Electric cars have stepped out of sci-fi thrillers into our day to day life. They are all around us. Those who are ready to take the plunge into fully electrical car, hybrid petrol and electric automobiles are a good alternative. Millions of hybrids have been sold and many millions are waiting to be sold.
Electric cars are trending
Pure electric vehicles are surely gaining a foothold in the market. Last year in Great Britain alone some 13 thousand electric vehicles were sold. This is not an earth shattering number but enough to justify broader infrastructure and more R&D investment in new models of electric cars. Two things that might stop a would be electric vehicle buyer from buying are its cost and lack of sufficient charging stations.
Cost of Electric Cars
Ever-increasing popularity of electrical vehicles is set to change the cost dynamic of these cars. The price of electric autos is coming down every passing year. Prime examples of this change is reflected in current pricing of electric version of Mitsubishi Outlander and Renault Zoe. Prices are indeed coming down and in the coming five years the premium charged for electrical version of standard or hybrid automobiles may disappear.
Electric Car Charging Infrastructure
This has been the second biggest obstacle. Most electric automobiles have at best a range of 100 miles before they need a charging station. This infrastructure is now in place in and around large cities of most developed countries. It is certainly not as convenient as stopping by a Petrol station to get your tank filled, most electric charging points have the capacity to charge two cars at a time but with 3000 charging stations in just the United Kingdom, it has become feasible to travel long distances with electric cars. In UK alone, there are 700 rapid change stations that will charge your car to 80% in just half an hour.
One obstacle in this is that every manufacturer has chosen a different connector type. There is a strong need for all electrical car manufacturers to standardize on one connector just as every petrol and diesel vehicle can be filled with the same nozzle the world over. With seven different kinds of connectors in use for different electric vehicles, one cannot be sure if the connector used on your car will be available at the charge point on your route. One tip: don't head to a charging station without checking the Zap Map in advance of any trip as it does list this information.
How to Charge your car
It is always a good idea to hire an electrician to check if your circuit will be able to bear the load of regular overnight charging. If it cannot, then work with him to increase the capacity. Once that is done you can leave your car to charge overnight as you sleep. You don't have to do this set up alone. Not only can you get a government grant to defray these expenses, many manufacturers will do the set up for you as a part of your electric car purchase package. If you don't have parking in your home, garage or offroad, most governments in developed world will give you a grant to install a public charging point near your residence or office. You can supplement overnight charging with during the day charging at public charging points.
Two kinds of charging is available at public charging points: fast charging which take three to four hours or rapid charge which takes around half an hour. Too many rapid charges are not recommended as they reduce the life of your battery.
Are electric cars the wave of the future?
The answer is definitely yes. The pioneers who have taken the plunge now are paving the way for the rest of us. With governments encouraging consumers through tax breaks and grants and manufacturers competing with each other to create batteries with longer and longer life, one can only imagine that in a decade or two we might have electric cars that will need charging every thousand miles or so. Then all you would need is an overnight charge. We can then save our fossil fuels for our future generations to derive important petrochemicals for every day use.