Electric cars have gone from a gimmick to a legitimate option quickly over recent years. Before, they ran so slowly, and for such short distances, that they weren’t a viable alternative. Now, every major manufacturer, from Kia to General Motors and Nissan, want in on the action, and it’s easy to see why. The technology is really hotting up, and with a push away from international oil markets and towards domestic electricity options, the electric car is getting the political backing it needs to. So here is it: you’re looking for a new car, you’ve heard all the good things about electric vehicles, but you’re not convinced, so how do you go about choosing between electric or diesel?
First up, you have to actually buy the car. Both are available on finance, so that’s not a point of contention, but the cost of the car will differ. While technology is still new, upfront the electric car is going to cost more than the diesel, and most likely be smaller. But it doesn’t stop there. The electric car is exempt from congestion charge in London, so if you’re regularly driving around the centre of the capital, you might find the difference worthwhile. They’re even currently exempt from road tax.
The difference in power efficiency between diesel and electric is significant. Electric energy turns around 60% of its stored energy into power at the wheels, whereas diesel turns only around 20%. That’s not a small difference! So you plug into an AELs electric vehicle charging station, how much can you expect to get out of it? They will take a few hours to charge – not quite the same as rocking up at the petrol station and filling the car – but you should get around 120 to 150 miles from one single charge. But for around only £3, or 2p per mile, that seems well worth the wait.
If you’re a fan of the deep, growl of an engine, chances are the electric is not going to be for you. If, on the other hand, you want to feel as light as a fairy, like you’re floating rather than driving, and have literally no engine noise to compete with, the electric car is the one for you.
The political pressure to move away from diesel and towards electric is obviously not the only global incentive. The green alternative is a big draw for many, as we all become increasingly aware of our carbon footprints and our impact on the environment. Obviously, the creation of electricity is not entirely green yet, although the government move towards nuclear, hydro, and wind power could make electric cars completely emission-free in the not-too-distant future. The truth of the matter is, even though electricity is not entirely green, the reduced exhaust pipe emissions make it a feel-good alternative.
While the upfront cost of electric cars is significantly higher than that of diesel, running costs and efficiency make it a viable alternative in the current market.