Judging by the amount of column inches created by the latest generation of electric vehicles, you might be forgiven for thinking we’re undergoing some kind of battery-powered revolution.
In a way, the use of battery technology to power the latest generation of electric vehicles has witnessed a revolution in reaching the point where lithium ion battery packs can be manufactured and packaged almost affordably.
I say almost because in order to increase take-up there is a £5,000 grant available for plug-in cars. We tested one of the first of the latest generation of EVs available.
Some manufacturers prefer customers to manage costs through leasing the vehicle, while Renault offers a unique leased battery as part of a purchased vehicle.
This is because a price tag of approaching £30,000 for this Mitsubishi i-Miev – an electric version of the petrol-powered £9,000 Mitsubishi i that was sold from 2007-2009.
But there may be other financial benefits. Charging the i-Miev fully – depending on the electricity tariff – costs about £2 and provides up to 100 miles of range. This is significantly lower than the cost of 100 miles travel in the most efficient diesel car.
If your business operates in the charging zone, then a saving of up to £2,500 a year can also be offset against the cost of the i-Miev, and electric vehicles also qualify for a 100% first year writing down allowance.
Currently there is no BIK tax to be paid by drivers in an electric vehicle, although they will fall into the 9% BIK tax bracket from 2015, and the vehicles – with no tailpipe emissions – can also fulfil environmental commitments.
The i-Miev we borrowed was passed around various editorial staff to see how well they coped. We have charging points at our office, so charging at home would only be necessary if the range was depleted.