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As we head towards an electric economy, Kirsty Hammond explores electric cars

There have been lots of articles about our future being electric and I’ve been quite excited about the speed that electric cars have become seen as the future of automotive, but there are some practicalities to overcome before they ‘drive’ us towards a more sustainable future.

There are also several myths about the technology that need debunking, so I’ve taken a look and here are my thoughts.

Electric vehicles are no longer just a promising potential solution

Kirsty Hammond Kirsty Hammond Editor of Specifier Review

Myth One – Range

Electric cars do not have the range of fuelled cars, therefore they are impractical as an everyday vehicle.

With the average person driving a maximum of 25 miles a day, a mid-range electric car will drive 124 miles on average before it needs to be recharged.

So assuming you are not driving long haul on a daily basis, the range of modern electric cars is more than enough.

Most electric cars are fully charged at home before a journey allowing you to drive further than your petrol counterpart which are not generally filled to the maximum before you set off.

Myth Two – Cost

Electric cars are relatively new to the market, they are far too expensive and become unaffordable for the average person.

This claim again is unfounded. Generally the electric version of your desired car has a £6,000 price difference, this difference being completely justified by the savings your vehicle will make from day one.

The average person spends in excess of £1,000 per year on petrol compared to £100 per year for an electric car.

With an electric car you are also not required to pay any road tax, congestion charging (coming to a town or city near you soon!) and in addition to this huge saving you are also entitled to access benefit in kind tax for electric vehicles and you may also be eligible for a £5,000 plug in grant from the government.

Finally if you still need convincing, the cost of repairs are significantly lower as you do not have any expensive damaged engine issues.

Myth Three – ‘Fuel’

There are no charging points for electric vehicles.

Here in the UK the statistics are dramatic and serve as a template for other countries.

Currently there are 11,885 electric polls in 4,190 Locations in the UK compared to 8,472 fuel stations across the country.

In 1970 there were an estimated 37,500 fuel stations in the UK. At that rate of decline, carmaker Nissan, believes there'll be less than 7,870 filling stations up and down the country by August 2020.

In contrast, the increasing number of individual public electric vehicle charging posts - is expected to reach 7,900 by the same month in 2020.

With these current and predictive statistics and given the fact most people will charge their electric vehicle at home anyway, it is certainly apparent that finding a place to charge your car is not as much of an issue now and will actually be easier than finding a traditional fuel station in the not too distant future.

The future landscape of the built environment

Looking ahead 30 years or less for Scotland and other European Countries, both architects and designers need to work under the assumption that every car driven to a workplace will be electric.

All commercial properties and office sites need to plan ahead for the provision of a charging point for each and every one of their parking spaces. Any company moving into a commercial property will expect charging points as standard.

Architects need to consider the office worker and their needs. For example charging bays tend to be used continuously rather than sporadically by staff and this of course has implications for electricity loading, access, layout, cable hazards and so on.

Under recent government plans charging points are also to be included in street lighting columns and walls.

All points are to be designed to make charging easier than refilling itself. The plans also state that all new build offices will be outfitted with charging points as standard.

Join the future now

Of course retrofit schedules can be expensive and so companies are looking towards other workplace charging solutions for their commercial premises. For example POD POINT provide a solution for companies that are not yet in line with the Government plans.

All the above will reduce your business vehicle emissions, encourage staff to drive electric vehicles, and provide cleaner air for all staff and the environment.

With the world’s oil reserves in ever decline and carbon dioxide along with other harmful gases causing rapid global warming; the need for eco-friendly cars running on electricity admitting zero emissions is huge.

Electric vehicles are no longer just a promising potential solution to the carbon dioxide problem generated by the modern fossil fuelled cars.

Electrical vehicles are the future, and they are the now.

Kirsty Hammond is editor and publisher of Specifier Review, which posts building product and project news