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Is it possible to get an electric vehicle?
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Is it possible to get an electric vehicle?

electric car


Electric cars run on electricity, rather than burning fossil fuels. (Picture by myenergi/Unsplash).

In the aftermath of the COP26 climate conference – and amid the ongoing climate crisis – many of us are wondering how we can do our part to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Although we all know the importance of recycling, eating less meat and buying sustainable products and materials, our collective carbon footprint still includes the use and misuse of cars.

Although public transport is available in most areas of the country, LondonAlthough the UK is quite well-equipped, it is not as good in other parts of Britain, especially in rural areas where you have to wait hours for a bus or drive a car to get around.

The petrol that powers these cars is well-known as a non-sustainable product. It is predicted that it will run out by 2060 if fossil fuels are burned at the current rate.

How can we reduce our dependence on petrol to get to work, home, and to visit friends?

Electric cars have been gaining popularity as a solution to declining fuel stocks. They’re cheaper to run and kinder to the earth, but do come with drawbacks worth taking into consideration.

It is obvious that they are an eco-friendly alternative for petrol cars. However, their availability will be a key determinant of whether they can reduce our natural resources consumption.

CEO of the Electric Car Organisation (ECO), Julia Kemp, said: ‘Electric cars have so many benefits as they produce no carbon emissions and allow people to save money.

‘You’re not spending money on refuelling and can cut down costs at home, as you’re able to plug your car into a charger and track when the best times are to recharge.’

Teslas can cost as little as £40,000 and rise to over £100,000 depending on the model (Picture: Andreas Dress/Unsplash)

The prices of petrol have risen exponentially over recent years. Therefore, electric vehicles can help us to save money and help the environment.

It seems to make financial sense, as it exempts you from paying certain fees (like the ULEZ and road tax).

However, electric cars are more expensive than petrol cars. The cheapest electric car on the market currently is from Skoda at £15,000, while VW, Vauxhall, MG, Seat, MINI, and Fiat all have electric cars on sale for less than £30,000.

For some people this is around the ballpark they’d expect to pay, especially in comparison to Teslas or BMW’s electric options which start at around £40,000. But, if you’re a single parent or living paycheck-to-paycheck, dropping £15,000 on a car simply isn’t feasible – especially when you can get a perfectly workable second-hand petrol car for a fraction of that.

Kemp suggests leasing an electric car as an alternative option to buying, saying: ‘Brits can save huge amounts of money by leasing an electric car… as their car will cost less than standard car financing or buying your car outright.’

Many electric models available to lease are ‘nicer’ than those you could afford to buy, and companies offer payment plans to help with costs (while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint).

It still remains the case that investing in a chargeable car – even with leasing and financing options available – is a risk for most, and a huge chunk to spend.

Budget-minded people will choose to keep their old petrol engine and spend their hard-earned money on food and clothing. This is perfectly understandable. The environmental and global climate crisis often seem insignificant compared to the day-today challenges of ensuring your family has all they need.

Although an electric car can be a great option if you have the funds, the solution to our environmental problems lies in collective action and not what we individually can do.

Emissions of petrol and electric cars

A fully electric car emits no carbon emissions but consumes 40gCO2/km is the national grid power used for charging it.

Emissions from petrol cars can vary depending on the model. Large off-road vehicles emit up to 350gCO2/km.

If you can afford to switch to electric, it’s cheaper in the long-term and reduces your emissions. If you can’t afford it, you simply can’t, and shouldn’t feel bad.

Stick to making changes that are accessible for you but don’t, for example, get into debt in your efforts to save the planet.

We’re relying on a number of policy changes out of our individual control, such as better public transport infrastructure and cycle lanes so that buses, walking, and cycling are the preferred alternatives to driving.

Engineers and car manufacturers must find a way that electric cars can be made as affordable as gasoline cars. Only then will electric cars be affordable enough to make them a viable option instead of defaulting back to petrol models.

The climate crisis won’t be solved, or even helped, overnight, but we need to come together and demand these solutions from the people in charge.

Do your part. Just don’t expect electric vehicles alone to end global warming.

Do you have an interesting story to tell?

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