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Mike Wilson and his partner switched to electric vehicles two and a half year years ago. After realising the savings they could make by adapting to renewable energy, Mike has just installed a solar array on his roof. Although the switch to renewables hasn’t been without its challenges, Mike’s journey highlights the benefits of pursuing more sustainable energy sources for his car and home. Here, we look at his journey switching to electric vehicles.

Why switching to an electric vehicle makes sense for island life

Mike’s interest in electric vehicles began when his partner's old car failed, and they needed to replace it.

After chatting to friends who had electric vehicles and considering the costs and benefits of switching to electric, Mike discovered that even older secondhand electric vehicles which have smaller batteries could be ideal for island life. You can get around the island on a single charge, making them the perfect choice for your first electric vehicle.

He purchased a secondhand electric vehicle, and it wasn’t long after that when he switched his own diesel car for another electric vehicle.

Mike’s keen to point out the issues involved in buying an electric car:

“Electric vehicles are more costly up-front although they are much cheaper to run. You need to shift your focus from the traditional aspects you look for in a vehicle such as age, engine size and MPG. Electric vehicles don’t have an engine making them cheaper to service (if they need servicing at all), and all EVs have a similar “MPG”, around 4-5 miles per kWh.

His advice for anyone thinking of purchasing an electric car is to shop around for the best price. Electric vehicles are becoming more popular, meaning the cost of secondhand electric vehicles can vary significantly from dealership to dealership. Mike recommends looking online to compare prices to make sure that you’re getting the best deal that you can.

Mike also has some advice for business owners looking to purchase an electric vehicle. He recommends purchasing through the company where possible, benefiting from the low benefit in kind rates, which is how he bought his second electric vehicle.

Fuel costs aren't the only savings made by driving an electric vehicle

When it comes to costs, saving on fuel is a huge advantage, as Mike is keen to point out:

“We spent about £200 a month on petrol for my partner’s car per month, and that was a hybrid car. We now spend approximately £30-£40 per month on electric.”

Mike explained that investing in the second electric vehicle also led to considerable savings:

“I replaced our 12-year-old car, which was 44mpg. The total cost of that was about £500 per month, including insurance, diesel, and maintenance. Over the last three years, maintenance costs came to around £1500 per year. Whereas with an electric car, there’s less to go wrong. There are fewer moving parts and no gearbox. You don’t put anything in an electric car apart from screen wash and electricity.”

He’s also keen to stress that driving an electric vehicle is a much more enjoyable experience than a diesel car.

“Electric motors can deliver all of their torque immediately. There’s no fuel to combust and mechanical drivetrain to move. This means they can be blisteringly quick and with all their weight low down between the wheels (instead of a heavy high engine box) they feel stable on the road too”.

The high return on investment (ROI) makes it a worthwhile switch

Mike and his partner save over £3,500 a year by switching to electric vehicles. To live a more sustainable lifestyle, they have recently invested those savings back into solar PV and Tesla Powerwall battery storage at home. They expect that this will provide for many ‘free sunshine-powered miles’ and later, home heating too. Mike estimates that it will take around ten years for their home solar PV system to have paid for itself fully and sooner if energy prices continue to rise after which it would continue to generate thousands of pounds of electricity a year for free.

Mike says that we are presently in a worldwide energy crisis where the cost of liquid fuels and electricity is increasing.

“If you drive and have a place to charge at home or work, why wouldn’t you switch and avoid paying high prices at the petrol pump?”.

some TIPs if you're considering purchasing an electric vehicle

Mike recommends creating a spreadsheet and knowing your costs and expenses.

Understanding everything about your switch to renewable energy is also a must, and he also encourages you to speak to others who have made the switch and listen to the advice of experts online such as the Fully Charged Show on YouTube.

Costs are a significant factor in how many changes they can make. Exploring whether or not they could fund the changes themselves was difficult.

other ways to reduce emissions by transport

Transport accounts for 24% of the Island’s emissions, making it our second-largest emissions category after electricity generation.

Switching to an electric vehicle can help the island reduce its emissions once the Island’s electricity generation is decarbonised. On a personal level, as seen through Mike’s case, the savings made on maintenance and fuel costs make an electric vehicle a worthwhile investment.

However, there are also other ways you can reduce emissions by transport.

Read this article  if you would like to know more about electric vehicles.


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