Recent research shows that, in addition to pumping out absurd amounts of CO2 and contributing to irreversible global climate change, our tailpipe emissions have a far worse local impact than we had imagined. According to a study by the Universities of Oxford and Bath, Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and particulates from diesel exhausts contributing directly to approximately 10,000 premature deaths per year. This doesn’t take into account the costs of treating patients with pollution-related respiratory illnesses, these combined with the death toll costing the NHS anything between £22.6 billion and £71.3 billion per year. Now, some cynics might say that the massive disparity in these figures makes them unreliable, but it is largely due to the range in cause-effect analysis techniques used by the researchers. It should not detract from the fact that the £22.6 billion at the lower end is, actually, still quite a lot of taxpayer money. Whichever way you view it, continued use of internal combustion engines is racking up the financial burden on society.
By 2032, here in Scotland all brand new cars will have to be either fully electric (EVs), hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or another type of ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV).
Now is a better time than ever to start the shift in driving preferences. Below is a comprehensive, myth-busting breakdown of everything you wanted to know about the use of electric vehicles (EVs).
The driving range is probably longer than you thought – and with battery technology getting better by the day, so the ranges of new EVs are getting longer. The new Nissan Leaf, for example, has a range of 168 miles, and using a rapid charger it can take on 80% of its full charge in between 40 and 60 minutes. For inner and intra city driving, that should be sufficient for most of the population. Plus, planning longer journeys around locations of rapid chargers ensures a stress-free journey with the added bonus of an hour’s dinner break.
Electric vehicles are pretty affordable upfront, and when you consider your potential financial savings on fuel, the overall monetary benefit is striking. According to PodPoint, it only costs around £3.64 to charge your vehicle at home, giving you 150 miles to play with. Consider how much the diesel would cost to get you this far: with current fuel prices and a car which does 47mpg, that’s around £20. For an annual mileage of 15,000, the diesel car costs you £2000. ‘Fuelling’ an electric vehicle according to these figures, on the other hand, would take just £364 out of your pocket across the whole year. That figure is at the high end of what it would cost, since it ignores the fact that many charge points in Scotland are completely free!
The MacDonalds Brothers Butchers in Pitlochry show us a fantastic example of how switching a small fleet to electric can return a massive saving. Home Energy Scotland expect that the small business will save over £11,000 this year, following the replacement of two vans and a Volkswagen Golf with similar-sized electric vehicles!
There are charge points located all over Scotland, so range anxiety need not be a factor. Go to Charge Places Scotland to see which ones are closest to the places that you regularly visit. It might surprise you to learn that, despite being so remote, the Western Isles have some of the best charging infrastructure in the country. With more and more appearing all the while, EV charging is surely just as convenient as driving to your nearest fuel station.
With most car manufacturers bringing out electric models, the industry is set to skyrocket and we are already seeing the buds of innovation as EV-Photovoltaic couplings begin to be developed. Get in there early and help drive this revolution in mainstream motoring!
In the waiting period leading up to the day where you make the switch, you can still take measures to reduce your carbon footprint and that of your company. In doing so, you might even cut costs by as much as 15% simply by driving your internal combustion vehicle smoothly and smartly. Acceleration and drag are the two biggest drains on your fuel tank, but the driver can minimise these. For example, greater anticipation of the road ahead will ensure fuel-saving smooth decelerations: stamping out sharp braking decreases the need for reacceleration, which guzzles precious fuel. When you do reaccelerate, doing so steadily and changing up gears before 2000RPM (or 2500RPM for diesel) ensures that you’re not outputting unnecessary particulates. Plus, simply slowing down to just below the national speed limit on the motorway dramatically reduces the air resistance on your vehicle. Ask yourself, do you really need to be driving fast? You could save as much as 23% of your fuel if you’re the driver of a large diesel van, and you slow down from 75mph to 60mph. Taking your time also makes your journey safer for you and all other road users.
Consider booking your drivers onto an Energy Saving Trust approved FuelGood Driver Training course. Through assessment of each individual’s driving habits, a FuelGood trainer can advise tailored behaviour changes to improve driving efficiency. Administered by professional instructors, the success of these courses is in the statistics: amongst the drivers who undertook FuelGood Driver Training in Scotland during the 2017-18 financial year, the average MPG increase was 16.6%. The associated cost saving, for an assumed average mileage range of 10,000 miles per year per driver, is a significant 13.5%. Not bad at all.
For further information call 0800 0931 669 or visit Energy Saving Trust.