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My Transition to an EV Lifestyle - Embracing the Electric Revolution
Article By Edward Chapman - Trailrunningman and stand up comedian

With additional reporting by Hannah Danson

January 2019 I gave up using a car for environmental reasons, and after two and a half years I felt well qualified to comment on the difficulty of using public transport in Cornwall, and wanted to explore the world of Electric Vehicles (EVs).

I’d heard doom-mongers say that there will be massive piles of EV batteries all over the place because they cannot be recycled, and horror stories about range, but I wanted to find out for myself. (If you were wondering, there are currently not enough EV batteries to recycle yet, and almost all the batteries in earliest mass-produced EVs, Nissan Leaf cars, are still in the original vehicles.)

In August 2021, I leased a Renault Zoe on an all-inclusive monthly plan, including charging on certain networks. I am loving driving my Zoe, now that I’ve got used to the various apps and technical details of charging; it is perfect for my needs, and I have clocked 24,000 miles in 19 months.
During a typical local driving week, I charge only once on a Saturday, at the Osprey Chargers in Pool, while I have a leisurely coffee and piece of cake in the nearby Costa Coffee. Being aware of parking limits is necessary, e.g. 90 minutes at McDonalds to avoid a fine, however the first 20% and last 20% of charge take the longest, so the savvy thing to do is charge before the battery level gets below 20%, and not top up to over 80% unless you desperately need that extra range.

"If you’re charging at home, that’s more convenient, but you miss out on the cake!"

Longer journeys need some advance planning. I regularly travel to Derby, 306 miles from my home. At best, my car has a range of 220 miles, often less due to driving conditions, so I have to charge in the middle. My preferred place is Cullompton Services on the M5, where I have only once found all six chargers in use. Choosing not to pay for charging (I almost never pay!), I used my back-up plan – the InstaVolt chargers in Cullompton itself. That is one of the key things about electric vehicle driving: have a plan B and even a plan C. I recommend the Zap Map app, which has filters which I can set for the charging networks I can use for free, and I have travelled all over England from Looe to Liverpool and places in between.

Being forced to charge during long journeys has meant I arrive at my destination fresh and relaxed. I am never going back to motoring where I try to get from A to B as fast as legally possible. Now I glide along in a near-silent car, with awesome acceleration, and usually in eco mode, so I am not even driving at the fastest legal speed. I love driving now even more than when I had a petrol or diesel car. Check out my Electric Car Driving experience https://carfreeexperience.wordpress.com/


Electric cars for business
In a world where climate change is a growing threat and the cost of everything seems to be going up, and especially in a world where things like the 2021 fuel shortage can occur, electric vehicles are becoming an item to consider in more and more personal and business discussions. But how viable is an EV in your business? The government is encouraging green initiatives, across the board, so there are definite tax incentives, and other schemes to support businesses to go green – so here are some key facts.

Purchase cost vs running cost
The up-front cost of an EV, whether a company car or a van, is likely to be greater than an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle. However, the running cost will be significantly lower, at 2-4 pence per mile vs between 10p and 14p per mile.

Tax relief for cars
For a new electric car, purchased from 2021 onwards, and used solely for business, the capital allowance is 100% of the car’s value in the first year, vs 18% or 6% for petrol or diesel cars. You can also reclaim 100% of the VAT on the purchase price of business-use-only vehicles, and 50% of the VAT of lease payments.
Cars used partially for personal mileage count as a benefit in kind, but the rate for that is 2%, where for diesel/petrol cars, it’s 37%.

Purchase and charging grants available
The Government is offering plug-in car grants up to £1,500 for fully electric vehicles that cost under £32,000. This should be applied automatically by the dealership on purchase.
Government grants are available to install staff/fleet charging points at workplaces, of up to £350 per point, and up to 40 points per applicant. (Note, customer charge points are not covered.) Grants of 75% are also available for domestic charging point installation.
Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-grants-for-low-emissionvehicles

Boost for your sustainability credentials
With customers increasingly aware of green issues, switching your vehicle fleet to EVs, and installing staff charging points will show that you’re walking the walk, and set you apart from your competitors.

Range increasing with newer models
Improvements in charging point infrastructure, and better range in the vehicles themselves, means that EVs are less limited than a few years ago. You’ll still need to be aware of range, and the logistics of ensuring adequate charge for your journeys, but there are excellent apps that can help you.