Carmageddon

06Mar18

Petrol

Filthy fossil fuel burning cars are here to stay, unfortunately.

Electric vehicles should be the future of transport. Vehicles that burn fossil fuels are putting toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. Electric vehicles will not catch on in Britain unless there’s a big change. Unfortunately there is no sign of that change any time soon.

The thing that is holding back EV ownership is not the vehicle manufacturers or the infrastructure, it’s something else entirely.

I would LOVE to own an electric car but it’s impractical, even though I’m a fan of EVs, I can’t get one because I won’t be able to charge it at home. One of the biggest bonuses of electric car ownership is the fact that you’ll never need to visit a petrol station. If you plug in at home, you always wake up to a full tank and home charging lets you use off-peak electricity, meaning you can drive for pennies per mile.

Julie and I live in a rented, first floor flat in a large block. There’s no power anywhere near our designated parking space and as we don’t own the property, we would need permission from the landlord to install something and it would be very expensive.

We’ve decided to buy our own place and have been house hunting recently. We’ve been looking at new-builds because that way, we qualify for the government’s Help-to-Buy scheme. None of the places we’ve looked at have a designated place to plug in an electric vehicle. A couple of the houses we saw did have a place next to the house where you could park and possibly have a charging point fitted, but there was no wiring there. Terraced houses and townhouses are a no-go unless you can park right outside, off the street.

Houses are tricky but new flats are impossible. NONE of the brand new blocks of flats we saw had charging points near the designated parking spaces or any way to get power there without digging up the car park and running cables underground. Even if you managed that, you’d still have to connect it to your own personal electricity meter. The flat we’re looking to buy right now is on the third floor so that would be tricky.

You’d think that new homes being built right now would be set up for the future. The British government has made it clear that the sale of all diesel and petrol cars will be banned by 2040. Is anyone thinking about how we’re going to charge all of the electric vehicles that replace them in 22 years time?

It’s strange that a lot of the houses we looked at, came with solar panels on the roof but nowhere to charge an electric vehicle. With fossil fuel cars on the way out, homes being built right now should be being built with charging points, at least as an option.

I know you can charge your new electric vehicle at a charging station but unless you own a Tesla and live near a supercharger, that’s going to be expensive and inconvenient. To get a decent charge you have to be connected for a long time. There are two charging stations in a car park not far from where we live now. Saturday lunch time, I drove past and noticed both were being used. A Renault Zoe and a BMW i3 were plugged into them, in so if I had an electric car now and needed to charge it on Saturday, I wouldn’t have been able to.

The people who’ll benefit the most from electric vehicle ownership are the less well off, because electric cars are much cheaper to run and maintain. The paradox is that electric cars are a lot more expensive to buy and to charge them at home, you have to own your own detached or semi-detached house with a driveway next to it or in front of it, so only the well-off can afford electric cars.

The ban on fossil fuel vehicles is one thing but along with that we need regulations that make it compulsory for builders to supply a parking space with an electric vehicle charging point with every new home.

Along with “Help-To-Buy”, we need Help-to-Detoxify!

Craic on!

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