As the UK emerges from lockdown, we have all had time to reflect on our lifestyle choices.
From shopping locally to being increasingly mindful of household waste or limiting household energy consumption, there is no question that many of us across the country have introduced behaviours into our routines that have had an environmental upside.
As the Government, businesses and people across the nation look to build on this foundation and put sustainability at the heart of the UKs recovery from the pandemic, theres no question that transport has been a prominent theme of this discussion.
Its not surprising given the striking scenes of empty airports and motorways over these past months. According to Cabinet Office data, the first weeks of lockdown saw road travel fall by some 73% to levels last seen in 1955. Cities and urban environments have particularly felt a benefit, recording noticeable improvements in air quality.
So, as the Government consults on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035 or earlier, the lockdown has only served to encourage acceleration to a more sustainable future.
But this isnt a change that you need to wait fifteen years to consider. Whether youre a one-car family or a business with a thousand-strong fleet, electric vehicles (EVs) offer an opportunity to deliver environmental benefits for our communities today, as well as a whole host of other advantages.
As fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids when driven in electric mode all have zero tailpipe emissions, this makes them greener, cleaner and better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars helping to deliver a significant air quality benefit across towns and cities.
In addition, with more and more of the UKs electricity coming from renewable sources lockdown saw the UK running coal-free for the longest period recorded, of 67 days which makes EVs even more environmentally friendly.
To support the renewables transition, drivers smart charge their EVs at home using a time of use tariff. Smart charging can help reduce the impact of EVs on the electricity system, whilst simultaneously creating benefits for consumers and maximising the use of clean, renewable electricity.
On the money
But being environmentally minded isnt the only factor when it comes to vehicle choice, with financials, of course, being a key consideration. Thankfully, from initial purchase to maintenance, there are numerous savings that you can make over the lifetime of EV ownership.
Fully electric vehicles can cost from as little as 1p per mile to run, compared to 8-17p per mile for petrol and diesel cars. This means you can travel 200 miles for just 2 in a fully electric vehicle.
EVs have lower maintenance and service costs which offer great day-to-day savings too. With fewer moving parts in the vehicle, there is less wear and tear, less stress on the motor and fewer parts susceptible to damage resulting in fewer trips to the garage.
And you dont have to wait until youre on the road to start saving. The Governments Plug-in Car Grant offers up to 3,000 off the price of an eligible zero-emission electric car, and there is up to 8,000 available off the price of a new electric van using the Plug-in Van Grant. If youre not looking to buy brand new, EVs also are a growing second-hand market which makes electric cars an even more affordable option.
All about choice
If the financials sound appealing, but a lack of models to choose from is causing hesitation, think again!
EVs dont require compromise on performance or choice and there are options to suit a wide variety of driving needs and lifestyles, from SUVs and sports cars to family hatchbacks. People can be surprised to hear there are more than 100, fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars and vans currently available in the UK, with many more due to be released.
Whatever the style, the range is understandably a factor that neither businesses nor motorists want to compromise on.
But with many of the latest electric cars able to travel over 200 miles on a single charge, you can be confident your EV will get you where you need to go. Whilst commuting may feel like a memory for many people at the moment, as we begin to get back into work it is worth bearing in mind that the average commute is about 15 miles easily covered by a fully electric or plug-in hybrid car.
Leading the charge
Whether youre nipping to the office or heading on a long journey, charging your EV at home or on the go has never been easier.
Almost every UK motorway service station now has a rapid charge point, allowing you to charge up to 80% of the battery in under an hour. These contribute to more than 33,900 public charge point connectors at over 12,200 locations across the UK.
For the majority of EV drivers who benefit from the convenience of charging at home, the Governments Electric Vehicles Homecharge Scheme Grant offers up to 350 towards the installation of a dedicated domestic charge point. Alongside this, the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme is available for local authorities to contribute to the cost of installing on-street charging solutions for drivers without a driveway or off-street parking, to ensure there are facilities to accommodate all EV drivers.
A net-zero future
These advantages, combined with the environmental benefits for both local communities and the UKs net-zero ambitions, mean EVs are rapidly becoming the norm for drivers who want an economical and environmentally friendly car, that still offers high performance.
Reflecting on Covid-19, like many industries, it has been a challenging period for the car industry, but with dealerships open again, were confident that the EV market will go from strength to strength. Electric mobility is a robust trend that is only growing in influence and people will continue to opt for EVs as part of a more sustainable lifestyle.
To play a part in a more sustainable future, making the switch to electric is a step you can take today.
Photo Credit – Pixabay