In this section we will outline some of the core messages to use in any activities or campaign intended to promote and highlight the benefits of ULEVs. They can be categorised into financial, environmental and social benefits.
EVs have lower running costs and lower total overall costs of ownership – despite a slightly higher purchase price (currently). The Office for Low Emission Vehicles forecasts that the purchase price will be similar to petrol and diesel vehicles by the mid-2020s.
Running costs are lower because the cost of a full charge is significantly less than the cost of a tank of petrol or diesel, even taking into account the difference in range between an internal combustion engine vehicle and an EV. For a Nissan LEAF, it would cost around £6 to charge the vehicle at home for a range of 140 miles.
Our advice is to never quote a ‘pence per mile’ figure; there is too much variation in this figure depending on where you charge, how often you charge, your drive cycle etc. It’s better to focus on the cost of recharging the vehicle battery to full in different locations (e.g. home, local public chargepoints or on local rapid chargepoints).
The service, maintenance and repair costs of an EV are also a lot cheaper. Electric vehicles are designed to be as efficient as possible and there are generally three main components powering the vehicle; the on-board charger, inverter and motor. This means that there is far less wear and tear with fewer moving parts susceptible to damage, therefore servicing costs are less frequent and cheaper.
|Key Point: The lower running costs, both on fuel (power) and servicing/maintenance costs, help to reduce the total cost of ownership of the vehicle, so it is important in any promotional campaign to get past the initial purchase price and ask businesses/consumers to consider the full cost of the vehicle. The Energy Saving Trust second-hand vehicle calculator can do some of the maths for you in the used car market (https://usedevcalculator.est.org.uk/).|
EVs in particular are easier to drive than internal combustion engined cars. They are all automatic and have more torque (pulling power) available at lower speeds so are effortless to get moving from stationary. A study by the University of York and LEVC suggests electric vehicles are less stressful to drive than diesel equivalents and could have positive mental health benefits.
|Key Point: Some users may feel nervous about getting behind the wheel of an EV but they are proven to be less stressful and are easier to drive. We would always recommend offering test-drives as a way of showing the real-world benefits. The Energy Saving Trust is also able to offer a range of advice on eco and EV driving.|
Ultra-low emission vehicles are exempt from financial charges in clean air zones and low emission zones across the UK, meaning businesses can avoid significant penalties for driving dirtier vehicles into the zones which would have a significant impact on their business costs.
|Key Point: Research from the BVRLA found that fewer than a quarter (23%) of UK firms know when and where clean air zones will be introduced. The potential financial penalties are an important incentive for businesses to consider when investing in ULEV technology.|
The death of the nine-year old girl, Ellah Kissi-Debrah, has now been attributed to air pollution and is a stark reminder that improvements in air quality must be made in our towns and cities. EVs have zero tailpipe emissions and therefore can contribute to local air quality improvements. Like other vehicles, ULEVs can generate particulate matter from brakes and tyres, but this is at a very low level compared to tailpipe emissions from diesel vehicles.
There is currently also a renewed coverage of climate change in the media. There are many reports that conclude that the overall lifecycle CO2 impacts from electric vehicles are lower than those of petrol and diesel equivalents, despite the manufacturing stage of EVs being more carbon intensive, primarily due to battery production (significant research is currently being undertaken into the production of more sustainable batteries).
|Key Point: The UK Government has committed to phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 with significant air quality and environmental improvements required by 2025 and 2030|
Early EV battery ranges were generally around 90 to 120 miles but models coming to the market today have significantly improved battery technology and driving ranges from 140 to 250 are the norm. This is not quite what many current diesel and petrol cars can achieve, however the running costs and the environment impact are heavily reduced.
At the same time, battery reliability is proving to be much better than many people expected when EVs first came to market. Most manufacturers offer 10 year battery warranties with very few reports of faults or significant reduction in range with age. Increasingly, batteries that have reached the end of their useful life in EVs are being re-used as storage batteries, and this will have a positive impact on the power generation network as it will allow energy to be stored off-grid for charging EVs and thus reducing the demand on the National Grid.
|Key Point: Early EV models generally were more suited for second vehicles and shorter trips, but advances in battery technology mean most new models have at least a 140 mile range, with many able to travel 250+ miles between charges. Batteries are proving to be reliable and can be re-used as a storage resource at the end of their useful life in an EV.|
All the major manufacturers now have, or are about to bring to market, EV and PHEV vehicles. For example, Volvo has pledged that all models will have some form of electric power by 2020. It is predicted that EVs will have price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles by around 2025.
In addition to passenger cars, more and more commercial vehicles including small and mid-size vans are coming to market. E-cargo bikes are also a viable and affordable option for local trips. The Government is keen to promote these particularly in relation to last mile deliveries, and the Energy Saving Trust is delivering a grant programme on behalf of the DfT offering 20% funding towards the cost of e-cargo bikes.
|Key Point: EVs and PHEVs are the future, with choice and availability improving. Purchase costs are also reducing with price-parity expected by the mid-2020s.|