As someone who has been an active member of the electric vehicle world for sometime. And, I must say, put up with the regular ‘hope your battery doesn’t run out’ or ‘how long does it take to charge’ jibes, I am finally feeling that the time is right for me to put my head above the parapet, as it were, because it seems that other people have started to realise that electric vehicles are actually pretty darn good!
I have, for too long, had to put up with the eco-warrior tag. It’s true, one of my main reasons for purchasing and driving an electric vehicle was the ‘green credentials’, however now it is more the fact that driving is cheaper and more enjoyable in my quiet and efficient vehicle.
Of course, I am not without range anxiety, and I am painfully aware that there are still not enough public charging points, but this is changing, and fast. More and more locations have our own private and, dare I say it, somewhat exclusive spaces where I can add power to my car while I shop or enjoy life. The fact that these specially ‘EV club members only™’ spaces are often closer to the store or cinema means I can feel even more smug when I watch you ‘petrolheads’ running through torrential rain. I feel I should trademark the ‘EV Club’, as a sign of the enlightened and intelligent driver who has realised that electric is the way forward and is rewarded with own own exclusivity.
Of course, the numbers of us in our exclusive club are growing. I note, with some interest, as I sit down, popcorn in hand, that there is a bright cinema advertising campaign promoting that the Electric Car is just ‘the car’, and now with a wide selection of vehicles to suit everyone, I fear my days of exclusivity are almost at an end.
I blame one person you understand, that devious Elon Musk and his shiny new Tesla. I almost spilled my coffee when I read in my crisp copy of The Guardian recently that the new Tesla Model 3 was the third biggest seller in terms of new car sales in August this year. That, to put it into some form of perspective, is more sold than the reliable Ford Focus rep mobile or even the school run favourite Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Yes it was beaten by the Ford Fiesta, however this is a different class.
Suddenly, after some years of being ridiculed for having a ‘milk float’… Look you wait until you see the 0–60 I get out of my car while you are still starting your engine! But I digress, the Tesla has opened the eyes, not only of the driving public, but of the industry. This upstart, ‘whipper snapper’ has taken on the likes of Ford and is winning.
He has succeeded in creating a vehicle which is almost half the price of its predecessor, while achieving 0–60 in an eye blistering 5.6 seconds and still do over 200 miles on a charge. Let’s not mention the growth of the supercharger network which means you can recharge in about half an hour. And above all, this car is sexy! I am not going to wax lyrical about everything that makes this vehicle top of my Christmas list, let’s just say that this is a hell of a lot of car for your cash.
More importantly, I believe that it is the efforts and the sales of Elon that the motor industry has had to embrace electric vehicles properly. He is the ‘Apple’ of the motor industry, an upstart who is willing to ask ‘why not?’ and ready to deliver something different, exciting and, dare I say it, world changing.
Finally, after many years, and whether or not it is because of the efforts of Mr Musk or the government’s wish to squeeze every sheckle from drivers with car tax, emissions and congestion charges or even the imminent fuel issues to hit the world with Saudi Arabian drone strikes and, please forgive me for mentioning it, Brexit!, we are finally seeing a time where electric vehicles seem credible.
I know, there will be a wave of abuse from other EV drivers who tell me that they have been a credible option for years. Well, I drove my first EV in 2012 in Central London and I will admit that there were times when it was a total pain. Back then, a lack of charging points, and a small selection of vehicles meant it was not a mainstream option. Now, we have amazing cars, places to charge them at home, at work and while we are away. It is not perfect, there are times when I wish it was easier, however, I would not give up my electric life for anything.
I still get a touch of range anxiety, however it is no worse than when I drove a derv, I am confident that there will be a charging point nearby and I have an app to direct me to it. To be honest, like most of us, my car does the run from home to work, maybe via a supermarket more than any long journey so range, when I have charged on cheap rate electricity overnight is not an issue.
I plug my car at home and let it charge so that it is always ready to go, I drive to work and enjoy a free top up thanks to my employer. I don’t queue at petrol stations, a good thing as my wife was sick of me trying to select the ‘right’ queue and getting cross when the driver in front wanted to spend ten minutes after filling up to adjust driving gloves and file their receipt! Nowadays I laugh at the prices on petrol station totems, was I ever foolish enough to pay those prices!
However, there is something I will regret when we are all speeding past in our super efficient electric cars. It won’t be that my children can breath and than national asthma rates and deaths from emissions related illnesses fall, and it won’t be that I am totally green, charging with renewable energy. It will be that, when we all have them, I’m going to have to find another exclusive club to join, and in the worlds of the great Groucho Marx “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member…” It’s a shame, I’ll still stay in the EV club, but I suppose I had better welcome you all in now, we’ve all been waiting for you to realise we were onto a good thing!