Adventures with an Electric Car

We try to live with a low carbon footprint. Our house has solar hot water and solar pv, we have only taken the children on one flight in their ten years of life and we walk or cycle as much as possible.

However, with kids who do sports come parents who transport them to matches and practices. We are now doing regular journeys of between 2 and 30 miles four or five times a week. Public transport is non existent and either time is too short, or distance too long to go on foot or bike. This is the position of a lot of parents outside of big cities.

Our car is a large diesel Ford C max 7 seater. Very useful. Pretty fuel efficient for its size. We bought it because a) diesel has lower CO2 emissions than petrol and b) there aren’t many large petrol cars on the market. Why a large car? Well really for the half a dozen times we all go away in it and it does come in handy for transporting extra children or stuff.

So this got us thinking. We can’t afford a large electric or hybrid car, but we might stretch to a second hand smaller one. If we can run it for nearly nothing, then when we do need to go away with lots of luggage or don’t have time to keep charging, we can use that running cost money to hire a car. We heard that Nissan do a 4 day test drive on a Leaf.

2017-05-17 09.05.10

Cue great excitement at the car, which the boys reckon anyone can drive because it runs at the push of a button. I could not get used to it starting to move without a sound. It felt like magic. Not so great, however, for the people who walk down our road with their headphones in and step off the pavement without looking.

Our verdict?

  1. It is big enough for a family of four to do pretty much anything we need to do except go away on a week’s family holiday.
  2. We can charge it off our solar panels, but even when mains charged it costs 2p per mile to fuel, compared with 10p per mile for diesel.  That’s an £800 saving per year on an average 10,000 annual mileage.
  3. It does make me drive more slowly round residential areas as I’m worried that people don’t hear me.
  4. I may drive more because I know the per mile cost is low.

Here’s our home filling station in action:

And the children’s verdict?  “We can go in the car to school now, because Mum can’t say anymore that taking the car harms the environment.”  Hmmm.

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