The concept of electric cars being futuristic and space-like is no longer the case, although some can be, take the twizy for example which are small and compact making them easy to park and ideal for the city. There are also conventional family cars like the fluence which are spacious and have plenty of boot space. Therefore, depending on the desired use of the vehicle there could be a suitable electric car for you. For more information on the twizy and fluence see www.renault-ze.com.
Fuel Costs (Charging costs) - On average it takes 6 - 8 hours for the battery to reach full capacity which can be charged from a conventional household plug socket. A full battery can range from 30miles (lead acid) to 245 miles (lithium ion). Most manufacturers are producing cars with a range of about 100 miles. There is also a network of publically available free electric car charging points in the UK. Lakeside shopping centre Thurrock, Essex is the only local charging point which you can conveniently use whilst shopping. However, there are hundreds across the country and150+ charging points in London alone making the cost of fuelling an electric car extremely attractive.
Savings - there are financial incentives for using an electric car such as no congestion charge in London, no road tax, free or discounted parking and free charging bays.
Recyclable - many electric car designers take into consideration the impact they have on the environment and ensure they make the cars recyclable, they also use recycled materials to build the cars.
Noise - electric cars are extremely quiet. They've even introduced artificial noises to ensure those with visual impairments can hear them.
Energy & Emissions - electric cars produce zero CO2 emissions when running, they don't emit nitrous oxide or other particle emissions either. However, they can only be regarded as zero emissions if they obtain their power from a renewable source. So if you charge your battery at home and your house is powered from a non-renewable source, then you are still creating emissions. Electric engines are more efficient, so even if you do charge the battery from a non-renewable source, it still only produces halve the amount of CO2 compared to a conventional engine.
Health - petrol and diesel engines create a toxic mix of exhaust fumes, although in recent years fuels have improved and leaded petrol has been banned in the UK, they still contain a range of chemicals which are not good for the environment or the human health. Electric cars produce none of these!
Speed - high performance electric cars can reach up to 85-90 mph, on the other hand, the average electric car available in the UK will only comfortably reach 50-55 mph.
Costs - the upfront purchase cost of a new or used electric car is more expensive in comparison to its petrol or diesel counterpart. Go to www.renault-ze.com to see Renault's new range of electric cars called the ZE range, some of which are conventional but not all!
Distance -the range is affected by many different factors such as the battery, the weight of the vehicle, type of driving and the conditions. However, electric cars are relatively limited in how far they can go on one full charge but you can extend this with top up charging. Also, cold temperatures will affect the battery life as with any battery.
Batteries - as above, batteries have a fairly short trip life, they can only be recharged so many times before they require replacement - they are expensive to replace and they contain toxic chemicals that must be handled properly. These batteries do not run out without warning though, you will notice before they completely stop as a result of lack of power and sluggishness.
Charging time - the full recharge time for batteries can be upwards of 7-8 hours, however most batteries can achieve 80% in around 2.5 hours, this is still a lot slower than filling up a conventional car!
Lack of Infrastructure - Charging points, availability, maintenance and servicing are all concentrated in the cities (In the UK, London). To keep electric cars in warranty you'll have to take it to the dealer or a specialist but these at the moment are scarce. For them to be practical they'll need to be able to make longer journeys by having available facilities to recharge and the process needs to be quicker as you do when filling up a conventional car.
Electricity demand - Electricity generation in this country is not fully environmentally friendly as it stands. At the present time the UK grid could not support the demand for electric if everyone was to buy an electric car.