EVs are being propped across the world to take over fossil fuel vehicles. They have many supporters, but likewise, many who believe that petrol and diesel cars still offer better value for money and are more reliable. Here at HTEC we are conscious of our environmental impact and are actively seeking ways to reduce our own footprint. Last week we installed our very own EV charging point at our headquarters in Southampton. As government pressure mounts for drivers to choose a more environmentally friendly mode of transport, we are proud to be on the forefront of change. Below we explore some common misconceptions surrounding EVs.
1. Running out of power will just leave you stranded
Like any vehicle, it is likely that you will get to a point where you are running out of energy, be it petrol, diesel or electric. Much like petrol cars, EVs warn you early-on when you are running low on energy and you get a ‘range’ displayed on your dashboard so you know how many miles you have left. The EV will slowly reduce its range and speed the closer you get to critically low power, but all safety features will be available as they are powered by other battery cells. If you completely run out, it will tell you to ‘pull over safely’ and then your usual road recovery provider should be able to take you to your home or your closest charging point.
2. The battery will die after a few years and will be wasteful in itself
Yes, the battery will start to lose range and capacity over time and yes, if not recycled these same batteries can be dangerous to the environment. However, dealerships tend to include battery cover in the warranty for up to five years, meaning that once the capacity starts to decrease you can get this swapped over. Additionally, EU regulation requires the makers of the batteries to finance the cost of collecting, treating and recycling these. Meaning that these batteries will either be recycled or re-used for a different purpose and not end up in landfill.
3. Electricity also burns fossil fuels so it doesn’t make a difference
But the thing is, it does. You can choose who supplies your energy, you do have the choice to pay for energy from a purely green fuel provider, such as Ecotricity and Good Energy. Additionally, the UK is increasingly investing in other sources to provide greener forms of electricity which will pollute our air and environment less.
4. They are very expensive
Up-front, the cost of an EV can be higher than your cheapest petrol vehicle. Conversely, you will save a considerable amount of money on fuel, 30 minutes of charging can reach 80% capacity and costs around £6 on a public charging point, or less if you are an Ecotricity customer. If you have a charging point at home an overnight charge can cost you only £2 and often the option to get a charge point installed at home is included in the price of the vehicle.
Servicing the car is also much cheaper and only costs around £99 per year, as opposed to your average £150 per year for petrol and diesel cars.
You could also find alternative ways to purchase your vehicle, like requesting to buy your car through work using a salary-sacrifice scheme, or you could lease the vehicle, which some suggest is the best option.
5. The UK doesn't have the infrastructure to charge EVs when on the road
In 2013 the government made £37 million available to local councils to improve the infrastructure of EV charging points. 4 years on, it has vastly improved. The charging points that are available may not be as visible as a petrol station - however, a lot of them are actually concealed within petrol stations. Just this month, Shell bought one of Europe’s largest electric charging providers, while BP has also announced they will be installing EV charging points across the UK and MFG has signed a deal with ChargePoint Services to roll-out EV charging points across its UK network. Big-players in the fuel industry are embracing the change and moving to offering the infrastructure across their network.
Furthermore, the current infrastructure is already extensive. Undoubtedly, if you are making a journey somewhere you may use Google Maps to plan your route – the useful ‘nearby’ feature can find EV charging points near you. You can also use Zap Map and plan your route with all EV charging points noted on screen, which are updated by other users and faults are reported.
6. The increase in EVs will mean a loss of trade to the already decreasing number of forecourts in the UK
There has been a steady decrease in fuel forecourts from their peak in 1970 where there were over 30,000 sites, to 8,476 at the end of 2016 – this has been due to competition among retailers and cost of compliance with environmental regulation. However, according to UKPIA the trend of closures has tapered off, while hypermarket forecourts continue to increase. There seems to be no evidence to show that increase in EVs will cause an immediate decline in petrol stations. Following the Queen’s Speech on the 21st of June the government has proposed that motorway service stations should include EV charging points – making these a regular feature at stations and a perfect way to get customers to spend more time in store as they wait for their vehicle to charge.
Despite many misconceptions around EVs, and considering they only make up for 4% of new purchased vehicles in 2017, they are slowly increasing in popularity. They offer a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to their carbon cousins. If you are a fuel forecourt and are concerned that the rise in EVs may mean a loss of business to you, consider that in fact, it may be the ideal opportunity to boost footfall in-store – this wave of customers will have to wait around your store for about 30 minutes before they speed-off, meaning they will be inclined to shop around, giving you the opportunity to capture extra revenue. Talk to us today on 02380 689 491 to discuss how you could influence shopper missions and engage with your customers.