More an more people are moving towards - or at least considering the move towards - electric vehicles (EV's).
John Hayes lectures at University College Cork and previously worked in the automotive industry. He is the lead author on energy systems, power electronics and drives for hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles. Here he provides 10 tips if you are thinking of buying an electric car.
Here are some things you need to consider first.
1.Range – is it a reason to be anxious?
The infamous range anxiety is a much talked-about topic for electric vehicles (EV). Let’s do the numbers. The typical Irish driver travels about 50 km a day. The kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the unit of measure of battery size. Each unit can result in about 3 to 6 km of driving for a typical battery-electric vehicle (BEV). The typical BEV on sale in Ireland now comes with a battery pack sized from 28 to 60 kWh. The luxury cars from Tesla are from 75 to 100 kWh. The 40 kWh BEV has a published range of about 270 km. This is over 5 days’ range in the battery on good driving days. This range will drop by approximately 20 %, as the battery ages over the 8 years for which it is guaranteed. A further drop in range of about 30 % can be expected due to the use of heating, air-conditioning or defrosting on very hot or very cold days. Thus, the range, in several years’ time, could be as low as 150 km in adverse weather conditions. However, that is still close to 3 days driving for the typical driver. Driving aggressively, driving up and down hills, and carrying heavy loads will also reduce the range. So drive less, lighten up, and slow down if you want to maximize the range.
2.Hybrid or fully electric?
The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) features two energy sources on the car: a battery with an electric motor combining with a high-efficiency petrol engine. Examples are the Toyota Prius, the Lexus RX 450h, the Ford Mondeo and the Hyundai Ioniq. The battery and the electrical system enable the engine to run in the most efficient mode. The car can drive quietly in electric mode for several km when it is inefficient to use the engine. The fuel economy of a HEV is about 50 % greater than that of a conventional petrol car. The big advantage of the hybrid is that you get improved efficiency and reduced emissions, while not having to worry about range.
3.How much do you save a month?
Battery electric car drivers can save hundreds of euro every month. Essentially your fuel is free at many public chargers, or is cheap-rate night-time electricity at home. There are serious savings to be made on fuel.
4.Power - are electric cars as powerful as petrol engines - can they pull my horsebox/ trailer?
One of the great things about an electric car is the acceleration. The zero-to-100 km/h can be unreally fast and is thrilling for many drivers. Of course, don’t be accelerating too hard because it’s (i) dangerous, and (ii) not good efficient driving. Many EVs are not designed for towing, and so be sure and check on whether you can tow or not.
5.Did you know – NASA has been putting electric cars on Mars for decades?
The two Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on the planet Mars in January 2004. They were to last 6 months while they searched for signs of water on Mar’s surface. Spirit lasted 6 years and Opportunity died in June 2018. Opportunity completed a marathon on Mars in March 2015 – it was covering about 10 m a day. It eventually ran out of energy and died when it got stuck in a crater and its solar panels could not get recharged by the sun.
6.Tax - is the road tax cheaper?
EVs carry the lowest road tax. They are cheap to run after initial purchase… unless you have to replace the battery outside of warranty (see No. 9).
7. Maintenance - do they have to go to a special mechanic if something goes wrong?
Yes, you must go to trained mechanics for service and repairs as battery and hybrid cars have powertrains which are quite different from a conventional car. The garages, which sell electric cars, will have the highly-trained mechanics and technicians which your car requires.
8. Do the tyres and brakes wear more?
One of the wonders of electric cars is regenerative braking. When you hit the brakes in an electric car, the computers on the car actually tell the electric motors to capture the energy of the car as it slows down and recharge the battery. So, it’s quite likely that you don’t use the actual brakes at all. This saves a lot in term of wear and tear on brakes, and creates free energy for the battery! No matter what car you drive, it’s important that the tyres are at the correct pressure. If the tyre is under-pressured, then you’ll end up using excess fuel. If the tyre is over-pressured, you’ll have a bumpy ride. Driving at the wrong tyre pressure is also dangerous.
9.What about battery replacement costs?
This can be expensive for a battery or hybrid electric car. In general, the batteries are warranteed for 8 to 10 years. This may lead to the need to replace the battery as the car itself can last for 12 to 16 years. While battery replacement is likely the best environmental option, it will raise the overall cost of ownership of the vehicle, and also drop the resale value of older vehicles.
10.What comes next for technology?
We will likely be seeing hydrogen fuel-cell EVs in Ireland in the next decade. These vehicles will run like an electric car but are powered by compressed hydrogen instead of a large battery. The big truck or bus running a long distance on hydrogen will have one emission from the exhaust pipe – water vapour!
Would you like to participate in our credit union research panel. We are looking for both members and non members to take part in a discussion group on Saturday 13th July from 11.30-2.30 in Killarney Credit Union, Beech Road, Killarney. We are seeking your opinion on current and future credit union services, areas for development and feedback on membership. Participants will recieve a gratuity of a €20 One4All voucher for their time. Light refreshments will be served.
Buying a car from the UK? You need to talk to your local Credit Union
Second-hand, imported cars from the UK continue to rise in popularity with the Irish consumer. In fact, the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM)* reports that second-hand cars imported from the UK will overtake the number of new cars sold in Ireland for the first time ever this year.
In 2007, imported second-hand sales were at just over 59,000. In the same year, new car sales in Ireland were at 180,000. However there has been a steady decline in the sale of new cars since then. In the first three months of this year, new sales had dropped to just over 50,800. By contrast, imported second-hand car sales had risen to over 25,900 in the same quarter.
Helen Courtney Power of Killarney Credit Union says they have also witnessed this trend locally, with a rise in borrowers taking out loans for second-hand, imported cars.
Helen said “While we are firm believers in the credit union, that shopping locally for a car is the best way to go with some terrific value to be had, we are seeing a surge in car loan queries from people considering buying from the UK. We would urge anyone considering going to the UK to talk to us in your local credit union in the first instance. Our car loan is straightforward, affordable and fair with a great value APR rate”.
Helen continued; “When you arrange finance with us here at the credit union, you are effectively going as a cash buyer to the car dealer, and may well be able to negotiate a better deal. There are also other advantages, including fast approval, flexible terms and there will never be any hidden charges or fees.”
Helen also says there are a number of factors to consider before making the decision to buy a UK imported second-hand car. He/she says the following points are the most important;
• Buy from a recognised car dealership in the UK and avoid buying privately if possible. Shop around online and ensure you are getting the best value possible. Choose your car before you go.
• Inform the UK authorities that you are exporting a car by obtaining and filling out the V5C document.
• You will need to make an appointment for a Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) inspection once back in Ireland, and you will also need to make the VRT payment.
• You may also need to pay VAT if the car is less than six months old or has less than 6,000 kilometres clocked up.
• You will need to purchase new registration plates.
• Ensure you are fully up to date with all requirements and documents needed for importing a car by consulting the Citizens Information and the Revenue Commissioners websites.
• Ensure you have also checked out your local car dealership. There is often great value to be found right on your doorstep. Don’t forget you have to factor in the cost of VRT, possibly VAT, new registration plates and fuel to get you home from the UK when importing a car.
Helen concluded; “Credit unions are not-for-profit, so our main concern when we are lending is always the financial wellbeing of the borrower. You can be assured of an affordable and ethical car loan when you come to us.”
To make a quick car loan application here
* Published by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.
Milltown, The mid-Kerry town hosts the Fleadh from June 19th to 23rd. It will be the second year running in Milltown and will again host a fantastic weekend of top-quality free family entertainment in a packed and varied program.
The Fleadh competitions sees the cream of Kerry traditional music vie for a place in the Munster and All-Ireland fleadhanna but is also an opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the vibrant trad. scene in the county. Milltown’s street entertainment programme will feature one of the top acts in world music, Kila, playing on Saturday night, June 22nd. This is a free, outdoor gig, and will also feature support acts from around the county. Friday night and Sunday afternoon will feature the outdoor ceilidh, a great spectacle for dancers and wallflowers alike. Kids will be well entertained, with a drumming workshop specially for kids on Saturday at 2, and fun with “Time to Party” putting fun events on Sunday. “Spin City” funfair will be in Milltown all week also.
We invite all young musicians join in the “Denis Courtney Memorial Street Entertainment Competition”, and have a crack at winning some of the €500 prize fund, sponsored by the local Rathmore and District Credit Union. There will be sessions in the local bars all week and the annual “Singing Club” takes place in Larkins Bar on Thursday night.