Make it electric

Care without Carbon met with our colleague Ben Whittaker who is an Assertive Outreach Worker/Occupational Therapist with Brighton Assertive Outreach Team in Sussex Partnership and Occupational Therapy Programme Lead for the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.  Ben owns an electric car which he uses for all his travel in this community based job. 

Ben tells us about how going electric has made being a driver a much easier proposition…

“I am a reluctant car owner.  I did not own a vehicle for over ten years, preferring to use public transport, cycling or walking.  Life changed and vehicle ownership became a necessity.  I’ve had a Nissan Leaf, for about two years. I love driving an electric car and with its zero-emissions it’s as guilt-free as I can feel on four wheels.”

“When people ask about the electric car the two most frequent questions are “how long does the battery last?” and “how expensive is it?”  Our model does about 120 miles on a full charge, and I’ve never run out of battery.  Long-distance journeys take a little bit of planning but there are plenty of rapid charge points at most major service stations where you can get a nearly full charge on the battery in 45 minutes, which costs about six or seven pounds.  We pay a set amount each month towards ownership of the car and all in all, it works out much more affordable than we’d expected.  A full charge at home costs around £3. There’s no road tax. Parking in the charging bays around Brighton costs £1 a time.  Some people use the car battery as a sink source for their solar panels and can then run their homes off the car battery too which is great if you have them.”

“I like having such a quiet drive, but one downside to this is that I’ve surprised lots of people when they’ve nearly walked in front of the car after stepping into the road without looking!  I have learned to drive as if I’m on a bicycle with one eye on the pavement all the time in case of people stepping out.   Hopefully as electric cars become more common pedestrians will be more mindful of them.”

“In terms of manufacturing, the embedded energy in any car isn’t good.   The electric car is a much simpler machine than a standard car, with far fewer working parts, and early case studies show that electric cars could last much longer than their combustion equivalents, which reduces the embedded energy costs. Driving an electric car doesn’t cut down on traffic congestion, albeit there aren’t any fumes compared to normal congestion.  There are also concerns about charging electric cars using electricity generated by coal or gas, and we are mindful to use an energy supplier from 100% renewable sources.”