Having heard various rumours and lots of news surrounding Electric Vehicles (EVs), I have always been curious to find out more. Therefore, when I got the opportunity to take an EV out for the morning, I jumped at the chance and I thought it would be good to share my experience with any other newbies who are also like me wondering what it's like to drive an EV. Keep reading to find out how I got on!
As a driver for nearly 7 years of standard manual petrol cars, as you would expect, driving an electric car for the first time was somewhat strange. On first entering the car and sitting in the driver’s seat, seatbelt on “check”, foot on the clutch “ch.. wait where’s the clutch?!”, move into first gear “che... wait where’s the gear stick?!”, I immediately started to realise the differences from my usual car.
Once I came to terms with the changes, I put the car into drive and turned on the engine, or did I? I’d heard rumours about how quiet EVs were, even up to the point that I have heard that car manufacturers are considering putting “fake” engine noises into the cars to avoid confusion and add the traditional noises of their petrol and diesel peers, but never did I think it would be this quiet. Being able to hear a pin drop was an understatement.
It was time to move. I put my foot to the accelerator and as I did so, another stark difference became clear. There was no waiting, simply foot to floor and the car took off. I pulled out of the space and began to make way for the open road.
Where to go? I thought I’d try to give the car as many opportunities to prove itself so I planned a trip to Whitelee Windfarm as this would cover driving in Glasgow City Centre, on the motorway and along some country roads – all while being conveniently within the car’s 120 mile driving range. I was gaining confidence driving around the city centre streets and couldn’t help but note the difference in braking. Most EVs use something known as “regenerative braking”. This is where the car harvests the energy generated from braking and uses this to recharge the battery while slowing down. As a driver, this felt similar to “engine braking” in a petrol or diesel car, although a little stronger. Many EVs allow the driver to set the sensitivity of this to suit their individual preference. This definitely took a bit of getting used to.
So far, so good. I’d made it to the motorway. My left foot felt a little redundant but that was something I was gradually managing to cope with. The car itself was really smooth to drive but now it was time to fully test it out. Before getting into the car, I had expectations of driving something with the equivalent power of a hair dryer. Well, wasn’t I wrong? Coming up the slip road, taking it easy to build up speed, “woooahh”! There was no lag time at all between the moment I pressed the pedal and the car accelerating. EVs have the ability to go from stopped to full torque as soon as your foot hits the pedal meaning building up speed is not an issue or something you have to wait for.
Eventually I made it onto the country roads and was passing by Whitelee Windfarm so thought I’d take the opportune moment to document my trip. Beautify scenery, lush green fields, wind turbines all around, perhaps ignore the “no unauthorised parking” sign – I’m not a professional.
Something I was worried about, and I'm sure many of you reading this will also be experiencing, is range anxiety. As in, am I going to have enough electricity in the car to get me from A to B and back. Starting in Glasgow City centre with the car on full 120 miles charge, as I left the carpark and drove around the city, I noticed the gauge dropping rapidly, heightening my range anxiety fears. However, by the time I was on the motorway the gauge leveled out and I returned back with 30 miles left on the clock. Similar to a petrol/ diesel car, it became apparent that driving in small bursts e.g. continually stopping and starting in a town or city will use up more electricity than longer distances at a steady speed e.g. a motorway. Therefore in terms of range, considering I started with 120 miles and had done a 70 mile round trip, this doesn’t seem bad at all. For day to day driving, I’d be lucky to travel 5-10 miles at most so I would get quite a few trips out of a full charge. Plus, according to Road Use Statistics (2016)*, the majority of UK drivers (50%) only cover between 1-5 miles per journey, so no need to be worried about the distance you can travel.
So, in short, after my first EV experience would I consider buying one as my main car? Yes definitely! For the distance I travel, the savings, as well as the surprising functionality in whole, I can see that EVs are definitely the future!
Why not check out our other EV blogs to discover more about all things EV related. Or if you are already an EV driver, why not give our handy charge point finder a test drive to see just how many charge points are available and nearby to you, available in the YourEnergy app via the Google Playstore or Apple App Store.
Have you had an interesting EV experience or are you an active EV driver? We would love to hear your views!