Until we get walkable communities, greener cars are run on electric. But most cars still use petrol or diesel (see tips to be a greener driver including info on avoiding oil/antifreeze pollution to help pets and wildlife). Read how to reduce road traffic and clean up road litter.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered either by a battery or hybrid (using petrol or diesel as back-up). The battery is charged at home or in supermarkets for 1 to 10 hours, to drive 20 to 50 miles. Electric cars need no oil (save the gearbox) and there are no moving parts. But new ones cost around £20K (though are around 80% cheaper to run). They are lighter to drive but do take getting used to, then most people prefer them. Grants (also for charging stations) are gradually being offered, to encourage the switch.
One issue of concern is whether wildlife (and children) can hear quiet cars. But electric cars tend to only be silent at very low speeds on smooth roads (like driving out of a supermarket). Once at normal speed, the main sound is tyre noise (the same for all cars). Electric cars do accelerate faster, but the main safety concern is for people who speed (they are not in control of the car – the highest rate for crashes in electric cars are people who drive Porsches, usually bought for speed). Read how to make roads safer for wildlife.
how to electric cars work?
Just like your phone, by converting energy from the plug to a rechargeable battery. As well as reducing emissions, electric cars reduce pollution (London’s mayor says 50% is caused by transport). The government aims to ban all petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Go Zero Car Chargers can also be used to reduce energy bills. You have it installed by engineers, then can use the app to rent out your charging station to other residents or tourists, so they can charge at lower cost, and you make some passive income.
An alternative way to drive an electric or hybrid car is to join a car-sharing club, where you pay an hourly fee to drive new safe cars, and the company pays for everything else (road tax, MOT, cleaning and some even have petrol and breakdown cards in the glovebox).
The Best Electric Cars?
If you want to learn more about electric cars, it pays to listen to petrol-head (now electric-head) experts! Car Magazine has a list of the best most affordable electric cars (2023) from people who know what they are talking about. Includes price guides and comparisons for your favourite style of car.
- Coming top is Fiat 500 (a small city car with optional soft-roof top). It has good safety features and goes a long way on a full charge, the audio system designed with opera singer Andrea Bocelli. Available in lovely colours, the seats are made from vegan leather and recycled ocean plastic, with mats made of recycled fibres, and wood dashboard components.
- Sion (above image) is a spacious electric car that charges itself through the power of the sun, from a home or public charging station (you can use the wallbox to power your home). The spacious comfortable interior includes little luxuries, and the car is designed to carry out simple repairs yourself with online tutorials (with an open-source manual for local mechanics).
- Lightyear (the Netherlands) is soon to launch an electric car at an affordable price. It will charge through integrated solar panels (an off-the-grid electric car). The vegan interior features ‘suede seats’ and rattan palm detailing.