Electric cars are everywhere, but are we really ready?
While they have been available for a while, electric cars have really taken over in the last year or so. From the record-setting Tesla range to major global brands like Volkswagen, Mercedes and Porsche, new electric vehicles are attracting attention like never before.
The Porsche Taycan, an all-electric high-performance saloon, is currently its best-selling model, even surpassing the 911 sports car that the company is built on. But buying electric cars and living with them are two different things, and the question is, is the UK really ready for electric travel?
Charging on the Go
In the UK, the average car journey is 8.4 miles. That is taking kids to school, going to work and so on. On average, a car owner will drive 20 miles in total, so even an electric vehicle with 100-mile range can cope with the average daily use, never mind the 300+ mile range that the latest electric cars offer. In this scenario, charge the vehicle overnight at home and it’s always going to be fine.
The problems begin if you have to travel further than the range of the electric vehicle, because that means charging on the go. For tesla owners this is still relatively easy and stress free. Tesla has their own network of charging points, with fast charging and great reliability. The locations are built into the car’s satnav, and it will automatically create routes that include chargers to ensure you get to a destination smoothly.
However, only Tesla vehicles are able to use that system right now, every other manufacturer relies on an ad-hoc network run by a dozen different providers. Here, you never quite know until you turn up at a charging destination if the charger is actually working, and they tend to be much slower chargers.
The other problem as electric vehicles become more popular is that these charging points tend to have a couple of chargers at most, unlike Tesla destinations where there are 8 or 10 chargers to use in most cases. If you turn up to a charging destination and someone has just started charging, you could have to wait 40 minutes or more for them to finish, then another 40 minutes or so for your own charge. The more electric cars there are, the more likely this is to happen. With multiple chargers, Tesla manages to avoid this.
Are we Ready for Electric?
While electric cars are rapidly growing in their capabilities, using the latest surface treatments to ensure long term performance even in harsh driving conditions, the infrastructure for most electric cars is not yet there, unless you have a Tesla. For more information on surface treatments, go to https://www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/electroless-nickel-plating/
Alternatives are being looked at, with replaceable battery trays being one. Using PTFE coatings or other protective surface treatments such as electroless nickel coating, this idea can make recharging as fast as filling with fuel, and that may be the future for electric vehicle ownership.
What is clear is that despite the latest surface treatments and superb on paper performance, for most electric cars, going further than their single charge range remains an uncertain prospect.