Electric cars are eco-friendly, cheap and widely available…but not in Europe. ‘Loyal-to-oil’ car manufacturers tend not to market them and most of us still think electric cars exist only on golf courses.
Because electric cars, also called EV (electric vehicles), run on batteries charged with normal electricity they don’t emit any toxic gases. Provided the electricity is produced from renewable sources like wind, sun or water power, they are the most environment friendly motorised vehicles we can choose from. They’re much more economical than petrol powered cars, the annual cost of electricity used for recharging is about 1/3 of the cost of petrol.
Hybrid cars use a combination of electric power and petrol. They consume and pollute much less than normal petrol powered cars.
The USA are much ahead of Europe when it comes to electric cars. Most car manufacturers have one electric or hybrid model, but they are not available in Europe. The exceptions are the French Peugeot 106 electric and Citroen Berlingo electric van. The only other electric vehicles on the market are small cars with a speed maximum of 30 mph, designed for use over very short distances.
However, it is possible to convert your own car to electric drive. Electric engines are different from petrol engines, and you also need a battery. Depending on the type of battery, it can take from 20 minutes to 12 hours to charge and will power the car for 40 to 70 miles. With a speed going up to 100mph, electric cars really have no cause to be envious of normal cars!
Electric Drive Transportation Association
AVERE has a list of all electric vehicle associations and technical details
Electric Vehicle Uk an EV activist website
Mini electric cars