Journey in an electric car – Friday 22 September

Final day’s thoughts.

It’s the last day of my blog today and I thought I’d pick up on a couple of other items that I’ve noticed and maybe finish with a nod to the future.

Silent motoring

In Wednesday’s blog I wrote about how the conversation was flowing without the interruption of a noisy diesel engine working through the gears. A related factor that I’ve noticed is how many people don’t notice the car is coming along the road. Last night I was at the Michael Woods Leisure Centre and I had to stop and wait for 3 pedestrians who were walking along the road completely oblivious to the fact that a car was behind them.  I’d love to say that this was a one off but it’s an occurrence in most car parks and can be a hazard when driving along the road.

Have a think about how you cross the road. Do you always look or do you sometimes rely on sound to judge if it is safe to cross.  I have to admit that initially I’d rely on sound and it seems that a lot of other people do too.  I seem to remember reading a few years ago that some of the electric cars had a built in speaker to simulate engine noise for pedestrians – particularly in built up areas.  I’m not sure if that was true or still the case but it’s certainly worth considering.

It may be that we as pedestrians need to adapt our behaviour and to ensure we use more than one sense when crossing the road or car park.

Electric future

Electric cars are continuously improving and you only need to look at the car review magazines to see that they are being taken seriously and are impressing. Two big changes this year will be the affordable extended range cars.  The Renault Zoe is improved with a manufacturer’s range of over 240 miles per charge whilst real life figures estimate that to be closer to the 180 mark.  That is probably more than enough for most return trips other than the family holiday.

The ‘affordable’ Tesla is also expected to start production this year. The Tesla website states that in America it will cost around $35,000 so a rough conversion for the UK would be around £26,000 for the standard model.  That will cover around 200 miles per charge for one of the most exclusive electric cars on the market.   Right hand models won’t be available until 2019 but Tesla believe in their product and aim to eventually make their product easily affordable.  They currently have half a million orders across the world for their Model 3 affordable car so they should learn a lot over the next 2 years in producing this type of vehicle.

My electric future

On Monday I have a new staff member joining the team and I’m going to take them out to visit some of our sites. That could take us from Glenrothes to St Andrews via Dunfermline and Methil.  Would I have considered an electric car for that trip last year? Not a chance, however on Monday I’ve booked the new Renault Zoe and I have absolutely no concerns about it being able to complete the full journey if required. That’s a massive shift in my opinion from recent times and when it comes time to replace the hybrid I don’t see any reason why a fully electric vehicle won’t be able to meet the needs of our household.

The end of the road

I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey in an electric vehicle this week and if I may, I’ll leave you with a few of my thoughts.  If you haven’t yet driven an electric vehicle, be that a hybrid or full electric, I urge you to take one out for a test drive.  Coming from a person who really enjoys driving, I think they may be even better than the traditional engines. The other thought would be to consider the whole life cost.  To improve our environment this is something that we need to do more of, from investing in infrastructure to the way we heat our homes, but it applies equally to the way we fuel our vehicles.  Yes, electric cars are more expensive to buy initially and they are not yet affordable for all but depending on the mileage you cover, fuel savings would be in the thousands over the time you own the vehicle.

Electric Vehicles are the route that manufacturers and Governments appear to be supporting so maybe it’s time we followed suit. Next time you are thinking about replacing your car have a look at what electric can do.

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