Everything you need to know about electric cars

Everything you need to know about electric cars

A lot about cars has changed since Henry Ford rolled the first automobile off the production line. What has stayed constant is cars using fossil fuels like diesel and petrol for power. However, recently electric cars have become a viable option for drivers. Like any emerging technology there are many questions, so here are some important things to know.

How it works

Electric cars are powered by electric motors using energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Each model has a specific distance the car can drive before it needs a recharge. The car can be charged at a public charging station or overnight in the driver’s home. The appeal of electric cars is that they are environmentally friendly as they have no emissions and are much quieter than conventional cars.

They are not practical for everyone in South Africa

The price of petrol keeps going up so the thought of an electric car might seem like a better option to many South Africans. The reality is that at the moment electric cars will only be practical for city dwellers. There are currently three models available in the country, the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and the delightful BMW i8, which drives like a sports car. These cars are all sedans so are not suitable for off road driving or rocky terrain. If one looks at a map of public charging stations in the country at first glance it's clear that they are concentrated in the big cities. These cars have a range of less than 200km per charge so it is important to have charging stations in easy reach. This makes electric cars ideal for city commutes but not great for cross country trips.

Electric cars are the future

The glory days of cars as we know them is coming to an end. The growing concern about the environment and climate change mean that soon electric cars will be the default choice of drivers all over the world. Countries such as Norway, Iceland, China and certain states in America offer attractive incentives to manufacturers and buyers in order to boost sales. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, which manufactures the world's bestselling electric car, announced in a tweet that the latest car Model 3 would be available in South Africa. With the growth in electric cars it might not be long before an electric bakkie is announced.

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