‘An electric car with a 600-mile range isn’t too far away’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks some barriers to electric car ownership are slowly coming down, but the charging network still needs work

In spite of the government sending a message that you won’t have to buy an electric car for a bit longer than we first thought, the car companies are already heading towards full electrification at a rate of knots and show no signs of slowing down.

The Tokyo Motor Show (rebranded this year as the Japan Mobility Show) is proof of exactly that, as was the Munich Motor Show a month ago.

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The government’s shock announcement was a bit of a side show, though. Of more importance – but with less coverage – was its ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) mandate announced a couple of weeks later. That said 80 per cent of all new cars a manufacturer sells in the UK in 2030 must be fully electric – or it’ll pay a hefty fine. The mandate comes into force next year, when 22 per cent of the cars a maker sells have to be electric. Fines are in place (albeit with a number of ways to offset the penalties initially), and by 2035 every new car sold here must be zero emissions.

So whether we like it or not, EVs are coming. But judging by recent sales figures, it’s clear that the vast majority of private buyers fall into the ‘not’ category.

So what will make people want an electric car? I don’t hear many people complaining about the way EVs drive; they’re quick, quiet and easy, and the ‘fuelling’ costs are low. But the cars are expensive, don’t go very far and the public charging network isn’t big or reliable enough.

As the Tokyo show proves, battery tech is moving at such a pace that a 600-mile range from a full charge isn’t too far away. Prices are coming down, too – our Deal of the Day stories online have had excellent EVs, such as the Peugeot E-208, for around £200 a month on a lease deal.

So two of the biggest barriers are slowly coming down, but what about charging? The Government seems happy to leave that to the private sector, yet it needs more support. Your views matter most, though.

What would make you want to buy an EV? We’d love to know what you think. Let us know in the comments section…

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