The government’s climate spokesperson, Allegra Stratton, has said that a diesel car suits her better than an electric, citing the time it takes to stop and recharge on a long journey.
Five Guardian readers talked about why they now prefer driving electric vehicles (EVs):
‘I have bladder anxiety rather than range anxiety’
“I first purchased an EV back in 2016 as a personal car as I saw my industry would be changing towards them and I wanted to learn more. Within the first 30 days I realised I should have done it years earlier! It was smooth as a Rolls-Royce, as quick as a little sports car and it only cost me £5,000 at the time for a 12-month-old car.
“The next car was another EV. Belgium from Manchester was a nice trip via the Eurotunnel. I got fully charged at the tunnel and made it to our hotel in Belgium with no charging and our hotel had chargers right outside.
“Frankfurt was a fair few stops from Manchester but at two of the stops the car didn’t need a charge; we plugged it in anyway as I had to stop to pee – I have bladder anxiety rather than range anxiety. Four years ago most dealers knew nothing about EVs, and their range was quite short, at around 80 miles. Now, the average range is 200 miles plus.”
My tip: “Just take one for a drive. Most people get in, realise it feels a lot smoother and more comfortable, and go: “Wow, why did I wait this long?”
Nicolas Raimo, 34, used car dealer, Derbyshire
‘It’s not often you can pay for an annual car service using contactless’
“I’ve driven EVs for seven years. I currently drive two electric cars: a 38kWh Hyundai Ioniq with a range of about 150 miles, and a 10-year-old 14kWh Mitsubishi iMiev with a range of 50 miles.
“They are as clean as individual transport can get (I charge at home on a green tariff) and save money as it costs me about 3p a mile. As my garage said last month: ‘It is not often you can pay for an annual car service using contactless.’ Nowadays, I have considerably less guilt about sightseeing in places like Bath, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Wales that my wife forces me to do.
“We can drive around these beautiful places without producing car fumes. I have never run out of electricity, and I have yet to have an electric car set on fire, unlike when I had a fossil car. The practicality of electric cars doesn’t need to be defined by the ability to do Land’s End to John o’Groats.”
My tip: “With electric cars, you should look at what journeys you’ll be using it for every day, and buy accordingly.”
Kit Watson, 56, semi-retired firefighter, Marlborough, Wiltshire
‘What’s the fuss? No fuss!’
“We have a Kia Niro. It may not have the refinement or build quality of a German car but it certainly delivers what it promises. Electric is easy to drive, very quiet and charging is gradually becoming a non-issue.
“We’ve just recently driven from south Devon to Fort William in Scotland. We drove about 700 miles over two days. We stopped for a coffee at Gloucester services and topped up the battery for 20 minutes at a 44kWh charger. That got us to Lancaster for the night. We plugged in to a 7.5kWh charger in a town centre car park in Lancaster during the evening and that gave us plenty of energy to get to Stirling the next day.
“In Stirling we stopped for lunch and plugged into a 50kWh charger in a town car park. The battery was at 95% after just over an hour and got us to our destination with more than 50% (150 miles) left. Of course we needed to be signed up to various different charging networks. Our average cost per kWh was about 15p and we drive around 4.7 miles per kWh, at around 65 mph on the motorway and using air con when it’s hot. What’s the fuss? No fuss!”
My tip: “Don’t worry about range, just sign up to lots of charging suppliers.”
Paul Bloch, 61, works in aviation, south Devon
‘When I got my new car I had initially no way to recharge it’
“I had solar panels fitted a few years ago and on a sunny day I can charge the car for £3.50. Nearly all charging points I’ve used are currently free and run by ChargePlace Scotland.
“I’m just back from a walking holiday and drove from Glasgow to Kirkmichael in Perthshire. It’s a tiny place with one hotel, one shop, one bus-stop place – and one spanking new electric charger (ChargePlace Scotland, naturally). What surprised me most was how ‘beta’ a lot of the infrastructure is. When I got my new car I had initially no way to recharge it. I had downloaded the ChargePlace Scotland app and never got it to work.
“Only one place locally took contactless (this is 2021!). But once I had my card, there were eight ChargePlace charging options within half a mile – impressive. It took three months for Scottish Power to assess whether or not I could install an electric charging point at home; luckily they said yes.”
My tip: “Be really organised about applying for a charging card if you want to charge at home.”
Caroline Harper, 51, teacher, Glasgow
‘It’s saving me several hundred pounds a month compared with my previous Mercedes diesel’
“My Tesla Model 3 is my first electric car. I’ve been a petrolhead since I was 17, I’ve owned cars including an original Mazda MX-5, a 4.5L V8 BMW, I’ve had hot hatches like a Mk2 VW Golf GTI, a VW Corrado, I’ve had a modified Audi TT and a tuned Fiesta ST as well as a bunch of more practical, boring vehicles.
“I like quick, fun vehicles and I absolutely love the Model 3. When you sit behind the wheel, in an airy cabin with a glass roof, it feels more like you’re piloting a spaceship than driving a car, which is why mine is named the Heart of Gold after The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
“It’s also saving me several hundred pounds a month compared with my previous Mercedes diesel, whilst being cleaner, faster and a much more satisfying place to sit. People talk about ‘range anxiety’ but I’ve found I just tap where I’m going into the satnav and let the car recommend charging stops for me. There are also some excellent apps like Zap-Map and A Better Routeplanner that help you plan routes outside of Tesla’s own charging network. I can’t see me going back to an ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicle by choice in the near future.”
My tip: “Consider how much money you will save by switching to EVs, it’s a lot.”
Ric Harris, 47, works in computer programming, Manchester