Electric Cars Alternative – Perceptions That Will Surprise You


Electric cars really have come a long way recently. Nothing at all ironic about that sentence. From taking days to charge and only having a range of a few tens of miles, they are now becoming a more attractive switch for many. However, there are still perceived issues with their convenience and their viability as an everyday vehicle. The general message is that they are currently less convenient than traditional fossil fuelled cars. Electric cars are still too heavy for their size. They are also allegedly not quite as safe for road users due to their lack of noise. But is this all true? We’ll look at each one of those ‘accusations’ now, as we look at some electric cars alternative perceptions

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Two electric motors in this car. Just like the real machines
Two electric motors in this car. Just like the real machines. Not as heavy though

There is much talk about the pain of having an electric car. The range isn’t quite there for a few models. And then when you do run out of battery, you had better have a good book handy. This may have applied to the early electric cars, but the game has moved on somewhat. And anyway, electric cars have a big advantage over petrol/diesels. You can charge them anywhere! You can go to your friend’s house, and leave the car charging while you catch up and have lunch.

If you can park consistently close enough to a kerb or off the street altogether, you can charge it whenever you like. It’s like having your own personal petrol station. You don’t have to worry about other people touching the pump before you, or having to wait in a queue. I personally don’t think that electric car manufacturers push this enough, as there is still (rightly) much talk about the time it takes to recharge. But that recharge time is coming down year after year, and it won’t be long until it is comparable to a normal liquid fuelled car.

In terms of the way electric cars are constructed, there seems to be little evidence to suggest that they protect their occupants any less well than their liquid fuelled counterparts. The latest Euro NCAP reports confirm that the majority of electric cars receive the full five star treatment, which is great. So why the question about safety? It’s simply because there is a perception that electric cars make no noise and will therefore sneak up on people. People wait to cross a road, not hear anything coming, and then step out, right in front of a Porsche Taycan. There are a few reasons why it is likely that no one will be hurt from this.

Firstly, the Taycan is not quiet, at all. I was on holiday in Cheltenham a few weeks ago, and that’s a much more positive sentence than it may first appear. A Taycan 4S pulled up on a street opposite me. As you may expect, from that point onwards, I completely forgot everything my wife had been talking to me about. The Porsche then turned onto the main road and accelerated away reasonably quickly. No trouble hearing it above other vehicles.

Also, I’ve not had much trouble hearing the Prius in electric mode, or most of the Teslas. And that probably covers that majority of electric cars that we’re seeing on the road at the moment. They are generally quieter than petrol cars, but they are not silent. In any case, they aren’t invisible and we should be looking both ways before we cross a road anyway. I’ve not heard many complaints about people crossing in front of trams, and they’re not that noisy. As the focus shifts away from petrol cars and towards electric cars, there will be fewer internal combustion engines to mask the noise of an electric vehicle. We will therefore be able to hear them more clearly.

The other reason I wouldn’t be worried about stepping out in front of a Taycan is that it has superb brakes. Most electric cars have two types of braking. The normal friction brakes like we have on our cars, with discs and pads. But they also have regenerative braking, where the braking effect comes from the motor itself, without the driver having to physically press the brake pedal. More detail on this will appear in a future post, but one of the great advantages of the electric car is the ‘one pedal’ approach. This can make driving a car, particularly if you’re on a long commute, much more stress-free and relaxing. Not words commonly associated with the North circular on a Monday morning.

Weight Distribution
It is well known that electric cars are in general heavier than their equivalent liquid fuelled cars. This is because, at the moment, they need lots of large batteries to travel a reasonable distance before refills. We know that weight isn’t always a benefit to a car, but there are possible advantages.

Other batteries are available. If only replacing them was this simple
Other batteries are available. If only replacing them was this simple. Maybe one day…

In a ‘normal’ car, the engine tends to be the heaviest component. Its location greatly influences the weight distribution. In an electric car, the motors are much smaller and lighter, and there are more options with where the batteries are placed. Thus, one can strategically locate the batteries to achieve the desired weight distribution, if that’s the main aim. Electric sports cars can really benefit from this newfound flexibility. And since the batteries tend to be mounted low down and centrally, the centre of gravity is low. This means stability increases, which is better for safety.

These are just some of my alternative views on the electric car, mostly so I can convince myself to buy one. It it still in the ‘leap of faith’ phase for a lot of people, and it may take more convincing for many. But there is no doubt in my mind that there are enough positives for these vehicles for many to start taking a serious look at them. Don’t forget to check out our services, and see how we can help you find your next car. Let us do the hard work for you. Thanks for reading!

What are your thoughts?