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Owning an EV: my thoughts, one year on – by Nicola Battey

Today marks one year of having an EV, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on how I’ve found it so far…

Firstly, I’ve avoided having a car in London for as long as reasonably possible – but with two small humans to look after, it was simply too difficult to put off any longer. In all honesty, before I had an EV I didn’t particularly enjoy driving but I love having our EV – and here’s why.

The benefits

For context, we have a Kia e-Niro 64kWh with a 282 mile range, which we chose for a number of reasons, the main ones (beyond environmental reasons) being; it had great reviews, it was reasonably priced (compared to a lease on a petrol VW Golf) and there wasn’t a 9 month waiting list. Initially, I overestimated our annual mileage, even at the minimum I could select on my lease. To date, we have done just over 3500 miles, even though our lease allows 6000 miles a year. I was a bit nervous choosing the absolute minimum, but it was clearly warranted. The EV came with a free insurance  for one year and a free charger included in the lease, which made adoption super simple. 


Now on to the topic of charging, admittedly, it’s not been the smoothest experience. We’ve already had our charger replaced once because the live wire burnt through – and we also had some wider electrical issues in the house since the charger was installed. I should point out that this is an a-typical experience but I can’t help thinking that the wider electrical issues in our house were in some way related. Thankfully the EV was still under a 7 year warranty, otherwise I’m not sure who could have repaired it. Overall, we charge a couple of times a month but with a Nissan Leaf, also regularly charged at our house, our electricity bill has increased by ~30% year on year. Less than ideal, given the current energy prices but it’s still cheaper than the cost of petrol (roughly £490 compared to £715).

The one time I’ve had ‘range anxiety’ (a common term in EV driving that points to the concerns you might have about running out of battery), is when I drove from Stansted to my home in South London in December with my 75 year-old step-mum and the kids in the back, without the heating on in the car to minimise my energy usage. It was pretty stressful, as I was trying not to break our journey to charge the car and still had to deal with my restless kids while driving in the cold at night. I arrived home with just 26 miles to spare – not great for my battery and well below my usual 20% of remaining battery threshold. It was far from ideal – and I’m not sure if my step-mum has forgiven me yet!

Regenerative braking

EVs include regenerative braking; a brilliant feature that automatically charges the car battery when driving downhill. Driving the car with regenerative braking is so much fun and my record for driving down the longest hill (and therefore, auto-charging my car) is Wimbledon Hill, 0.7 of a mile. It almost feels like driving a go-kart, which I found surprisingly zippy. I still go to change gear by default though, even after a year!

My conclusion on Electric Vehicles

I’m really happy that our family’s transport emissions have been lowered, while at the same time saving us money but there’s room for improvement in the infrastructure. The fact we have the ability to charge at home is crucial to us, as charging away from home on longer trips requires forward planning. Charging infrastructure is still inconsistent – if you’re unlucky, sometimes the charge point doesn’t work or is already in use when you get there (if you don’t have a Tesla). If the UK is serious about influencing more and more people to adopt electric vehicles, further investment in public charging infrastructure is needed to to make this a reality.

*Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

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