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Reader Clinic

Would you buy an electric car? - Reader test team

Has the technology, ease of use and infrastructure for electric vehicles advanced far enough for our readers to buy one?

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Would you buy an electric car? - Reader test team

The electric car market is growing fast. There was a record surge in demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK last year, and the upward trend shows no sign of slowing.

With no road tax and low charging costs, EVs are far cheaper to run than petrols or diesels.

Yet range anxiety and high list prices mean many people aren’t convinced the compromise is worth the reward.

We invited four readers to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ HQ in London to talk to the Go Ultra Low Campaign about EVs, and to look at the Renault Zoe, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf and Renault Twizy.

Alan Pritchard Age 63 Job TV technical director Drives Mazda RX-8

"My driving consists of fairly short journeys – no more than 20 miles a day – and I could home-charge an electric car overnight. They’re also better for the environment. My RX-8 is not eco-friendly and is expensive to run, so it would be good to replace it with an EV.

"I’m aware that people are worried about being left stranded, but if you commute to London and live in the suburbs, you could get to work, charge your car there, and then get home, so I think a range of just 50 miles would be fine.

"As well as cheap charging, EVs have other money-saving benefits. Road tax is free, public parking charges are often reduced and if you do have to drive into central London you don’t have to pay the Congestion Charge.

"I think the Β£4500 government grant is very important to the uptake of EVs – I probably wouldn’t be considering one if it wasn’t offered.

"There are currently too few different types of EVs; people like to have a wider choice because to a great extent the car you drive is an expression of who you are. EVs that look most similar to traditional cars will be the most successful."

Favourite electric car Nissan Leaf

Click here to read how Alan got on test driving a Nissan Leaf for a week

Llewellyn Austen Age 69 Job Corporate finance specialist Drives Land Rover Freelander

"My wife and I embrace the whole principle of green technology. We’re conscious we drive a very β€œunfriendly” vehicle, so we’re seriously thinking that our next purchase will be an EV.

"The main draw for me is clean technology, and I suppose there’s also the feeling that you’re getting something for nothing. Electric cars are also quiet, smooth and easy to drive, which are all great traits.

"I’m concerned about range, though. The battery technology has a long way to go. I wouldn’t buy an EV with a pure electric range of just 30 miles. Batteries also have a finite life, and I don’t know how much they would cost to replace. However, looking at the offerings here, I think the industry has made tremendous strides in the last five or six years.

"The infrastructure for EVs is developing by the week, and I think electric cars are the future of motoring, whether pure or hybrid.

"My eyes are drawn to the interesting-looking i3. I like the unusual rear doors, which have a rear hinge, and the spacious boot."

Favourite electric car BMW i3

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