To EV or not to EV? That is the question for the DM Hall property professional who covers the huge and sparsely populated Highland region

Graham Forbes with his electric vehicle

By Graham Forbes

IT HAS been a gradual transition, but I now have to confess that I am a convert to the concept of the electric vehicle, despite the fact that my beat – the Highlands and Islands – is the biggest and most thinly populated area in the UK.

For 20 years, in a busy job which took me from our Inverness HQ as far as the tip of Skye and to the top right corner of Scotland at Caithness, I drove a diesel car which ate up the miles, and now I have transferred my allegiance to a hybrid.

Honestly, however, I now wish that I had gone all-electric. The primary reason? Electric miles are cheaper – 10p, as opposed to 15p for diesel, a not-to-be-sniffed-at saving of 50%. 

That’s not the only upside, though it would bring a smile to any accountant’s face. No, the very real issue of range anxiety – where will I find the next charge point? – is being eased on a regular basis as more and more facilities are being introduced.

Remarkably, it is now possible to enjoy the spectacular North Coast 500 route in the calming silence of an EV using charge points only. And, EV technology rapidly evolves, manufacturer’s claims of 300-mile range on a single charge are transitioning from wishful thinking into established reality.

At the moment, the hybrid can accomplish the 300 miles of rolling road to the north of Skye on a full tank and a full charge. It can achieve 40 miles around town on battery alone and the ride is smooth, silent and seamless.

There are no charge points at the office, so I leave the car at the local supermarket, which is well-equipped. It is 10 minutes away from work, so the walk is good both for clearing the head and reducing the waistline.

It has taken me a bit of time to adjust – to wean myself from dependence on the petrol station – but, using the Podpoint app it is easy find charge points and to top up your account by phone as you go.

On a recent trip to England, the profusion of charge point infrastructure was noticeable. In the same way as we used to know that there would be a petrol station within a few miles, it is now becoming possible to depend on finding a place to juice up.

Here are five handy hints to ease yourself into EVs.

  • Be organized. There is plenty of online information and a plethora of useful apps to guide you.
  • Re-educate yourself and forward plan as much as possible. I struggled with this at first. I always felt I was never away from a petrol station.
  • Charge little and often, rather than waiting for the big, full-charge opportunity.
  • Remember, it’s not as difficult as it’s made out to be.
  • Work smarter. Do some calls or dictation, or have lunch or coffee while the car is charging.

My next car is due in two years, and I intend to go all electric. The time, I think, is ripe.

Graham Forbes is a Partner in the Inverness office of DM Hall Chartered Surveyors.

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