Book Review: real-world experiences with electric cars – We Bought One!

With the news that Bentley will only be producing electric vehicles from 2030, we all know what’ll be in our letter to Santa that Christmas! But for those with more modest expectations it’s not always easy to get hold of decent information about what its like to run an electric car – or motorbike!

My good friend Peter Henshaw, eco-warrior and general two-wheeled fiend, has put in the legwork to find out what electric car users have experienced with their choice of vehicle. From Tesla to Mia, these intrepid early adopters tell us what it’s like to suffer ‘range anxiety’.

This book is a mine of information and has certainly put this writer on the path towards acquiring an electric car sooner rather than later – I don’t think we’ll be waiting for the Bentley.

It’s worth looking at who these early e-car adopters are; certainly they were already enthusiasts for the technology and are, shall we say, of a certain age that gives them flexibility in their relationship with the open road. That’s not to say that these vehicles spend all of their time either in front of the house or in the local supermarket carpark – these pioneers are testing the range and performance of their cars in some solid long-range adventures.

If, as proponents of the LED revolution, we’ve learned nothing else, we have learned the argument about ‘paying forward’. A good LED luminaire will have a higher purchase price, but the savings in running costs can be immense – and that kind of spend n’ save cost balance applies just as well to running an electric car. The upfront cost may look a bit daunting, but the cost of ‘re-fuelling’ is dramatically lower.

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Happily, for those looking for real information and not a puff-piece, this is a warts-and-all message. You learn quickly about wearing an extra jumper for your winter driving and the crazy pick ‘n mix that makes up the UK’s public charging arrangements, a situation that makes you wonder if the Betamax v. VHS struggle ever happened (come on guys – how difficult can it be to decide on a standard plug and socket?).

When I first read the book I wondered about the inclusion of electric motorcycles – they are a sort of niche within a niche, I thought. But then, on second thoughts, not really. We’re seeing a definite move towards e-bikes (motorised push bikes) and we’re already seeing some in that category that, in other situations, would certainly be described as mopeds (ask your grandad), so including proper electric motorbikes adds some performance to that delightful spectrum of two-wheeled travel.

The UK government has announced that sales of petrol- and diesel-engined vehicles will be banned from 2035. I suspect that the impetus towards electric vehicles will mean the end of the internal combustion engine earlier than that. As demand for fossil fuel falls, how soon can it be before service stations switch away from the old pumps towards super-fast charging points? The companies will follow the money, and the smart money is on an electric future.

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ORDER YOUR COPY OF ‘WE BOUGHT ONE!

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