Technology

I drove an electric car for a week and almost ran out of battery on the highway

The battery of this Tesla had only 15 miles left and the charging point I went to was broken.

To be fair, I’m panicking. I’m not sure what happens when the battery dies – damage the car?

We drove a Tesla for a week to learn to own an electric car

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We drove a Tesla for a week to learn to own an electric carCredit: Louis Wood
Broken charging points are a big headache for car drivers who don't have their own driveway

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Broken charging points are a big headache for car drivers who don’t have their own drivewayCredit: Louis Wood

It’s not like I can pick up a can of jerry and walk to the nearest gas station to fix the problem.

There was an incoming call on my phone connected to the car, and I quickly hung up, fearing it would drain the battery further.

Like about 8 million homeowners in the UK, my home has no driveway or off-street parking.

The block of houses on the ground that I live in, lined up with parked cars.

Often there are no vacancies and I will have to park on the next street.

So where do you want to buy an electric car?

The government is pushing us all towards electric cars.

By 2030, you won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car.

But for this grand scheme to work, UK motorists desperately need the infrastructure in place to make it happen.

If you have a dedicated driveway or parking space, you can charge your car at home overnight – simple and incredibly cheap.

RAC estimates it will cost you about a dollar to fully charge your car at home, giving you a range of 300 miles on a battery.

There are even grants to help you get money from Set up your own charging point.

But that doesn’t help me at the moment. I frantically clicked on the Genie ChargePoint app to find the nearest working car charger to me because all the chargers at this station were broken.

It’s five miles away in a Morrisons parking lot and if that one gets demolished, I’m officially out of options.

When I learned there was a charging point less than a mile from my house, I was surprised when the battery turned red and the car started flashing a warning.

But all three at the station were broken, and the same thing happened at the next location I found.

Channel 4 recently Documentary Investigations show that about 1 in 20 charging points it samples are not usable.

About 10% of the Fast Chargers they sampled were out of date and 3% of the new Ultra Rapid Chargers were faulty.

Dispatches’ investigation even discovered a charging point that had been dormant for SIX years.

In the Morrisons car park in Essex, I got lucky – the charging point was working.

But there’s something else that I haven’t taken into account. Standard charging stations are extremely slow.

When I plugged it in, I was told it would take 6 hours and 30 minutes to fully charge my car.

There was also a sign saying I would be fined if I stayed longer than 90 minutes.

Drivers are not convinced about electric cars

A recent opinion survey found cost is the biggest concern for motorists when it comes to electric vehicles, with 56% being driven by price.

But 54% of drivers surveyed are concerned that toll booths are too scarce.

4 out of 10 drivers say they have no choice electric car charger at homeand many people also worry about their safety when charging in public.

Sitting in a slow-charging Tesla in the back corner of a supermarket parking lot, I can definitely relate to this last point. I feel like a sitting duck.

If someone comes close to me and I feel uncomfortable or threatened, I can’t just run away while my car is docked at the charging point – not to mention the fact that the battery is almost empty.

Brighter lighting, better positioning and faster charging are clearly needed for drivers to feel safe.

However, electric vehicles are definitely the future.

Currently, electric cars only account for about 7% of sales, but that number is growing – and this year’s fuel crisis is only accelerating the trend.

Online searches for electric vehicles increased 1,600% in September as Petrol pumps nationwide have run out, according to Google search data.

I can see why – after a week with this car, I almost sold the idea myself.

It’s smooth and nimble, comfortable, and it even parks for you – although that feels VERY weird.

My husband is particularly interested in all the high-tech equipment that comes standard, while a friend was delighted when he changed the sound of the indicator from the usual “tick” to a humming noise.

Costs are coming down

And electric vehicles are also becoming more affordable. You can get a Skoda Citigo from around £19,000 when we review the Autotrader and a Renault Zoe for £22,000.

The Tesla Model 3 I’m driving is the cheapest option from the EV pioneer, starting at around £38,000.

Insurance costs are also falling. According to GoCompare, the average price to insure an electric car was £450.83 in the first half of 2021 – down from £515.83 a year ago.

But infrastructure is still a real problem.

There are currently around 26,000 charging devices in the UK but there are 32.7 million cars on the road – that’s 125 cars per charging point.

Luckily, I live in a pretty big town so I have another charging point a few miles away – but what about those living in the countryside?

The Competition and Markets Authority has suggested that a 10-fold increase in the number of tollgates is needed across the UK by 2030 and more needs to be done to end the “postcode lottery” to find a station. fee.

Mileage is another common issue raised among skeptics.

But at 300 miles per tank, this Tesla has served me well for the week – I’m definitely the one to blame for getting it too close to a power cord before charging.

In fact, it is estimated that the average UK motorist only drives about 142 miles a week

Verdict

I’ve always been skeptical about electric cars – mainly because I have the same cost and charging concerns as everyone else.

However, a week with this Tesla has almost transformed me.

Driving with my husband, I began to speculate about whether an EV might appear in our future, with its smooth ride and no worries about shifting gears.

And then it’s time to charge.

Even if I hadn’t left it on until the battery was almost empty, I’d still have to go around three different charging stations to find a working one, or redirect to the nearest Tesla supercharger.

And there’s no way I want to wait six hours to get fully charged – I’ll be fined anyway.

On top of that, my personal safety seems like a very real concern while I’m plugged in – which will only get worse on a dark winter night.

Until the infrastructure improves, electric vehicles are not a viable option for every driver, myself included.

How can you get EV through salary sacrifice

Cost is often a major obstacle for motorists looking to purchase an electric vehicle.

But options like sacrificing wages are one way to reduce costs, as long as your employer allows you to do so.

Payroll sacrifice is when you give up a bit of your paycheck to save on income tax and VAT in return for a non-cash benefit like a work cycle program, training, or a company car.

In this case, the employer needs to register with a company like Love Electrical.cars and then the worker can choose their electric vehicle.

You pay a flat monthly rate, which includes servicing, maintenance, and breakdown insurance.

For example, someone earning £25,000 a year could rent a Fiat 500 Electric Hatchback for a 48-month lease term.

The standard price will be £285 a month but through salary sacrifice you will pay £165 a month as the payment is made from your salary before tax which means you pay less income tax income and more national insurance contributions.

Steve Tigar, founder at love electro.cars, said: “Many people still don’t know there’s a ‘bike to work’ program for electric vehicles.

“Not if, that’s when people will switch to electricity, and with incentives for employees, that’s indisputable now.”

Tesla Model Y review: The new £55,000 electric SUV offers more space and 315miles per full charge

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Fry Electronics Team

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