New electric car charging points are popping up across Shropshire and Mid Wales, as highlighted in a previous article about a guide to charging point locations in Shropshire. As a result, you will increasingly find hybrids and electric cars for sale in Shropshire. The savings on running costs are fantastic, but big questions remain. Are there sufficient charging points close to where you live and work, and is an electric car a practical option for you?
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Electric cars are seen as a greener way to drive. In cities, and in the UK’s larger towns, there has been a big surge in EV and hybrid car popularity. Now EV charging points are spreading outwards and are popping up across Shropshire and Mid Wales.
However, with the range limitation issues inherent in electric cars and the greater distances covered by those living in the countryside, rather than the town, it is high time to examine the pros and cons of electric car ownership for Shropshire motorists.
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How much does an electric car cost?
The upfront purchase price for electric cars is generally more expensive than for standard petrol/diesel. A Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV currently costs around £31,00 to £42,000 depending on the specification, which Includes £2,500 Government Plug-in Car Grant.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
Similarly, you can have a home charger installed (which can use cheap rate electricity) for which you will receive a government grant for 75% of the installation cost. The charger can fully charge the battery in just four hours for about £2. Presuming a 100-mile range, that works out at 2p a mile. The charger typically adds about £260 a year to the average driver’s electricity bill – not bad for a year’s motoring.
· There are three main EV charging speeds:
· Slow charging (up to 3kW) which is best suited for 6-8 hours overnight;
· Fast charging (7-22kW) which can fully recharge some models in 3-4 hours;
· Rapid charging units (43-50kW), which are able to provide an 80% charge in around 30 minutes. Rapid chargers also come in two charge point types – AC and DC – depending on whether they use alternating current or direct current.
How far can you drive in an electric car?
The distance an electric car can drive depends on many different factors. It depends on the kind of motor in the car, on the type of battery pack being used. The average electric vehicle can run for 40 to 100 miles on one charge.
Charging Point Problems.
Occasionally you can find that the charging spot you counted on using is ICEd—the term that EV drivers use when a charging spot is occupied by an internal combustion engine car. This selfish behaviour seems to be on the decline. EV drivers have become adept at leaving polite notes, which will hopefully convince the offender not to make the mistake again.
A more common problem is EV drivers who leave their car charging well beyond the point of practicality. Once a vehicle has reached 80% charge it should be unplugged as the final 20% takes as much time as the initial 0-80%.
Hybrid cars can also be a point of contention. Some EV drivers feel that hybrids already have an alternate power source and should not occupy the public charging points that EV drivers rely on.
So, is it worth having electric cars in Shropshire?
If your daily driving pattern is below 80 miles a day, and you have home charging, maybe even work charging, then most definitely yes. At 2p a mile you will be virtually driving for free. If you need to drive regular, or occasional long distances then consider a hybrid. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV hybrid delivers great mpg, but gives you the security of a conventional engine.
The charging network continues to grow, and public rapid chargers are more common.Two or three years ago this would have been a problem, with just one in Telford and two in Shrewsbury. However, if you take a look at the latest Zap Map (a UK record of all charging points) you can see that Shropshire and Mid Wales are now well catered for (and the network is being added to month by month). Even the remoter parts of the Shropshire Hills now boast coverage. If it’s not the right time to switch to EV now then keeping an open mind for the future could be an option.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has recently been updated. ( 22 March 2016 )