Switching from your petrol or diesel car to a completely electric model might seem daunting. No more stopping at a fuel pump every week or so, it’ll be all plug in and away you go.
Many drivers have already made the change. Around 100,000 new electric cars were sold in the UK last year and there are now around 250,000 EVs on our roads.
We speak with some EV owners about their experiences of making the switch.
David Nicholson, Tesla Model 3 owner
Some electric car owners are so passionate about their new cars they’re taking time out to encourage others to make the switch. David Nicholson, an insurance underwriter by profession, is a good example. He’s created a blog to help showcase just how easy EVs can be to live with.
Nicholson made the switch to electric in September 2019 with a Tesla Model 3 – after a string of thirsty petrol and diesel cars – and has since clocked up more than 10,000 miles. Despite not being able to charge at home in London, he makes use of the growing electric car charger network and regularly undertakes very long journeys to show they can be done with EVs.
“I’ve been doing some absurd journeys, so London and Scotland and back in a day. It really shows that long journeys are possible.
“Essentially by the time you’ve got yourself a coffee and had a toilet stop, you’re normally ready to go anyway. So you just plug in, and it’s really just what you’d do on a long journey anyway – you know, stop and stretch your legs every 2 or 3 hours.
“I personally found the switch from a petrol car to electric really easy, and in all honesty i can’t think of a respect in which an EV is worse than a combustion-powered car.”
Stephen Brown, BMW i3 owner
Owners of other brands of electric cars are equally happy. That’s certainly true for Stephen Brown, an IT worker who is now on his second electric car – a BMW i3.
“My experience with EVs has been very positive,” says Brown. “I love the performance, the relaxed driving experience, while the ultra-low running costs quickly offset the higher upfront cost. Being able to charge at home especially makes owning an EV a breeze.”
He says he would never go back to a petrol or diesel car and encourages those considering an EV to try one.
“I always suggest to someone who's unsure about an electric car that they should test drive one. They really won’t want to drive anything else afterwards,” adds Brown.
Tim Sture, Jaguar I-Pace owner
Accountant Tim Sture has owned EVs for several years. He started with a BMW i3 that was run alongside a diesel Land Rover, before more recently moving to just owning an EV with the purchase of a Jaguar I-Pace.
“The I-Pace has been an easy EV to live with, and makes for far easier trips than a petrol or diesel car on anything up to 180 miles. I’ve now done 19,000 miles in it in 2 years, too, and it’s a superb car.
“In terms of driving, I love the smoothness of an EV. Driving a petrol or diesel car feels like ancient history in comparison – even next to something like a Range Rover, it just can’t compare to the EV’s power and smoothness.”
Alison Wade, Jaguar I-Pace, BMW i3 and Renault Twizy owner
Many new electric car owners say they’ll never buy another petrol or diesel car. Some – including company director Alison Wade – go to further extremes and start their own mini fleet of EVs.
Despite only buying her first EV – a Jaguar I-Pace – in Summer 2020, Wade has already purchased 2 more battery-powered cars to sit alongside her I-Pace.
“The switch to electric was very easy. Most of our journeys are local and we can charge at home. Though longer journeys require a bit more planning, we like to learn and experience new things.
“There are so many things I love about electric cars – the almost silent driving experience, the easy and smooth driving experience, to not having to go to a petrol station, the lack of fumes… I could go on.
“I would recommend an EV to just about everyone, and most people I know would find an EV suitable for them.”
Stuart Feltham, Vauxhall Ampera ReX owner
Stuart Feltham, a software development manager from the Wirral, runs a Vauxhall Ampera – a plug-in hybrid, rather than a full EV.
Despite the fact that the Ampera’s a hybrid – it has a ‘back-up’ engine – 82% of the 22,000 miles Stuart and his partner have driven in the past 3 years have been on electric.
“It's proven that you can save money on fuel, and we actually much prefer the EV experience. It’s quiet and refined, and just generally better than driving on petrol and diesel,” says Feltham.
The Ampera, like the majority of EVs, is also equipped with ‘pre-conditioning’ that enables you to warm up or cool the interior remotely, which is ideal on cold winter days. Feltham tells us that “once you have this, you’ll never want to go back”.
He adds that “without a doubt” our next car will be an EV.
“We’re convinced that an EV is better all round, and I don’t miss visiting a petrol station every week. We’re actively looking at changing to an electric car, with our contenders being the MG5, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3.”