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Buying an Electric Car

1 Aug 2022 | NEWS

 

Jennifer recently took delivery of a new electric Mercedes EQA Colin sourced for her and below is her blog about why she decided to go electric and all the various points she had to consider before purchase and of course after delivery. Thank you Jennifer for the business and we were delighted to have been able to help you again.

Having been immersed in studying sustainability through the lens of leadership for the last four years it was inevitable that I’d be switching to an electric car at some point.

Fuelled by a summer of listening to the futurenaughts podcast, ‘How to survive the future’, I find myself constantly reflecting on what action I can take to do my bit to sustain the resources available to us all from Mother Earth.  

  • Changing my energy supplier to those utilising or investing in green energies
  • Banking with organisations investing more heavily in greener initiatives
  • Reducing the waste coming out of my house
  • Buying what I can from second hand, preloved or upcycled craftery magic
  • Significantly reducing my meat intake (especially red meat) and supporting local UK suppliers where I can
  • More conscious shopping… Amazon who?

The list seems to go on… and can often feel overwhelming, which is why I’m tackling one thing at a time.

Whilst travelling around Northumberland for our summer holidays listening to my favourite podcast, ‘How to survive the future’, I realised that my car PCP would soon be up for renewal. This meant I’d need to make a choice; change it, buy it out or give it up completely.

Travel was indeed the next thing on my list of things to do so I can sleep again and stop having nightmares about Greta Thunburg pointing her finger at me…!  Whilst listening to my podcast and driving around, it occurred to me that I should try and go full electric or hybrid or perhaps I should keep my current car for as long as I can?  Apparently only one third of a car’s carbon emissions are in the running of the car, another third in its manufacturing and another third in its inevitable destruction (until we figure out how to upcycle and recycle cars). 

Keeping my car would therefore be sensible on one third but not another and I couldn’t do anything about the manufacturing aspect. As we’re heading toward a world fuelled more by electric, I decided to get on the train early. 

I’ve always loved cars. I grew up with a mechanic Dad who was always fixing up motors in his garage. But more than that I love the sense of freedom they bring. I feel very lucky that I even own a car considering what a luxury they are to so many other humans.  It’s a privilege I don’t ever take for granted. 

I start my research on Electric cars… I have absolutely zero knowledge!  First up, I buy a couple of car magazines showcasing electric car ranges. My first thought – they’re bloody expensive!  (and of course I’m left salivating over the Jaguar iPace which is most definitely outside of my budget for now).  My second thought…. Can I get to the furthest place I need to travel without having to charge it?  My furthest friends live on the Isle of Skye and in Devon…. So the short answer to that is no.  The average range (at time of writing) for full electric was around 250 miles. The majority of mid to high range vehicles advertising ranges up to 280 … I’ll come back to this. 

I then start to think I should perhaps go hybrid first. 70% of my journeys are local and so the average range for hybrid (circa 30-40 miles) would suffice for local pottering and visiting the majority of my current clients.

At this point I start to feel overwhelmed with indecision and too much choice. And isn’t that just part of the ecological problem we face? The irony is not lost on me.  I create a short list of full electric and hybrid cars I’m interested in and set about test driving.

First up the Volvo XC40, one of my favourite cars on the road at the moment. A smooth drive, but something felt lost on the interior for me. Something I noticed about a lot of electric cars I test drove. There’s more room inside which gave some of the SUV’s I tried more of a mini-bus feel to them.  Some of the luxury was lost on the interior.

The Mini hybrid I absolutely loved. Pretty much like my last Mini Cooper I had some 18 years ago, but pimped up. The drive was smooth (and very nippy) and the interiors had that fun element to them. A definite contender.

I took my Dad to drive the Ford Mustang Mach-e. I hated it. He loved it. The interior computer was way over the top for the car (perhaps that’s how I’d describe the car overall, everything was over the top). The driver assistance was so full on, it made me feel like a nervous grandma that couldn’t drive (you can switch it all off).  I’m clearly not ready for driverless cars !

The Mercedes EQA was by far my favourite which wasn’t a surprise given I’d been driving around in the GLA for the last four years.  But this was a significant step up in terms of investment. Most electric cars seemed to be an additional £10k on top of their fuel equivalents which I have struggled to get my head around.  I’m at a loss in most of the cars I’ve looked at, to see where that extra investment went.

I also tried to try the VW ID4. As per all Volkswagen cars, the advertising was fabulous.  I was sure I’d found a happy compromise between style, cost, functionality. Stylish from the outside not so much the inside. I didn’t even drive it off the forecourt. What they’ve spent in advertising was surely the budget for the inside of the car. A simple national express coach arm rest put the nail in the coffin for me and a swiftly swiped it off the list.

The drive on all the electric cars seemed pretty consistent to me across the brands I drove. If you’re used to automatic driving, then you’ll switch over nicely. It has a consistent access to power so it’s nippy to move but smooth at the same time. You have to get used to their being no gear changes, so you can easily feel like you’re gliding/cruising.  It makes for a pleasurable driving experience (unless you’re a petrol head and like the thrill of gear changes).

Thanks to Colin at UK Prestige Car Brokers, (or Colin the Car Man as I lovingly call him), we managed to make the finances work so I could invest in the car I wanted. The EQA.  As a business owner, it also made sense to put the car through the business, something I have never done before. There are currently good incentives around from the government to encourage more people who can, to move to electric so it’s definitely worth considering from that perspective.

On the downside, range anxiety is real. I have definitely had to switch from my fly by the seat of my pants spontaneity to being more organised. Thinking ahead to the next day, and whether I have enough charge for the miles I know I need to do (+ten percent just in case). I’ve started thinking about trips and journeys in terms of mileage not time, even considering the train more for longer journeys (despite the fact I’m now more green than not).

Considering that caring for my car now requires me to consider the most efficient way of tending to a battery (!!). Tips like not over charging it, letting it run down to low often, making sure if you have to leave it for a few days, you leave it only half charged…. It’s a whole new world.

Getting my head around public charging has been a right faff… but like anything new or a major change, these things take time to adjust to before they become second nature. By far the easiest way to charge your car is to plug it in at home. If you can afford it, get a home charger installed so you can set it to charge fastish (4 hours on average) overnight, when most energy providers have cheaper tariffs. The average charge for me is less than £10 to charge 75-85%.  It’s equivalent to around 6p /mile (I’m told).

It’s worth noting, some public chargers are not so super-fast. I made that mistake once, won’t be doing it again.  Main service stations seem to be better equipped with the fast charge points. Avoid park and ride as they’re the slower kind, designed for you to leave your car all day I suppose. And there are apps for everything. Mercedes has it’s own app for the car which also helps you find charge points out and about. Zapmap is also really helpful for the same thing.  As are friends who have already converted to electric car, thanks to my friend Dave who has been a legend in answering my million and one questions.

In summary I couldn’t be happier, I’ve stopped dreaming about Greta (and turned my attention to the next thing on my list… transferring my banking). I feel great popping to M&S services (for food treats) and not filling my car up with fuel.  The drive is soooo smooth I feel like I glide everywhere, which in turn is making me drive more slowly and carefully. Inside the car (and outside considering the apps) there is enough gadgetry to keep this gadget gal happy for many a long drive to Skye and back. Here’s to greener adventures x

Jennifer Potter of Simply JP
Helping leaders to create places to work, where people can perform their best work

 

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