Electric vehicles and charging points
As part of the North East 'Plugged in Places' initiative, electric vehicle 'chargepoints' have been installed throughout the county.
Charging points for electric vehicles have now been installed across the county with more points planned over the next few years. Many new developments will also include electric vehicle charging points. You can see the electric vehicle charging locations.
While electric vehicles don't solve the problems of traffic congestion and they won't give you any healthy exercise, they do go some way to reducing the pollution caused by road traffic. Of course, electric vehicles are only as clean as the electricity generated from the national grid, however, mile for mile, the pollution is less.
Benefits of electric vehicles
- Reduced pollution mile for mile, with the ability to have a true zero emission vehicle where renewable energy sources are used for recharging.
- Reduced cost of refuelling. It only costs around to 2.5p per mile for fuel. This compares to around 11p per mile for a petrol-fuelled car (assuming fuel costs £1.25 per litre and the car gets 50 mpg).
- Since the vehicles are almost silent, noise pollution is reduced, enhancing the quality of the environment in city centres.
- The Government is currently offering grants of £5,000 to reduce the costs of buying an electric vehicle.
- The vehicles can be charged using any standard three pin plug.
- The vehicles are exempt from road tax and congestion charges.
- Electric motors have very few moving parts and don't need fluids such as engine oil, anti-freeze or transmission fluid, so they require relatively little maintenance.
Issues still being developed by electric vehicle manufacturers
Electric vehicles currently have a limited range, typically travelling around 80-100 miles on a full battery. For many people, an 80 mile range is sufficient, with this being more than twice the daily average number of miles travelled by most people. The use of electric vehicles may be an opportunity to promote train travel for longer journeys. However, it is expected that as the technology develops, future mass-produced vehicles will travel the same distances as conventionally-fuelled cars. Also, quiet vehicles can cause difficulties for partially-sighted pedestrians who may not hear the electric vehicle on the road.
Because the technology is quite new, it is relatively expensive to buy an electric vehicle at the moment, although this should be balanced with the savings in fuel and tax. As the technology progresses and is mass produced, prices will reduce.
At the moment, electric vehicles take approximately six hours to charge from flat to full using a standard electric supply. Using a rapid charge facility, most vehicles can be charged in 30 minutes.