Advantages And Disadvantages Of Electric Cars
Switching To Electric
Many drivers with petrol and diesel vehicles will see their motor tax increase in 2021. Drivers looking to save money may look towards electric vehicles. But what are the advantages and disadvantages with electric vehicles. Read on to find out all the pros and cons of buying an electric car, as well as the grants that are available.
What are the advantages of electric cars?
Cheaper running costs
Despite electric cars costing more than their fossil-fuel equivalents, they’re actually cheaper to run on a day-to-day basis. Road tax for electric vehicles is at the lowest rate of €120 per year. You will also pay a reduced Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT). Fully electric vehicles will pay just 7 per cent of VRT from 2021.
Finally, it could be cheaper to charge your electric car too. We’ve previously found that you could charge your electric car at home for around €3.96 (this was for an electric car with a battery size of 40 kWh and at a cost of 9.91 cents per kWh of electricity). If you drive around 20,000 km per year, you could be looking at a monthly cost of €24.40 per month.
The world’s carbon emissions are at an all time high and are contributing to global warming. The main cause of carbon creation in Ireland is the burning of fossil fuels, such as in our cars (combustion engines) and homes (gas boilers).
While the electricity that is used to charge electric cars is created through the burning of fossil fuels, it’s still thought that these vehicles release 30 per cent fewer emissions. When electricity is created through renewable sources, this increases to 70 per cent. The engines themselves don’t produce any tailpipe emissions, which can help to improve pollution and air quality in cities and built-up areas.
Fewer moving parts
There is a lot that can go wrong with a petrol or diesel car. These combustion engines contain lots of moving parts, which increases the likelihood of something breaking, becoming damaged or being worn down. Electric engines, however, are much simpler pieces of technology with fewer moving parts, meaning that you could rarely find yourself at the local garage having an issue repaired. This also means that the lifespan of an electric car could be longer than that of a petrol or diesel car too.
Is there a grant for electric cars?
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) offers grants of up to €5,000 on qualifying electric vehicles. The grant amount that you can claim will depend on the value of the electric car that you buy, however you will be guaranteed something as long as the car costs more than €14,000.
Not only this, but they can also provide money off the cost of a charging point too. Electric vehicle charging points cost around €1,099, and SEAI can give up to €600 off, meaning the installation will cost you just €499, a substantial saving.
What are the disadvantages of electric cars?
As with any pieces of technology, there are some disadvantages to electric cars as well.
Increased initial purchase price
We’ve already briefly mentioned this above, however, it’s something you should seriously consider before purchasing an electric vehicle. Despite running costs being cheaper, electric cars are more expensive than fossil fuel cars, mainly due to the cost of the battery. You will, however, save money in tax, fuel and possibly insurance. The grant mentioned above will also help you to pay for your electric car.
As electric cars rely on a battery to store their charge, there’s only so many kilometres an electric vehicle can go before needing to be recharged. The battery size is limited, as it needs to be able to fit within the general surface area of the vehicle while also not weighing it down too much. For this reason, electric cars typically cannot travel as far as a petrol or diesel car, and you may find that you need to stop more frequently to recharge.
How far do electric cars go?
The typical range for an electric car is between 100 and 500km. Only high-end models can reach the top end of the spectrum, such as Tesla Model S and Jaguar I-Pace. For an average electric car, such as a Nissan Leaf, you’d expect a range of 150km.
Refueling a petrol car is easy - you simply add petrol and go. It’s not quite so easy with an electric car and there’s a significant wait time for the battery to charge.
How long to charge an electric car?
How long it takes to charge an electric car depends on the vehicle’s battery size (the bigger the battery, the longer the charge time) as well as the speed of the charger. Chargers come in three different speeds: low power, semi-fast and fast. Low-power chargers are generally found in homes, and your car could take over 12 hours to charge on one of these. Semi-fast chargers are usually located in car parks, such as at the supermarket, so you can plug it in for a quick boost while you shop. A car will take around two to four hours to charge on one of these. The very fast or ‘rapid’ chargers are found mostly at motorway service stations for when you need a very quick charge to get you back on the road. These are very powerful and can often charge your car to 80 per cent in under half an hour.
As you can see, there are a number of pros and cons that you should think about when switching to electric. Generally, the pros will outweigh the cons if you’re happy to wait a little longer for your vehicle to charge and charge it more often. After all, according to SEAI, 80 per cent of car journeys in Ireland are 20km or less, so an electric car would be more than sufficient for your travelling needs.