extra carbon in manufacture is offset by the lack of CO2 emission from driving the car. At the end of an electric cars life the batteries have a second life in electricity grid storage or home power storage systems. Then they can eventually be recycled. Most car manufacturers are now making, or moving towards making, all their EV battery production carbon neutral.

Yes, cobalt used in lithium iron batteries is mined in parts of the world where the health and safety standards are lower and child labour is used. This hasn’t stopped us all buying phones, laptops, tablets, toys and anything with a rechargeable battery in it for many years. If the world had a conscience about this something should have been done a long time ago.

An electric car is still not completely green and we have to find better ways to do personal transport. For the moment running an EV is the best environmental choice. My choice of an EV for my personal transport and work means my emissions from transport are much less than our average dog being driven to the park for a walk in an ICE car.

Fuelling our Homes

The electricity grid is getting cleaner all the time with more renewables being used and less gas and coal. Wind generation is now the cheapest form of power generation which means it’s attracting a lot of investment. Investors know cheap electricity will sell however it’s created. You can switch to a green electricity tariff now. It will probably be about the same cost as dirty electricity. There is no reason not to do it, use my Bulb referral and we both get £50 as well.

Green gas is a bit more difficult. Some suppliers will disclose how much gas they buy from anaerobic digesters which process plant waste using microorganisms to make gas. Think of it as bugs with wind. Gas boilers heating houses are big emitters of greenhouse gases and over time will be replaced with electric heat pumps and heat store systems. It will also get more comparable in cost to use direct electric heaters in homes.

My own home is a flat in a building about 100 years old. It’s difficult to heat being uninsulated with has large rooms and high ceilings. No gas into the building so heating is electric. I choose to use green electricity so even in a very inefficient building my greenhouse emissions for heating are zero. Less than the average dog in a well insulated home heated by gas.

Food for Thought

Another major contributor to greenhouse gas is farmed animals. We have to eat less meat and dairy products if we want to halt climate change.

I choose not to eat meat as much to do with health as the environmental impact. The reality is future generations will have to move to an almost completely plant based diet.

The average dog would react with contempt to a bowl of broccoli rather than a bowl of meat. Thinking about it, if the dog ate the broccoli it would probably contribute further to the methane problem.

Greener than the average dog?

Do you want to be greener than the average dog?

Three simple things will help:

  1. Change to an electric vehicle.
  2. Use a green energy tariff at home.
  3. Eat less meat.

Meet Wilbur

Meet Wilbur, he’s my sister’s family dog. I’d like to thank my sister for letting me use Wilbur’s picture as an example of an average UK pet dog. Wilbur is old and not well now so we should allow him a few carbon extravagances, especially as many of us humans could do better in reducing our emissions.