The Derbyshire Times has spoken to people who live and work in Chesterfield to find out the pros and cons of e-cars.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, has owned an electric vehicle since September last year.
“I bought it because as leader of the borough council I felt I should lead by example – and it’s a decision I have not regretted,” she told the Derbyshire Times.
“It is very smooth to drive with good acceleration and responsive braking, and it has a very light feel compared with a petrol car.
“It is extremely convenient to charge from a point fitted to the external wall of my house close to our drive where I park.
“I usually charge up overnight – no more queuing at petrol stations saves me a lot of time.
“There is a Government grant scheme which helps with the fitting costs of a home charging point.
“I found the application process easy – it was all done online from my phone.
“All new build houses in Chesterfield borough have to have charging points fitted by the developer.
“Before my home charger was fitted I charged the vehicle in the Saltergate multi-storey car park.
“I chose this because it is well lit and I felt safe coming and going from there even when it was dark – even after adding on the car parking fee it was cheaper than filling up with petrol.
“When I charge at home from 50 miles left to full, circa 280 miles, it has cost around £6 per charge.
“Away from home it has never cost me more than £9.”
Coun Gilby said when she has been away she has found it easy to find a charging point either by an app on her smart phone or by asking people at, for example, tourist sites.
“I travelled to Wales during the petrol shortage in September it was lovely not to have to worry about it,” she added.
“While the cost of buying an electric vehicle still seems higher than a conventional vehicle, the cost of running it is much lower – for example, there’s zero road tax and there are no charges when driving in central London and other low emission zones.”
Martin Wallis-Keyworth, owner of Less Than Zero Barbers on Soresby Street in Chesterfield, bought his e-car around six weeks ago.
He said: “The best thing is the running cost.
“It’s currently costing me less than £10 a week in comparison to £65 a week with my previous diesel car, plus I don’t pay road VAT as it’s exempt.
“The service cost is significantly less too and the batteries are significantly better than flashlight batteries."
Martin said a disadvantage could be accessibility to charge points
“Right now, and it’s not just in Chesterfield, there’s a limit to the time you can charge for,” he said.
“It’s generally set at around 60 to 90 minutes.
“Well imagine you park in Saltergate multi-storey and put your car on charge – you get in to work and then have to leave to move it and take it off charge; it’s not going to happen as it’s really not practical.
“The other thing is that if you put your car on charge in an electric vehicle bay then you could get a parking ticket, as has happened to me, as the parking attendants can’t recognise what is an electric vehicle and what isn’t.”
What would Martin say to people who aren't sure if they should go ahead and get an electric vehicle?
"Fuel cost is only going to go up and I know electricity is but electricity prices will level off as new ways of eclectic generation are developed," he said.
“Diesel and petrol are a finite resource – they will run out at some point.
“It makes sense making the switch.”
Another Chesterfield man, who asked not to be identified, said: “In July 2019 we had a 450-mile trip to Northumberland and back when we were able to top our e-car’s battery up for free, mainly at Lidl supermarkets.”
Derbyshire County Council busts three common myths about electric vehicles
1. It's really expensive to switch to an electric vehicle
A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “The price of an electric vehicle varies depending on which brand of car or van you choose. And like any new car they can be a big investment.
“However, help is available from the Government's plug-in car grant which gives you up to £2,500 off the ‘on the road’ price of a number of new, 100 per cent electric cars and up to £6,000 off the price of a new 100 per cent electric van.
“Reduced fuel, tax and running costs all help to bring down the overall cost of choosing an electric or hybrid vehicle.”
2. There are not many places to charge an electric vehicle
The spokesperson said: “We continue to work in partnership with other agencies, including local district and borough councils, to identify additional sites for charging points.
“Since 2019 more than 115 public facing charge points have been installed across the county with more to follow.”
3. You cannot drive very far in an electric vehicle
The spokesperson said: “You can actually drive a lot further than you might think.
“The range of electric vehicles is improving all the time with some of the latest models able to drive more than 100 miles on a single charge and some considerably further.
“All electric vehicles display live information about how much charge your vehicle has and how far you will be able travel.”
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