As part of climate week I’ve been asked to write about my experiences of driving an electric car. Earlier this year I purchased a hybrid Volkswagen – it allows me to choose between running the vehicle as a fully electric vehicle or alternatively operate it in hybrid mode and the car chooses when to use electric or petrol as its primary fuel source.
For me this was about dipping a toe into the sea of electric vehicles. I wasn’t convinced that a electric vehicle was the correct choice for me at this stage and felt that range anxiety would be a common issue.
This week I’ll share my experiences of electric vehicles and you can share yours by letting us know your experiences.
I’ll start of by saying that although I work in the environment industry, I was a little unsure if electric vehicles were for me. I’ve always had a preference for driving diesel engines and thought they had less of an impact on climate change than their petrol counterparts. A recent study indicated that this may not necessarily be the case and in fact could produce more greenhouse gases than previously thought.
On top of that, the emissions from diesel vehicles, particularly in a city, are harmful at a local level. Nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (PMs) are harmful to human health and the government are now starting to address the issue. The UK government has stated that it will ban the production of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 whilst the Scottish Government have set their target for 2032. The Scottish Government is also planning on Low Emission Zones for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee where the more polluting vehicles are banned or alternatively must pay a daily charge for entering that zone.
All of this points to a change in the way our cars will be powered and over the week I’ll look at what my experiences of driving an ‘alternative fuel’ vehicle are like.
Let’s start with the logistics of charging an electric vehicle. There are 3 main charging points – rapid, fast and slow chargers. The rapid chargers can deliver around 80% of charge within a 20 to 40 minute time period. Fast chargers typically take more than an hour whilst slow chargers are normally found at home. Currently the government is offering grants to install home charging units free of charge.
In Fife there are currently 35 public charging stations located across the county at public car parks, transport hubs and railway stations. I am lucky that I am based at Bankhead Central in Glenrothes and have access to a charging point at work therefore charging during the day is easy to do.
To access a charging station you need to register your vehicle to a card from Charge your Car. This covers a large network of Points throughout Scotland and the UK and costs £20 per year. The benefit is that most charging stations are free to use with your access card.
I’ll be talking more about my adventures in an electric car throughout the week so be sure to check back each day for more updates and don’t forget to get involved too.