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Today let’s chat electric vehicles and the three things you need to think about before you buy an electric vehicle. I’m concentrating on using electric vehicles at home – if you are looking for specific advice on electric vehicles for businesses and electric vehicle charging for business then bear in mind that your considerations might be slightly different.

1. New or secondhand?

One of your top considerations should be whether you buy a brand new or secondhand electric vehicle.

Newer electric vehicles are likely to be able to cover an extended range before needing charging, due to ongoing battery life improvements. This will come at a cost – expect to spend more on a new electric vehicle compared to a secondhand one. Depending on where you live there may be interest-free loans or other incentives available to help towards the cost – ask the dealer and do your research locally.

Secondhand electric vehicles are not only cheaper but also more environmentally friendly. According to a study by Toyota in 2004, 28% of carbon dioxide emissions of a vehicle over its lifetime can occur during the manufacturing process and transport of the vehicle to the dealership. Buying secondhand therefore is a better choice environmentally, however, as mentioned above, the range your vehicle can cover may be reduced.

2. How far do you normally travel?

For most people, an electric vehicle is normally more than capable of covering your day to day journeys with ease, without the threat of running out of battery between charges.

If you regularly travel longer journeys – more than around 150 miles a day – you will need to work out if you are able to factor in at least a thirty-minute breaks to be able to charge up your vehicle at a rapid-charge point (where you can charge your battery by up to 80% in around 20-40 minutes) and that there are rapid-charge points convenient to your regular route. This time will be longer if you cannot access a rapid-charge point and need to use a slower charge point, or need to wait to access a charging point.

3. Where are you going to charge your electric vehicle?

For most people, being able to charge your electric vehicle at home is the preferred solution. It costs around £1000 to have an electric vehicle charging point installed in your home, however in some parts in the country grants of up to £800 are available to help towards the cost – so it pays to do your research.

If you live in a flat, or don’t have any off-street parking such as a garage or driveway, then you will need to do research into public charging stations near you. Zap, a map of UK public charging points, is useful for this.

Things to consider include how many charging points are there near your home; if charging points tend to be available at the times that you might want to charge your vehicle; if there are any parking restrictions and or costs associated with parking there to charge your vehicle; and if the charge points are rapid-charge or if they take longer to charge your vehicle.

Would you buy an electric vehicle if you could? Do you already drive one? If so, do share your experience in the comments below.

weekend links

Ten Things

Hi there! How was your week? We’ve been ploughing on with our house renovations and hope to be back to normal by this time next week (fingers crossed). I’d really like to get back to regular blogging – I’ve started to miss it – I’ve got so many things I’d like to write about, but it’s just been impossible to get anything done when all four of us are living in the one room. Note to self: try and save up enough money to move out next time we get any major renovations done!

This week’s links:

1. In big news, Norway is starting the world’s biggest divestment in oil and gas.

2. India has banned the import of plastic waste, following on the heels of China and Malaysia, meaning there are fewer and fewer places for our plastic waste to go. This means our government has to do more to tackle our plastic problem.

3. In exciting times, Iceland (the supermarket) has launched a plastic-free trial:

The trial will involve a range of plastic-free solutions, including paper bags with a tracing paper window, cotton and cellulose nets, and compostable punnets. Examples include moulded pulp fruit punnets with a plant-based film and recyclable paper label; reusable plant-based rubber bands, used for products such as celery and spring onions; and cellulose and cotton nets, used for products such as satsumas and onions“.

It’s only in North Liverpool just now, so if you live there then lucky you – the rest of us will have to wait a little while longer.

4. A reminder from Ethical Unicorn that vegan doesn’t always equal ethical in her post about problematic vegan foods and what you can do.

5. Where do your charity shop donations really go?

It’s up to charities to be more transparent; it’s up to us to slow down our consumption and learn to treasure our clothes; it’s up to brands to churn out less garments and see used clothes as a resource; and it’s up to governments to value the lives and livelihoods of those beyond their own shores“.

6. Good news gin lovers – the first gin made from discarded grapes is about to go on sale in Tesco, in a move to prevent an estimated 166m surplus supermarket grapes from going to waste every year.

7. Did you know that you can recycle crisp packets, toothbrushes and even cigarettes for free? It’s a little known fact that cigarettes contain hidden plastic, so it’s definitely something to think twice about before throwing a cigarette on the ground.

8. “Seriously, stop throwing away your old clothes” – once in landfills, clothes can sit for at least 200 years before breaking down. It’s much better to swap, sell, repair, and as a last resort recycle old textiles.

9. “The Climate Kids are coming, in massive and growing numbers, and they are not in the mood to negotiate“. This 15th March make sure you’re supporting our school children striking for their future.

10. Finally, this story about the bereaved parents who mourned their disabled son’s lonely and isolated life, only to find he had a built an amazing community of friends online was a beautiful read – my favourite of the week. It just shows the impact one person can have.

That’s it for today – catch you next week!