In the late 1990’s an awareness began to grow that vehicle emissions were contributing to global warming. Major car manufacturers recognised this, and began to dedicate significant resources into developing new, more environmentally friendly vehicles for the mass market. The recession of 2008 exacerbated this situation further. Most of the western world suffered a deep financial slump and fuel prices increased greatly. This high cost of petrol and diesel forced many people to look for alternative power sources to run their vehicles. In recent years, significant technological advances such as improved battery life and power management systems have seen a growth in electric car models on the road.
Electric vehicles use a battery such as a lithium-ion. These are made using electro-chemical cells which are then powered by an electric motor. The vehicle uses an on board battery to store this energy and it is then re-charged using a mains supply. Unlike a conventional fuel run car an electric car has no tailpipe or exhaust so it emits no harmful gasses. Electric cars can be charged using specialised power sources, although some can use a normal mains plug . There are also thousands of free charging points located across the UK.
When driving an electric car you may find it somewhat unusual at first. When you press the accelerator the car takes off with almost no noise at all until the speed kicks in. Electric cars usually have great acceleration and torque and can hold their own in urban environments. Depending on what model of electric car you drive the range can be anything from 25 miles to 350 miles for top of the range models.
Electric car emissions depend on each person’s driving style, how far they drive, how fast and so on. Electric cars do emit less CO2 than fuel cars, particularly petrol cars. There is an average reduction of around 40%, although some do have zero emissions. Electric cars also reduce noise pollution as they are relatively soundless compared to conventional engines.
Lookers have a range of additional reading across our website on electric cars. We have some tips on what to look for when buying electric - which should help you find a vehicle that matches your needs. Read about some of the advantages of owning an electric car, and also how to maintain these vehicles if you've already taken the plunge.