The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Diana Verde Nieto Headshot

What No One Tells You About Owning an Electric Car

Posted: Updated:
ELECTRIC CAR
Gregor Schuster via Getty Images

When I bought my Chevrolet Volt I became that person that doesn't stop talking about their no-sugar, no-thrills lifestyle. That middle class urbanite buying vegetables from the grocer and edamame beans from Waitrose. The domestic goddess with the bread-maker next to the microwave. Of all of the lifestyle contradictions that exist, I had decided I was not going to be the city-dweller cruising around in a gas-guzzling 4x4 and I wanted everyone to know about it. Of course, I had chosen an electric car that was sexy and by no means looked like an electric car, but the main factor was that currently the 30 million cars on Britain's roads are responsible for a quarter of all of the UK's carbon emissions.

The problem is, I gloated so much about my principles and how happy I was to be doing my bit for the environment that to admit that the reality of life on the un-polluted, open road has been surprisingly difficult, pains me.

Of course, there have been positives and I've definitely saved money - I pay no road tax and the Volt is exempt from the London congestion charge. On a good day, after four hours of charging time, the car can cruise for 50 miles before switching back to petrol. With running costs as little as 2p per mile, it's estimated that a family who drive 10,000 miles a year could save £1,000 annually by making the switch to an electric vehicle.

The government recently pledged to spend £9 million on further charging points to encourage even more of us to swap petrol for power points as part of its pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2050. However, in practice, many of London's electric car-charging points are out of use. Cue me, on a regular basis, in some kind of manic state, frantically jabbing at the Source London mobile app trying to find a functioning charging point, before - heaven forbid - I have to get out and walk like the traditional eco-warrior (in untraditional four inch heels).

In my experience there is nothing that feels more ironic or infuriating than driving around for 50 miles on a Friday evening, trying to earn yourself an extra 50 miles before the car turns into a pumpkin/combusts/starts spewing its guilty exhaust fumes of failure. Let me tell you that your morals - ingrained and admirable as they may be - do not spur you on as you navigate West London's one way systems for the fifteenth time in two hours searching for some sign of the 300 charging points in the capital which may or may not be working.

The current solution - which really isn't much of a solution at all - is to invest in one of your own electric car chargers. To do this, not only do you need access to off-road parking because you can't trail the charger over the pavement but you'll need to cut down on edamame beans and start saving...