Graham McCarthy: Good reasons to pick electric car

Scotland's first electric car club launches in St Andrews. Picture: Peter Adamson
Scotland's first electric car club launches in St Andrews. Picture: Peter Adamson
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The electric car market is booming. The latest industry figures show that 14,500 electric cars were sold in the UK compared with fewer than 5000 the previous year.

The appeal of electric vehicles is clear for all drivers to see. You can quickly and easily recharge your electric car from your own home (often easily done overnight) with no need to find a petrol station.

Electric cars are cheaper to run – electricity can be up to one third cheaper than petrol or diesel, saving you money per mile.

Electric cars also offer a quieter and smoother drive than regular vehicles. And with no tailpipe, electric cars don’t pump harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, fully electric cars are also exempt from vehicle tax in the UK.

Nevertheless, as an emerging technology, there are fewer models of electric than conventional cars to choose from and electric cars tend to cost more than conventional cars to buy, with some new models costing as much as £25,000.

And compared to filling your car with petrol or diesel, it takes a lot longer to fuel an electric car. To charge a PEV vehicle with a range of 100 miles, it can take up to eight hours in the UK.

There is also no denying that the range on an electric car is far shorter than one with a petrol or diesel engine – most electric cars can only travel a distance of 100 miles before needing to be fully recharged again. That said, according to the latest census, the average person in the UK travels just over nine miles to work every day.

And while you will ideally have a garage to charge your car easily, as of January 2014 there were more than 6000 public electric car charge points across the UK.

That’s why demand for electric cars is likely to continue to accelerate for the foreseeable future.

Graham McCarthy works at finance broker First Vehicle Leasing.