Why is it so hard for media to understand EVs aren’t all £80k+ vehicles

“Most people would need substantial subsidies to be able to afford to go electric” BBC Radio 4 Today Program 1st Feb 2017

I keep hearing similar things banded about in the press and media. The recent poor air quality in UK cities has got everyone flapping about what the Government should or shouldn’t do, and how diesel cars are the problem. Especially the older ones, because apparently new ones are totally fine.

Firstly, in the cities, it isn’t just the diesel cars you want to be thinking about. It is the endless vans, trucks, lorries, busses and taxis. You can’t simply ban them. They are essential for society and the economy to function. This is a much harder problem to solve. Taxis and buses, certainly in London have come a long way, with Taxis due to go all electric from 2018, but note, that is only new taxis. So you are looking 5 years or more before you see the full benefit, unless there are incentives to replace, or more likely punitive measures.

The vans and trucks will take a lot longer to replace with cleaner versions. There really isn’t yet a mainstream alternative, is there?

Secondly, the notion that an EV is unaffordable and unpractical is so wrong. I’ve had a Nissan Leaf now for about 10 months. I must admit, although I’d decided to go electric, there was a little bit of doubt still in my mind about range anxiety. However, apart from picking it up from the garage the first time and a few poorly planned moments, it has been just a great experience. Even those few times you start to look at you gauge and worry, I’d got home with 10 miles spare.

I didn’t buy my Leaf new. I thought about it, but I noticed that the revamped second generation Leafs (Sept 2013 onwards) we appearing in numbers on the second hand market. So I bought my 63 plate leaf with 9,600 miles on the clock for £9500, plus I traded in my car. The car itself (compared to my old Smart ForFour) has all the mod cons and is a great place to be on my daily commute. Oh yeah, did I mention my 55 mile daily commute.

In my reckoning that wasn’t bad value, plus my fuel bill went from around £200+ to about £25. I’ve done a few longer distance trips that require a couple of fast charge stops, and it really is quite painless. A toilet stop, a snack and a coffee and you are off.

During that time, the number of other fully electric and Plug in Hybrids I’ve seen on the roads has dramatically increased. When I got mine on my commute, I’d see and Nissan EV van and another Leaf. Now I regularly see 2 or 3 Leaf, a ZOE, and 1 or 2 Model S. Now, if I was in a city, that is no big deal, but I am in the sticks.

So affordable, yes. Practical, yes.

OK, so not everything is quite in place yet for mass adoption. The grid for one. Then there are all the people with off street parking. The fast charging network by Ecotricty is great, but would need significant expansion if there were a lot more cars. Also as batteries get more energy dense, the fast chargers are going to have to push more energy to remain fast.

Now other makers have joined the fully electric market such as Hyundai and Kia, combined with pollution increasingly being in the public consciousness, I think we are at the start of the tipping point. I for one can’t wait for the mainstream media to understand this.