What’s the future for electric cars?

electric car chargingYears ago when we first started talking about electric cars, we all envisaged small bubble cars that could be plugged in at your front door. While we may not be able to plug in at the front door the engineering developments in electric cars have come a long way.

This year motor sport saw the introduction of the Formula E series which was watched by thousands and attracted the well recognised racing names of Prost, Senna, Andretti Piquet and Trulli.

Obviously you can’t compare it to F1; the sound, speeds and handling are very different but FE is only just beginning and who knows where it will be in 10 years?

Generally the look and feel of electric and hybrid cars is nothing like what was expected all those years ago. Yes, there are some vehicles that do resemble the original bubble type shape and are very small so not practical for families, but increasing numbers of manufacturers are recognising that they have to bring electric to their range. Many providers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz have introduced good looking hybrid cars to their ranges, removing the stigma that was originally associated with the look of an electric car and of course, making them family friendly.

A recent article by the BBC reported that Nissan has sold more than 2000 of their Leaf electric cars in the first half of this year. Government initiatives that reduce the cost of ownership go some way to explaining the increases in sales of electric cars.

The lack of availability of charging points is and will remain an issue for some time to come. If you live rurally then it’s unlikely you could manage with a completely electric car, but with most manufacturers now offering hybrids, this is an issue that is likely to reduce. However, charging time and battery life is still up for debate, especially for long journeys.

Developments in the last 12 months means that the charge time has reduced from 8 hours to 20 minutes and the network of charging stations is increasing. Ecotricity have installed around 170 superfast charging stations at motorway service stations over the past year and have seen in increase in their usage. Between October and December last year only 400o cars used the charging system, but this increased to 15,000 between April and June this year. With about 170 miles from a 30 minute superfast charge, this is going some way to resolving the long journey issues.

At the moment charging stations are free, so there must be some major fuel savings to be had. With electric cars sales increasing each year, it stands to reason that developments will continue to be made in this area.

Read the full BBC article here: Speedy charging driving a global boom in electric cars

 

What’s your view on electric cars? Do you own a hybrid? Let us know your experience and whether it’s resulted in major savings.

Image copyright:Copyright: packshot / 123RF Stock Photo