There was a time when, if you mentioned electric cars, you would be greeted with puzzled looks. Now, the idea of electric cars is becoming so commonplace, you would need to have been hiding under a rock to know nothing about it.
The electric motoring revolution has been gaining momentum slowly but surely over the past few years. Even if you’re not fully signed up to electric motoring, you have probably heard about it.
More and more drivers are swapping to electric; more and more manufacturers are producing electric models. Battery and charging technology is evolving all the time and the environmental benefits are accepted. The UK Government is so convinced of the benefits of EVs (electric vehicles) that it is banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040.
The move over to electric cars is happening; in the future we will all be driving electric.
The serious facts you need to know about electric cars is that they are cheaper to run and are low emission, meaning cleaner and healthier air for us all and more money in driver’s pockets.
However, it’s not all about charge times and battery range. Here’s some fun and unusual facts about electric cars…
The First Electric Car Was Built In 1884…
We think of electric cars as the future; the evolution of motoring from fossil fuel burners to clean, renewable energy. Vehicles using super tech and the latest ideas. However, you might be surprised to know that the idea has been around for centuries, with the very first known electric vehicles created in the 1880s.
This was a time of great innovation and huge strides forward in science and technology. The motorcar itself was just gaining traction towards the end of the 19th century, and the many great thinkers of the time were turning their minds to improving it.
The first crude electric vehicles were built in the early 1830s, predating oil-burners by some years. These early electric vehicles were not that different from carriages, only with electric motors. However it isn’t until the 1870s onwards that electric vehicles became practical.
The first of these truly practical electric prototypes was designed and built by Thomas Parker, a British Victorian innovator who pioneered the new fuel of electricity for use in homes and transport. He worked on electric tramways, batteries and dynamos. His was the first electric vehicle that had the potential to be mass produced and revolutionise transport for Victorian times. Alas, improvements in gas-powered motors soon spelled the end of mass electric travel (until many years later at least).
They Have Low Maintenance and Running Costs…
Traditional diesel or petrol-fuelled cars come with lots of complicated, mechanical moving parts. All of these moving parts can suffer wear and tear and eventually break, meaning costly repairs and maintenance.
Electric cars are essentially built around a battery. They don’t have components like oil, fan belts, air filters, timing belts, head gaskets, cylinder heads, spark plugs or any other mechanical engine parts. Electric motors have as little as one moving part.
This is good news for drivers. However not all running costs are eliminated. You’ll still need to replace light bulbs, windscreen wipers and tires. The batteries themselves are expensive, but with proper use should last a reasonable amount of time. Most manufacturers currently offer a 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on their batteries.
When it comes to running costs, electric cars beat petrol and diesel cars hands down. A full charge can cost as little as £4; saving as much as £100 per 1,000 miles. That adds up to a big saving.
The overall energy consumption for electric cars is also low. On average, an electric car uses 0.18 kWh/mi which translates to 1.75 p/mi (pennies per mile), whereas a petrol-powered one uses 10 p/mi.
Electricity is also shielded from the rise and fall in fuel prices that affects petrol and diesel, often related to the political climate. Electricity is produced domestically, so prices should be more stable.
Electric cars also currently benefit from a number of tax breaks to encourage more people to switch to EVs, which adds up even more savings.
They Are More Expensive Than Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles…
Ok, so electric cars are expensive, due in large part to the cost of the batteries. Even a Nissan Leaf will set you back by around £30,000. The high price tag is enough to put a lot of people off buying an electric car, however, look beyond this and they are still the more economical option.
As we’ve already explored, the running and maintenance costs are significantly reduced and you can currently also take advantage of the Government’s Plug-In Grants to get up to £3,500 off the purchase price.
You’ll also need to take into account the cost of a home charge point. Most charging takes place at home and if you are serious about electric motoring you’ll need to have a dedicated home charge point installed. It’s much safer and more efficient to charge at home this way, rather than just plugging into your usual wall socket. However, there is help available with this too via the Home Chargepoint Scheme.
As EVs become the norm, it is anticipated that the purchase cost of new electric cars will fall. In the meantime, if you can see past the ticket price, you stand to save a lot of money by switching to an electric car. You’ll also have that lovely warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you are doing something good for the planet.
Manufacturing Electric Cars Produces Significant Carbon Emissions…
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more carbon emissions are generated in the production of electric cars compared to conventional cars. Some studies put the level at twice as much.
This is mainly down to the battery production. EV batteries need small amounts of precious metals like lithium and cobalt that are intensive to find and process, and there is a finite amount of them in the earth. However, with the continuing evolution of battery and electric car technology, the EV has the potential to get greener and greener, something fossil fuel-burners can’t boast about.
Overall emissions from electric cars are lower over their lifetime, offsetting the carbon produced in their manufacture.
Tesla Roadster Has The Highest Range Per Charge…
Tesla has been a forerunner in the rise of electric motoring. The Tesla Roadster was groundbreaking on its release – the world’s first all electric supercar with a top speed of 250 mph.
The car can travel 1,000km/620 miles per charge, vastly more than the range achieved by most electric cars (a Nissan Leaf can travel up to 270 miles from a single charge). It can be fully charged in 4 hours from a 220V, 70A outlet and it can gain 80 percent of the charge in about 30 minutes.
Going for a purchase price of $200,000 though, it’s probably not for your average EV driver. That’s why you’ll find more Nissans and Renaults rolling off the forecourt…
Nissan Leaf Is The Most Successful Electric Car…
Released in late 2010, the Nissan Leaf has been sold in over 35 countries and has recorded global sales of more than 300,000 units. This is the car that brought electric motoring to the mainstream.
There’s a reason so many drivers love it. The Leaf has been proven to be reliable, economical and practical.
The choice of battery sizes and a well supported charging network have been key points in its popularity. It also looks like any other modern hatchback, making it seamless for even the eco cynics to switch. It’s a great choice for those new to electric motoring.
Electric Cars Were The Most Popular Vehicles In The 19th And Early 20th Centuries
Electric vehicles were actually invented before the internal combustion engine became the dominant force in transport.
In the mid 1800s several early types of electric cars were invented and into the early 1900s they were the most popular vehicle with tens of thousands sold. The internal combustion engine was in its early stages of development and could not efficiently propel automobiles.
The electric cars were smoother, quieter and cleaner. They also didn’t need a hand-crank to start them up, as gas vehicles did at the time, and drivers didn’t have to do any gear changing. They became popular in busy cities, where their short range was less of an issue and electric battery powered vehicles were a common sight on the streets of London at this time.
The initial surge of success of electric cars began to wane by the beginning of the 20th century, and they began to be overtaken by petrol-powered cars. There were many factors that brought this about, including: the discovery of large petroleum reserves, improvements in road infrastructure that made long range travel more possible, advances in internal combustion engineering, and the birth of mass produced gas cars thanks to Henry Ford.
Renault-Nissan Alliance Is the Leading Electric Car Manufacturer (2017)
The Renault-Nissan Alliance is the major player in the EV market. As of January 2018, the Alliance is the world’s leading plug-in electric vehicle manufacturer, with global sales since 2010 of over 500,000 EVs, including those manufactured by Japanese brand Mitsubishi, which is now part of the Alliance. The alliance produces the best-selling Nissan Leaf, as well as the Renault Zoe.
They Are Heavier Than Gasoline Cars, But Less Noisy
Bulky batteries account for the sizeable heft of electric vehicles. EVs are around 10-25% heavier than conventional cars. The benefit of this extra weight is that the electric car takes longer to stop during braking and it keeps the occupants safer during collisions.
If you’ve ever been surprised to see a car glide noiselessly away from traffic lights, you’ll have realised EVs are considerably quieter than petrol or diesel cars. Without all that noisy internal combusting going on, a battery-powered engine is beautifully silent.
There Are 6 Categories Of Electric Cars…
Another surprising fact about electric cars is the number of variants you can get. From pure electric to hybrids and a few types in between, it can be confusing knowing the differences between them all. If you want to know more, here’s our handy guide…
- Battery EVs (BEVs)
- Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEVs)
- Hybrid EVs (HEVs)
- Extended-Range EVs (EREVs)
- Neighborhood EVs (NEVs)
- Non-Road EVs (NREVs)
Fun Facts About Electric Cars…
There are a lot of questions around electric cars. As an evolving technology, some answers will only be found over time. But some facts about electric cars we do know is that they produce little to no harmful emissions – which is good for our health and the planet, and that they are significantly cheaper to run and maintain.
We also know some interesting facts about electric car development over centuries and how their popularity has grown rapidly in the past decade.
We are in the midst of a great wave of change in the way we drive, the biggest since the invention of the internal combustion engine. Change, while necessary, is not always easy. Some fears remain over range and charge times but as the uptake of EVs continues, charging infrastructure will improve, battery technology will develop, upfront costs will come down and doubts will be overcome.
At RES-EV, we understand the requirements of electric motoring and we’re passionate about switching to EVs for a healthier future. If you need advice about choosing your home or workplace chargepoint, or how to access funding, get in touch with our specialist team.