I recently bought a second hand 2014 Renault Zoe as a commuter car and here are my thoughts on the pluses and minuses of owning an electric car.
My experience of owning this car has been overwhelmingly positive, to the point where when my 2012 Hyundai i40 needs replacement, I am certain to buy an electric car to do so. I’ve only done 3000 miles in it personally, and I guess owning a second hand model means that the early failures mentioned in the first post have been weeded out!
Most people ask about the range when I say I have an electric car and to be fair, it only has a real world range of 80 miles. This is not a problem for me as my commute is only a 25 mile round trip, so I can get two days of commuting and also trips around town out of it before I need to charge. The dealership I purchased it from (EV Experts in Guildford) arranged for the installation of a faster charge point at my house so a full charge from 0% takes around 4 hours. I haven’t ever had a problem with the battery being close to empty, even when I have forgotten to charge it some nights. However, because of the range I have never thought about cross-country trips in it, apart from the journey back from the dealership. Even this was painless, with a 45 minute stop at Beaconsfield services for lunch with a recharge on an Ecotricity point.
In terms of driving experience, I found it is very similar to driving an automatic with a few subtle differences. I find pulling away from traffic lights and junctions always enjoyable, despite the Zoe having one of the less powerful electric motors available. The power does run out at higher speeds though, so I haven’t bothered trying to get it above 70 mph, although there a few places to do so on my commute. The fact that there’s also almost no sound from the motor makes driving around town at 30 very pleasant. It took a little getting used to maximising the use of the regenerative braking, but now its second nature. I miss it when I go back to driving the i40. I’m also in love with the ability for the car to deice/precool itself. As long as the car is plugged in, you can set the heater or AC to run before you get into the car, so last winter I never had to scrape ice off of the car. It was amazing. I have a 100% renewable energy supplier to my only concerns with charging are cost not carbon footprint.
The lower costs of running an electric car have already been pointed out above, so I won’t repeat it here. The Zoe is unique in that you rent the battery from Renault, so they will replace it if it drops below 80% capacity. The rental cost is dependant on your annual mileage, but it starts at £50. The benefit is it lowers the purchase price of the car, even secondhand, which was an important consideration for me as it was a second car, I knew I wanted it to be an electric car and I prefer to purchase outright rather than use loans (I know the rental agreement means I used a loan to purchase the battery). I purchased mine with 17000 miles for £6500.
Like those above, I thoroughly recommend people purchasing a new car to consider electric. A couple of my coworkers have even followed through on my advice after they saw my experiences with the Zoe!