Well mostly at least. Yes, we have gone fully electric on the car front, even if the garden tractor and tools still need the occasional can of unleaded. Our own personal divestment at The Secret Acre.
With the old car in urgent need of replacement this winter, it simply felt wrong in 2020 to still be buying an old fashioned, polluting petrol engine (politicians take note).
Which is not to say we still didn’t um and ah for a long time. Not getting another petrol car was the easy decision, but whether to go hybrid or fully electric much harder. Here’s what we learned.
Electric cars (EVs) will undergo a step change in 2020. Every major manufacturer is bringing out a third generation EV this year, with the biggest batteries and range yet, and with even faster charging. By 2021 the perceived safety net of a hybrid engine will be irrelevant.
But in Winter 2019, at the cheap end of the EV market (which we can afford!) you are really limited to a first or second generation Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe, which is not necessarily for everyone depending on how you use your car.
The top thing we’ve learnt is that battery size is key.
The first generation EVs have 30 kilo watt (KW) batteries that do about 80 miles between charge. Fine for someone like my Mum who only potters around town these days, but not enough for us. Second generation EVs (which we ended up buying) have 40KW and will go 120 miles, which turned out to be ok for us.
We actually wrote down our regular journeys to see how many times we would need to stop and it was amazing how much difference that extra 30-40 miles made for us.
While for those driving a lot for work, they will probably need to wait just a bit longer for one of the new 2020 third generation EVs with 50KW batteries which will be another step change in mileage and should be enough for anyone.
Either way, drivers will need to make two mental shifts in future, both for the better.
Firstly you need to drive more thoughtfully to maximise your battery life. Gunning it down the motorway to arrive 5 minutes earlier won’t work. You’ll drain the battery and have stop to recharge making you later than the careful driver you has done a steady 65-70.
Secondly on long journeys you will need to stop and charge. No more formula one style splash and dash. Again from a road safety point of view this is a good thing, so embrace it. Personally we always have a stop like this anyway already. We have an elderly dog that need to be let out for a pee, and frankly at our age the same increasingly applies to us too!
So take 30 minutes for yourself and have a coffee. Better still get a copy of the Sawday’s book The Extra Mile and find an independent café just off the motorway, or google a nice farm shop café with a charging point. You’ll feel better for it, and it puts the joy back into travel!