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The future’s electric. Here’s why…

Cheaper, cleaner, greener – there are many of reasons why electric vehicles are becoming more popular, for business and home use. The more they appear on our roads, the greater the need for the infrastructure of charging points and electric vehicle charging stations.

The government is right behind the use of electric vehicles, as they’ve demonstrated with their domestic charge point grant. It’s all part of a shift towards lower carbon emissions and better air quality, as well as greater energy security.

Meeting targets, the need for electric vehicle charging stations

EU carbon reduction targets have a large part to play – they state that by 2020, one in every five vehicles in Britain need to be electric or ultra-low emission. Car manufacturers must ensure new cars produce an average of 95g CO2 per km – a target that will be much easier to meet if they introduce electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles into their range.

London’s Electric Vehicle Delivery Plan sees electric vehicles as the solution to a range of transport problems in the capital. In London, road transport accounts for 66% of particulate emissions and 42% of nitrogen oxide emissions and poor air quality is to blame for hundreds of deaths and hospital admissions each year. The EU has imposed a duty on governments to improve air quality – and there’s a hefty fine if the UK fails to meet this.

Electric vehicles don’t emit any harmful pollutants and are perfect for city-centre traffic conditions, where vehicles are often sitting idle but still pumping out emissions. The introduction of 100,000 electric vehicles could reduce emissions of particulates by 70-90 tonnes per year and emissions of oxides of nitrogen by 350-400 tonnes per year. To support this, the Delivery Plan states that all new developments with five parking spaces or more must equip 20% of those spaces with charging points and electric vehicle charging stations.

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Cost-saving technology

Another reason as to why the electric and hybrid vehicles are gaining in popularity is the rapid advancement of the technology. Lithium-ion batteries, as used in laptops and mobile phones, can now carry more energy for a given size, meaning cars can be driven further in between charges. With today’s technology, vehicles can travel 100-130 miles in between charges, while the top-of-the-range Tesla Roadster has a reported range of 300 miles.

As this technology has come down in price, costs of petrol and diesel have gone up. Fuel prices are likely to continue to rise, making electric vehicles more cost effective as time goes on. New electric vehicles are typically more expensive to purchase than a petrol or diesel vehicles. However, the fuel costs are significantly lower – typically around £400 for an average annual mileage of 10,000 miles. This compares to a petrol cost of around £1300 per year – a saving of £900.

By 2020 1 in 5 vehicles in Britain need to be electric or ultra-low emission to meet EU carbon reduction targets.

With an electric vehicle you’d pay around £400 to travel 10,000 miles, compared to around £1,300 for petrol or diesel.

By 2040 cars with internal combustion engines will no longer be in production, and by 2050 they could disappear from the roads altogether.

With today’s technology, vehicles can travel 100-130 miles in between charges. The Tesla Roadster has a reported range of 300 miles.