2017 Apr 17
Electric cars have been a novel idea for decades and have recently been brought to life with decent applicability; that being not having to charge the vehicle every mile or so. Electric cars are not your typical hybrid cars that work on both a battery and a petrol engine, but have more in common with enormously oversized toy cars as they run entirely off a rather large battery. So what is it about electric cars that has been piquing the interest of many?
To begin with, let’s get the big point that’s been staring us in the face away; taxes. Yes, as strange as it is to hear, taxes for electric vehicles have actually decreased (by about 11%) this year alone. This reduction in duty has intrigued many to try out this novel vehicle for themselves, leading to a natural increase in its popularity. I’d like to believe it’s not just the taxes but also and undying need to realise many a child’s dream of wanting to fit into and drive their own toy car. It’s a similar concept anyway.
Say you’ve bought your very own shiny, new toy car, and are now starting to question the practicality of your decision. Is using an overly large toy car as your daily city transport even practical? Wouldn’t you have to charge the vehicle every hour or so because they are so inefficient? Wouldn’t it be useless to have a vehicle that can only be used in the city for a limited amount of time? I’d say these are very valid concerns if they weren’t all wrong. Except for maybe the last one. That would be pretty useless. Thankfully that is not true for an electric vehicle in the current age.
I’d like to use the Nissan Leaf as an example as I’ve had ample experience with both its positives and negatives as an electric vehicle. The previous model (2015) has an effective range of about 135 kilometers with the 2017 model having an effective range of about 250 kilometers. Let’s take the worst case scenario with the lower range of the 2015 model for argument’s sake. City running in Colombo is a breeze even with the older model of the Leaf as it’s 135 km range is more than sufficient to traverse the city of Colombo. To put things into perspective, the 2015 model of the Leaf can go from Colombo to Galle in a single charge. But what happens when you reach Galle, you ask? Wouldn’t you run out of power and be stranded in that beautiful coastal town, you ask? Not quite, I say, which brings my into my next point which is both a positive and a negative of electric cars in Sri Lanka.
With the rising popularity of electric cars in Sri Lanka, the number of external charging stations have been steadily increasing. This makes long drives with the 2015 Leaf plausible as there are many charging stations to stop at and charge up your toy car. This is also a negative as you would sit there for at least 30-45 minutes waiting for the car to charge up. Perhaps this could be a good time to have a nice chat with the family or play a board game to pass the time. After all, you are going to be there for some time. It does break the flow of a drive having to stop and sit there for a while. It would, however, seem like a worthy sacrifice if you are aware of how little of a negative impact you are having on the environment and also your wallet as you won’t be burning through thousands of rupees to pay for petrol. In the long term, an individual with an electric vehicle will be saving a considerable amount of money which would be spent on petrol and will be exhausting little to no fumes into the air, reducing their own carbon footprint.
All of this is possible with just the 2015 model of the Leaf. The limitations drastically decrease with the newer and more efficient 2017 model which boasts a 30 kWh lithium ion battery which can power the vehicle for 250 kilometers, which is almost double the range of the previous model. All things considered, with the steady increase in efficiency and technology that goes into the creation of electric cars, coupled with the increase in the number of quick-charging stations emerging all over Sri Lanka, the electric vehicle could soon be a very common and practical vehicle to use in our island.