My view: Are electric vehicles expensive and tricky to top up?

Charging points for electric vehicles are spreading across Islingto

Charging points for electric vehicles are spreading across Islington - Credit: Nicola Baird

Most of us know that electric vehicles (EV) are quiet, expensive and tricky to top up. Or are they? Most EVs will be powered for 200 miles on a single charge, so if you drive 12 miles a day then you’d only need to charge up twice a month.

Islington now has 254 charging devices for electric vehicles, but only 23 are “rapid”. Actually, that’s pretty good local infrastructure – by April the UK boasted 22,790 public charging points of which 4,259 offered a rapid charge.

Founder of the Islington Faces blog and Inspiring Islington exhibition, Nicola Baird.

Nicola Baird says we cannot go back to our carbon heavy lifestyle - Credit: Nicola Baird

In Islington you’ll find mostly Chargemaster. We also have some Polar Plus charging points, along Red Routes, which charge faster; it takes just 55 minutes to power up the new EV black cabs. Karl Grawe, who has been driving cabs for 21 years, says the sums make sense as he gets a day’s work out of a charge. His new cab might have been twice the price of the dirty diesel TX4, but is far cheaper to run in terms of fuel, parking permits and road tax. Plus, he says “customers absolutely love it and it’s very comfortable to drive if you’re spending eight to 10 hours on the road.”

A family vehicle, like the Nissan Leaf (RRP £29,790), takes around 3-4 hours to charge costing around £3. Or if you are using your own 7kw PodPoint charger it’ll be around eight hours (a handy overnight plug in).

It’s not just about cars though. London’s 14,000 "Boris bike" fleet is soon to be joined by 500 e-bikes and the Brompton folding bike is now available with a rechargeable battery. E-bikes have obvious appeal to techies, but studies claim that e-bikers cycle more often and go further than those using just porridge-pedal power. An electric choice reduces your carbon footprint and helps improve London’s air quality, but it’s even better if it’s from renewables.

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