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Going Green: A Guide to Buying and Maintaining an Electric Car

Whether you are buying your first car or changing your current vehicle, you should seriously consider purchasing an electric car. Not only is it the best option from an environmental point of view, but by 2035 it will only be legal to sell green vehicles in the UK. Here is a guide to buying and maintaining an electric car.

What is a Green Car?

A green car is a term given to a vehicle is more efficient than a typical petrol or diesel car.

Vehicles that use petrol and diesel as fuel expel emissions containing various gases which are harmful to humans and the environment.

Carbon dioxide is a major contributing factor to climate change. It causes acidification of the ocean resulting in marine organisms not being able to form their shells and skeletons properly. Modern engines also produce small amounts of carbon monoxide, which is extremely toxic to humans. Nitrous oxide and Sulphur oxide cause a heavy smog, and Benzene, which occurs naturally in petrol and diesel in small quantities, is carcinogenic.

Types of Green Car

Examples of green cars include Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, Electric, and Hydrogen.

Hybrid cars have a petrol or diesel engine plus a battery-powered electric motor. The battery is used over short distances and recharged by the energy created when the vehicle brakes. Hybrid cars are most suited to city driving where journeys are relatively short and involve lots of stopping. The Toyota Prius is probably the most well-known hybrid car.

Plug-in hybrid cars are similar to hybrids but with the added benefit of being able to plug them into a charging point. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the UK’s best-selling examples.

Electric cars run purely on electricity from a battery and produce no carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxide emissions. Popular electric cars are the Nissan LEAF and Renault ZOE.

The Toyota Mirai is one of a very small number of hydrogen cars on the market. It’s known as a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). The fuel cell in the vehicle converts hydrogen chemical energy into electricity, water and heat.

Benefits of a Green Car

Green cars may cost more money to buy than conventional vehicles but they more than compensate with low running costs. There is also a scheme called The Plug-in Car and Van Grant, which subsidises the purchase of eligible vehicles.

Aside from the environmentally friendly reasons for buying a green car, there are other good reasons to purchase one such as the low running costs. Owning a fully electric vehicle can save you around £1,500 on fuel over a period of three years. Incentives such as zero Benefit in Kind for 2020/21 and zero-rated vehicle excise duty (VED), or road tax, also help keep costs down.

Maintenance

Green cars are easier to maintain than conventional ones, mainly because they have fewer components – there is no need to change the oil, transmission fluid, spark plugs, fuel filters, or drive belts. The brake pads and discs will still need to be checked and perhaps changed, but not as often as conventional cars due to regenerative braking.

All electrified cars have some form of regenerative braking, meaning that the electric motor slows the vehicle down, and energy is put back into the battery during this process. This process is very efficient and means less wear on tear on the brake pads and discs, and the tyres.

Most of the maintenance outside of extending your hybrid battery life required by electrified cars is cosmetic. Keeping your car clean and tidy will not only make it a more comfortable and enjoyable drive, but will maintain its market value.

Washing the exterior of the car and applying wax will make sure the paintwork stays looking pristine. Polishing alloys and chrome fittings will add the wow factor. The interior can be kept immaculate by giving it the personal valet treatment at home by purchasing a car vacuum cleaner for all of the hard to reach places such as down the side of the seats and in the door compartments. It is helpful to do some online research to find the best vacuum for your car and the most effective cleaning products to keep your car looking as good as new.

Abolish Concerns

Many people express concern about the costs involved with buying a battery for an electrified car. Manufacturers have taken this on board, and most vehicles come with a 100,000-mile guarantee on the battery. The average driver will not need to replace the battery for about 12 years. Constantly charging the battery to 100% can wear out the battery, so it’s best to set it to 80%.