Switching to an EV is the environmentally positive change you can make today

The Sustainable Now: Making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV) is the environmentally positive change you can make today, writes Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low.

As the UK emerges from lockdown, we have all had time to reflect on our lifestyle choices.

From shopping locally to being increasingly mindful of household waste or limiting household energy consumption, there is no question that many of us across the country have introduced behaviours into our routines that have had an environmental upside.

As the Government, businesses and people across the nation look to build on this foundation and put sustainability at the heart of the UK’s recovery from the pandemic, there’s no question that transport has been a prominent theme of this discussion.

It’s not surprising – given the striking scenes of empty airports and motorways over these past months. According to Cabinet Office data, the first weeks of lockdown saw road travel fall by some 73% to levels last seen in 1955. Cities and urban environments have particularly felt a benefit, recording noticeable improvements in air quality.

So, as the Government consults on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035 or earlier, the lockdown has only served to encourage acceleration to a more sustainable future.

But this isn’t a change that you need to wait fifteen years to consider. Whether you’re a one-car family or a business with a thousand-strong fleet, electric vehicles (EVs) offer an opportunity to deliver environmental benefits for our communities today, as well as a whole host of other advantages.

Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 (Image: Vauxhall.co.uk)

Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 (Image: Vauxhall.co.uk)

Greener transport
As fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids when driven in electric mode all have zero tailpipe emissions, this makes them greener, cleaner and better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars – helping to deliver a significant air quality benefit across towns and cities.

In addition, with more and more of the UK’s electricity coming from renewable sources – lockdown saw the UK running coal-free for the longest period recorded, of 67 days – which makes EVs even more environmentally friendly.

To support the renewables transition, drivers smart charge their EVs at home using a time of use tariff. Smart charging can help reduce the impact of EVs on the electricity system, whilst simultaneously creating benefits for consumers and maximising the use of clean, renewable electricity.

On the money
But being environmentally minded isn’t the only factor when it comes to vehicle choice, with financials, of course, being a key consideration. Thankfully, from initial purchase to maintenance, there are numerous savings that you can make over the lifetime of EV ownership.

Fully electric vehicles can cost from as little as 1p per mile to run, compared to 8-17p per mile for petrol and diesel cars. This means you can travel 200 miles for just £2 in a fully electric vehicle.

EVs have lower maintenance and service costs which offer great day-to-day savings too. With fewer moving parts in the vehicle, there is less wear and tear, less stress on the motor and fewer parts susceptible to damage – resulting in fewer trips to the garage.

And you don’t have to wait until you’re on the road to start saving. The Government’s Plug-in Car Grant offers up to £3,000 off the price of an eligible zero-emission electric car, and there is up to £8,000 available off the price of a new electric van using the Plug-in Van Grant. If you’re not looking to buy brand new, EVs also are a growing second-hand market which makes electric cars an even more affordable option.

Read more: airqualitynews

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