Changing gear – adapting to electric vehicles

Changing gear – adapting to electric vehicles


With the gradual phasing out of petrol and diesel cars over the next few years, electric vehicles will become increasingly more common, but convincing every motorist to switch to fully electric cars will take more time than anticipated, according to experts.

The shift to electric cars is already under way, however new research by leading UK indoor karting company TeamSport has revealed that Brits are still struggling to separate fact from fiction.

The launch of the Tesla Model S in 2012 proved that electric cars can perform just as well as petrol. However, the research highlighted that half of drivers (50%) think electric cars are unreliable and a further 65% said they believe that electric vehicles are much slower.

The study also claimed that the majority of drivers still don’t fully understand the capabilities of electric vehicles, with almost three-quarters (73%) of the nation believing that electric cars are only suitable for short distance driving.4

Nearly two-thirds of the nation (62%) also believe that petrol cars give a better driving experience than electric cars.

The biggest barriers to ownership of an electric car is the limited availability of charging points, with 72% of respondents believing that there will not be enough docking stations for electric cars to become mainstream. However, there are currently around 12,194 connectors for electric vehicles, in over 4,303 locations across the UK.

Following the news that the British government has pledged to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040, manufacturers will now have to completely change the way they produce cars and drivers will have little choice but to go electric.

Dominic Gaynor, Managing Director at TeamSport, said: “The uptake of electric cars is already increasing at an impressive rate in Britain. The UK Government has done its bit to help increase the popularity of electric cars, committing to provide £35 million to improve the nation’s EV infrastructure. The next step is to convince British motorists.

“We have four tracks across the UK that feature electric karts; having a go in one may be just what you need to change your opinion on electric vehicles. We’ve had some serious petrolheads comment on how good the driving experience is in an electric kart.”

Sylvain Filippi, Chief Technology Officer at DS Virgin Racing, said: “Electric vehicle technology is still not understood by the public, which is ironic as in the early 1900s, all the best vehicles were electric. Cheap oil meant the beginning of affordable petrol cars for the masses, and we never looked back, until now. Internal combustion engines have been the norm for decades, whereas credible EVs have only been brought back to market in the past five years, hence the lack of understanding of the technology.

“Statistics show that, once someone tries an electric vehicle, the feedback is very positive most of the time. On a personal level, I drive a high performance electric car that definitely provides a fantastic driving experience. Instant torque is addictive, even compared to high performance petrol cars, and EVs designed from the ground up with the batteries under the floor provide excellent chassis dynamics as well.

“Formula E has been growing exceptionally rapidly since its creation, and this is due to many factors. Firstly, the quality of racing is very high, the races are unpredictable and the experience is very entertaining for fans, who can’t predict which driver is going to win. Even though all cars now have different EV technology powering them, the performance of the field is still very close, allowing many overtakes and on-track action.

“Secondly, the EV technology being developed is highly relevant to the road car industry, which means that almost all the major car manufacturers are now joining or interested in joining the championship. The best drivers in the world are also joining, so the level of competition is very high.

“By providing fast and exciting racing, the FIA Formula E Championship will hopefully change perceptions and make people realise that EVs can be fast and fun to drive.”

Sam Bird, a professional driver at Formula E said: “Electric vehicles are the future. It’s exciting to think where technology might be in 10 years, and being involved in Formula E means we’re part of that journey.”


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