Are Electric Vehicles the Future?
As we move towards a more eco-friendly era, is the future of travel really electric?
With climate change an ever present threat and with short deadlines to hit net zero in the UK, attention is turning to long term changes that could benefit our environment.
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It wasn’t so long ago that electric cars seemed a far off dream and were no rival to our petrol fuelled runarounds. But sales of electric cars increased by over 76% in 2021. There’s an estimated 400,000 electric cars on UK roads and as of January 2022, over 750,000 plug-in hybrids.
So you could say that yes, the future really is electric!
What’s the difference between an EV and a PHEV?
An EV is a fully Electric Vehicle. They run on a battery rather than petrol and use an electric motor rather than the internal combustion engine that traditional petrol vehicles use.
A PHEV is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle and, as the name suggests, utilises both electric and petrol power. They have a battery and electric engine, as well as a petrol tank and internal combustion engine.
It’s not surprising that there are more PHEVs on the road than EVs. One of the main worries about EVs – apart from the price! – is the ability to charge them up. A PHEV gives you the eco-friendly credit you crave, but offers an alternative should your battery die miles away from a plug.
PHEVs also come in a little cheaper than EVs, which are still a luxury purchase and not quite the family runaround you might be looking for. PHEVs are more expensive than standard cars, but more affordable than EVs.
How many EV charging points are there in the UK?
You’ll be surprised to hear that there are more places to charge your EV than there are to fill up your petrol-guzzling car!
There are over 42,000 charge point connectors in over 15,500 locations in the UK!
But charging up your EV isn’t as simple as filling up your petrol tank. You will need to plan your journeys around where there are EV charging points, and you should always have a charging cable with you in case there isn’t one available or it’s damaged.
You can use apps like ZapMap to find your nearest charging station, so using an EV doesn’t mean you’ll break down in the middle of nowhere. If you’re making a long journey, just make sure you’ve checked for charging points along the way and know when you’ll need to top up!
As of January 2022, a Tesla vehicle travelled 750miles on a single charge – while that isn’t yet standard for EVs, it’s possible this is a mark of how efficient an electric future could be.
Do I need to install a charging point on my property?
With so many charging points across the UK, this isn’t something you need to worry about right now – EPC rate increases definitely take priority. After all, no one expects you to have a petrol tank installed on the property!
However, having a charging point is a lot more doable than installing your own personal garage, so this may be something that tenants will be looking out for in the future. Many tenants may find it convenient to head off on a long journey, knowing they’d plugged in overnight and were fully charged for the journey.
The benefits of installing a charging point
- A selling point. If you’ve decided to update your property and include a charging point, you should definitely be playing that up in your ad, to catch the eye of any tenants with an EV. Even if they don’t own an EV, this indicates that you’re ahead of the curve and a great responsive landlord to rent from
- Increased value. As of June 2021, around 76% of homes with an EV charger installed showed an increase in value
- Safety first. As EVs become more standard, having a dedicated charger on the property gives you the peace of mind that your tenants aren’t going to run a cable out of the window and plug into a standard plug, potentially overloading your electrics and causing damage to your property or even fire. Make sure your EICR is up-to-date!
- Cheaper than you think! According to the RAC, it costs about £800 to install a home charger. Less powerful chargers can be as little as £250-350, while more powerful ones cost around £1,500. However, the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) currently offers a grant of up to £350 to help with the cost of installation, so it’s definitely worth checking to see if you qualify for that financial support. If not, take a look at your budget, using an expenses tracker, to see if you can plan ahead for installation in the future.
The downsides of installing charging points:
- Certified installer required. As with all things electrical, you’ll need to track down someone who is certified to install an EV charging point. Contact your energy company for a recommendation. As EVs become more popular, certified installers are becoming easier to find
- Access. You can only install an at-home charging point if you have off-street parking or a garage, so this is only really a viable option for house-owners, rather than flat-owners
- Compatibility. If you install a tethered charger, it may not fit every car, which will be disappointing and frustrating. An untethered charger connects to any vehicle, but anyone using it will need to bring their own charging cable
- Eyesore. Your charger will be installed on an exterior wall and designs can vary, so make sure that you choose something that doesn’t draw the eye in a bad way!
- Safety. You might not be able to install your charger at all, as there are regulations that engineers have to follow, including making sure that any metal objects are at least 2.5 metres away from the charging point. If your property is too close to a streetlamp for example, you won’t be able to install a charger.
So should you go ahead and install an EV charger?
The short answer is – there is no rush! With so many charging points around the UK, this isn’t something that tenants are currently demanding, though there is no doubt that it will be a growing selling point in years to come.
If you are eligible to install one and you have the spare cash to do so, you will be boosting the value of your property, so go for it. However, clean and modern kitchens and bathrooms are much bigger selling points for tenants, so move an EV charger a little down your to-do list.