Range anxiety has proven to be a key factor in limiting the uptake of electric vehicles for some time, however there are models appearing on the market to challenge this well acknowledged problem.
A range of around 300 miles on a single charge is now possible, although there is still a downside in the time it takes to fully charge an EV (electrical vehicle). EV fast chargers found in supermarkets and service stations can boost to 80% of battery capacity within an hour or so but if you are taking a long journey you will have to consider taking longer breaks than with a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle.
Running a single EV or a fleet of EV's requires a certain amount of forward planning, including making sure you have the right charging infrastructure in the workplace (or home) and for longer trips adequate charging infrastructure available on your route. EV charging stations are becoming ever more popular and there are several apps and online tools that can help you to see in real time which ones are available and their associated charging speeds.
There are several good reasons for considering a switch to an electric vehicle - not least because of the cost running an EV when compared against the equivalent cost of petrol or diesel but also due to the fact that all electric engines' acceleration and instant torque are higher than in conventional fuel engines. Another important point is that EV's do not generate tailpipe emissions which is a great factor to consider when considering the environment perspective and associated profile of your business.
Which EVs are available at the moment?
We will start with the 2019 Business Motoring winner of the Best EV Award - the Jaguar I-PACE. Offering a market leading balance of performance and efficiency and with an increasing number of EV's taking the road, it caught the judges’ attention and imaginations!
The I-Pace is capable of a 0 to 60mph acceleration time of just 4.5 seconds, which is fast by any standard and it can go on to reach a top speed of 124mph. More importantly however – and what many consumers and business users will be focused on – is the battery range that can reach an impressive 298 miles in a single charge (based on the 90kWh battery).
In terms of charging, the I-Pace takes 10 hours to top up from 0–80% with a conventional 7kW home charger, or alternatively only 45 minutes with a 100kW DC supply (a quick charging point). The I-Pace also took the honours for its design, interior space and practicality. The price tag? £63,495. You can get lease the vehicle on a Business Contract Hire for £471.44 per month* (*price correct at the time of publication; initial rental and mileage restriction applies; E&OE).
Also within the premium market sector, the Tesla Model S which pioneered the luxury electric car with the Model S saloon is available. It too is pretty quick and boasts 362bhp from a pair of electric motors – one driving the front wheels and the other one driving the rear wheels – providing acceleration from 0-60mph is just 3.8 seconds (based on a 90kWh battery). If you opt for the Model S P100D (based on a 100kWh battery) it can be switched to ‘Ludicrous’ mode that sees the 0-60 acceleration drop to supercar levels at just 2.3 seconds. The range is around 280 miles and Tesla has a Supercharger network which allows you to top up the battery to 80% in just 40 minutes.
Tesla also has the Model X SUV (based on a 100kWh battery) which – along with the Jaguar I-Pace – is another SUV premium rival to the Audi e-Tron, the first all-electric model from the German brand. The Audi e-Tron has a range of around 250 miles (based on a 95kWh battery) and with 150kW rapid charging capabilities it can match or even better Tesla’s Supercharger in terms of charging times.
The South Koreans have also entered the market strongly with the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona. These two vehicles share the same powertrain offering over 235 miles of range (based on a 67.1kWh battery) and a starting price tag of only £32,995.
The second-generation Nissan Leaf e+ has seen a number of improvements over the original model, with the main beneficiary being improved range which is now around 215 miles (based on a 62kWh battery) as well as improved top speed and torque. The Leaf e+ also features advanced semi-autonomous Pro Pilot driving technology on higher trim levels.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is the electric version of VW’s family favourite. The official range is fairly mediocre at 144 miles (based on a 35.8kWh battery) but in reality expect only around 120 miles range. There is another drawback which is a slightly smaller boot space due to the batteries. The e-Golf can be charged in an hour however using a DC power supply or around 11 hours with a three-pin plug.
The BMW i3 has brought premium branding to the compact sector of the market. It is made from carbon fibre which – as well as being light and strong – keeps weight down which a good thing for an EV. The official range is 193 miles (based on a 37.9kWh battery) although expect about 145 miles range in reality. This is a already proven as a comfortable car for urban driving with a focus on short journeys.
Like the Nissan Leaf, the Renault ZOE was one of the first electric cars on the road and is one of the most affordable at the moment. You can expect circa 200 miles range from one charge (based on a 52kWh battery) and the price tag is just under £25k.
At present the selection is still limited but expect more brands and models with full electric or hybrid-electric engines to be introduced in the coming months. The Government’s Road to Zero strategy is focused on all newly manufactured cars running either on full electric engines or at least hybrid-electric engines by 2025. If things progress as expected, more charging points will be available all over the country and more drivers will feel that it is time to switch to an electric vehicle.