My electric car

Posted on 4th December 2017 by Wendy

On October 16th my husband and I bought an electric car.

I still find it hard to believe we actually were able to do so, but it was not as hard as we thought!

Having volunteered at Greener Kirkcaldy for almost 3 years now, I have taken part in fuel efficient driving training, had a home energy visit and helped out at lots of events with my electric bike. It has also inspired me to be greener and use our car in a better way.

But an electric car just seemed like a dream for the future – with the hills, not enough charging points and poor range. However, when we saw an Electric Vehicle event organised by The Energy Saving Trust, we thought it would be fun to do a test drive and see some electric cars, so we went along. Little did we know that by the time we went home we would be talking about selling our car and buying a fully electric car.

What changed our minds?

  1. You currently charge for free in Scotland, yes free! You just buy a £20 card from Charge Place Scotland and then you can charge for free at any of the many many chargers throughout the country.

  2. There are a lot of charging points. Just look at the app that we now use – ‘Plugshare’ – and you’ll see there are more than you could possibly need. Have a look at the online map and find the charging points in the places you visit every day.

  3. You can get a £500 grant from the government, and £500 grant from the Energy Saving Trust for a home charging point. That essentially gives you a ‘free’ charger at home as they cost around £1000. (More info on this here).

  4. No road tax.

  5. Very low running cost. Our previous diesel car cost 0.10 pence a mile to drive, our current car (if charging at home) costs 0.04 pence per mile! So free if using the free public charging points.

  6. Safer (at least for us). The extra breaks we take to charge on our journey mean that we have better focus on the road and make the drive more relaxing, and ultimately safer.

  7. You can get an interest free loan from the government when buying an electric car for up to £30,000 to be paid back over 6 years. You do not need to borrow the full amount, so you can borrow what you need depending on the car and what you can afford to pay back a month. Click here for more information.

  8. With 3 types of chargers, you can choose the one that you need. A rapid charger charges your car to 80% in just 30 minutes. Depending on your battery size the other two take between 2 and 10 hours. Perfect for leaving your car to charge while you’re at a meeting, or out shopping.

Our car

We bought a Nissan Leaf Tekna, second hand. It’s just under 3 years old and has the full trim (leather seats, Bose sound system, 360 cameras). With our budget we went for a 24kWh battery meaning we can do 90 miles on a full charge. It does not sound much but that gives us a real-world range of 45 miles. That is well within most peoples’ daily commutes and travel needs.

You could also drive from Kirkcaldy to Glasgow without needing to charge until you get there. Driving an electric car takes a bit of planning and getting used to, but it’s actually loads of fun!

The new Nissan Leaf coming out in January has a 40kWh battery giving you an expected real-world range of over 200 miles. A Tesla, A model X, has a 100kWh battery and gives you a range of nearly 350 miles. It’s safe to say that, within a few years, electric cars will be able to make long-distance trips without the need for charging on the way.

We bought our car from a seller in Orkney. We drove our car home to Fife without any issue and found plenty of charging points along the way, so if you do not mind taking your time with your travels it is already more than doable to drive long stretches with your EV!

Most car brands have an electric vehicle in their showroom, so go have a look. It is realistic and it is so much fun!

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