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The evolution of the Electric Car: Are we ready for the road?

24th January 2022

The evolution of the Electric Car: Are we ready for the road?

In terms of digital innovation, the mass rollout of electric cars has been on the cards for a number of years. We take a look at the benefits of electric cars, where it all began and find out exactly how close we are to phasing out petrol and diesel cars for good.

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The Electric Evolution

Although modern electric cars are seen as being at the forefront of transport technology, the concept of the electric car has a rich history dating back hundreds of years.

1800's

Small scale electric cars began to emerge in the early 1800's and continued to grow in popularity until they reached the peak of their popularity in the early 1900's. When it comes to the kinds of electric cars we are familiar with today, the new generation of electric cars began being developed and tested in 1973. After several peaks and lows of interest, Toyota released The Prius in 1997, the first mass-produced hybrid car. In 2000, The Prius was rolled out worldwide and the interest in electric vehicles has only continued to grow since then. This steady increase in popularity can be boiled down to several factors, and the general public becoming more aware of the benefits of switching over to electric.

A Greener Garage

The amount of electric cars being registered in the UK has increased year on year, with an increase of 11.2% in just the first 4 months of 2021 compared to 2020. But what is it about electric cars that make them so popular?

The main reason for the shift to electric is the environmentally friendly aspect of the technology. In an article published by the BBC₁, it is suggested that the lifetime emissions of electric cars in the UK are at least 30% lower than in diesel cars. This not only reduces your own carbon footprint, it means that electric car owners are making a difference in air quality, especially in towns and cities, improving quality of life for all.

While this lowering of emissions will always be a benefit, some have raised concerns about the emissions created in the production of the batteries that are essential in the running of electric cars. It is suggested that the production of electric car batteries produces 59% higher emissions than that of their internal combustion counterparts. However, once these emissions have been produced in the manufacturing of the cars, the majority of the emissions that will be produced in the cars lifetime will have already been produced.

Even in the face of the issue, more and more research in to advanced battery technology is being conducted and tested, meaning that the manufacturing of electric car batteries will only get greener as we move away from the energy-intensive process of extracting raw materials to produce the batteries.

Lithium-Ion

Discounted Driving

If the environmental benefit wasn't enough to convince you to switch to electric, maybe the lower costs will.

According to EDF Energy₂, to drive 100 miles in an electric car will cost you less than £1.30, compared to £11.05 to drive the same amount of miles in a petrol or diesel vehicle. The savings don't end there either, some councils and workplaces offer schemes that will discount their charging facilities, some even offer them for free. Even better still, electric cars benefit from discounted or even free road tax, depending on if your vehicle is fully or only partly run on electricity.

EDF Energy goes on to mention that from a maintenance perspective, due to less moving parts being required for an electric car to operate, this will cut down on maintenance and servicing cost, a common issue amongst petrol or diesel drivers. According to confused.com₃, the average maintenance costs of an electric car is estimated to be 23% lower than that of a petrol or diesel car.

Safety Statistics

The highest priority when driving any vehicle should always be safety, and some figures suggest that electric cars are actually safer than petrol or diesel vehicles. With the knowledge of an electric car having less moving parts in mind, this reduces the risk of certain issues usually involved with petrol and diesel cars.

Although there have been concerns about the flammability of the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars, it has been suggested that the chances of these batteries actually igniting is relatively low. According to airqualitynews.com₄, the London Fire Brigade were called to 54 electric vehicle fires compared with 1,898 petrol or diesel fires in 2019.

Ready For The Road?

It is a well known fact that the UK is implementing a blanket ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars in 2030. With this ban being pushed forward several times already, it is clearly a pressing issue that could be closer than we think. By the time this legislation is rolled out, battery production emissions should have been reduced and it is hoped that the UK reaches the target of 400,000 charging points needed to cope with the amount of electric cars that will be on the road₅. It is difficult to tell how long it will take for petrol and diesel cars to be completely phased out, but what we do know is that by the time 2030 rolls around, it's time to ditch the diesel and part with the petrol, to make way for a greener future for our daily commute.

Electric

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References:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51977625#:~:text=Fears%20that%20electric%20cars%20could,damaging%20myth%2C%20new%20research%20shows.&text=The%20research%20concludes%20that%20in,generation%20still%20involves%20fossil%20fuels.

https://www.edfenergy.com/electric-cars/benefits

https://www.confused.com/on-the-road/cost-of-motoring/real-cost-of-ev-ownership

https://airqualitynews.com/2020/10/09/electric-vehicle-fires-should-we-be-concerned/#:~:text=As%20Elon%20Musk%20himself%20tweeted,amounts%20of%20highly%20flammable%20fuels.

https://news.sky.com/story/electric-vehicle-charge-points-must-be-fitted-five-times-quicker-to-hit-2030-target-12206048#:~:text=Its%20report%20said%20the%20UK,35%2C000%20over%20the%20next%20decade.

 

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