A leading Scottish electromobility expert explains how electric cars are really becoming accessible to all motorists.
Dave Pickles’ timely words of wisdom come after last week’s World Electric Vehicle Day and ahead of the COP26 global climate change conference to be held in Glasgow in November.
He highlighted the increasing accessibility of new and used electric cars, the tremendous advancements in battery technology, the rapid increase in recharging possibilities and the available government subsidies.
But Dave, the boss of Glasgow-based sustainable energy company Jorro, is under no illusions and knows the public needs to be better informed.
Likewise, he takes a pragmatic approach to the situation and accepts that the EV solution will not yet work for drivers who drive more than 25,000 miles per year.
Nonetheless, Dave makes a strong case for the fact that electric cars are ideal for the majority of motorists.
He said, “There is a big disconnect between people’s perceptions of battery power and the reality. Battery technology has evolved tremendously in 10 years – it’s like going from a floppy disk to a hard drive.
“The batteries now have a warranty of at least 100,000 miles and some early EVs have driven over 300,000 miles with the original battery.
“There is also a greater range between the load which has gone from around 60 miles at the start to around 240 on average.
“And owners of older cars can refresh them with more powerful, modern batteries because they’re the same size. You can also just replace individual cells in the packs.
Dave was also keen to dispel myths about electricity supply issues at older properties when it came to installing home wall-mounted charging points.
He explained, “Home chargers were developed to protect against overload. All new chargers must be able to handle different levels of supply voltage.
“It is extremely rare that we cannot install a charging station, and they can be installed in most homes with a private parking space.
And this goes for modern buildings with parking lots. Jorro has just installed the 144 point capacity at a complex in Edinburgh. Owners can simply sign up to activate the points when they switch to using an EV.
And for the thousands of people in cities who don’t have off-street parking, Dave pointed out the increase in public facilities.
He said: “The public charge is now growing at a fairly rapid pace. Workplaces, supermarkets, fast food outlets and hotel groups all set up charging stations.
“They realize that you can easily set up charging stations for staff or customers, but you can’t set up gas stations the same way! “
As for users, he pointed out that for most commuters who travel less than 250 miles per week, that could mean they have to visit a public fast-charging facility about once a week for less than an hour. .
Finally, Dave pointed out that owning and driving electric cars is more affordable than many people think, especially now that many mainstream brands are making them.
He said: ‘Not everyone is aware of the latest Scottish government grants or zero percent loans.
“But it opens up options for new and used electric cars. If you look at what is available in the budget market, you will find that they have good specs and all the gimmicks.
“They’re fun to drive and can be engaging – with different modes of regeneration, for example. And they’re more practical, with more room inside for families because there’s no gearbox system or big engine taking up space.