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  • Sep 27, 2021
  • 3 Minutes

Nine quirky facts and figures about electric cars to impress your friends

As electric cars become more popular in the UK and race towards mainstream adoption, we wanted to share some quirky facts and figures about these impressive vehicles.

And with the UK government set to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, electric vehicles are widely accepted to be the future of automotive travel.

So here are nine statistics to think about, feel good about, and impress your mates with down the pub when you next get on the subject of all things electric.

1. How many smartphones would you need to build an EV battery?

The process of breaking down used batteries from old phones and laptops and repurposing them is known as ‘urban mining’.

And for every 300 smartphones you collect, you’ll have enough cobalt for an EV battery. Urban mining is said to be a potential solution to managing shortages of raw materials used to build EV batteries. 

2. The UK has more electric car charging points than petrol stations

There are more than 25,000 charging points in over 15,500 locations across the UK, however according to data from Zap-Map, there are only 8,400 petrol stations in the UK – a figure which is continuing to decline. 

3. Electric cars can cost half as much to run as petrol and diesel cars

Data from our EV-4-ME tool, an online quiz designed to highlight how an electric vehicle would suit your day-to-day life, shows that average annual running costs for electric vehicles are approximately 50% of comparable petrol and diesel cars.

Drivers can expect average annual running costs of £866* when behind the wheel of an electric vehicle.

This is a whopping £711 cheaper than a comparable petrol car (£1,577 annual cost) and a substantial £640 less expensive than a diesel car (£1,508 annual cost).

4. Electric vehicles are surging in popularity 

Volkswagen Group delivered 231,624 fully electric vehicles to customers globally in 2020 – more than three times as many as in 2019!

And recent data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that annual registrations for Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) models are up 117% compared to this time last year, whilst Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) models have seen a 151% rise in annual registrations over the past 12 months.

5. Electric cars have been around for more than 130 years

Whilst many of us view electric cars as ultra-modern vehicles, they’ve actually been in existence for a lot longer than people realise.

The very first production electric car was built in 1884 by English inventor Thomas Parker. Parker was the mastermind of several innovations, including the electrification of the London Underground as well as working on electric tramways for a number of cities.

By 1897 a fleet of electric taxis was also being used in London. Improvements in petrol and diesel technology marked the end of the popularity of electric cars which has only been revived in the last decade.

6. The source of electricity powering EVs is becoming more sustainable

Encouragingly, in 2020, the UK’s renewable electricity outpaced its fossil fuel generation for the first time. Information from Ember, an independent climate think-tank, found that last year renewables made up 42% of UK electricity, compared to 41% generated from gas and coal plants.

Additionally, many energy providers allow renewable tariffs and if you’re looking to generate the power yourself, the price of Solar PVs for the home between 2010 and 2019 fell by 82%, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

This means that the likelihood of you getting renewable energy into your EV car, whether from a provider, or even you producing it yourself, is becoming increasingly easier.

7. The average length of each car journey in the UK is fewer than 10 miles

This should mean that range anxiety becomes less of an issue if you’re considering making the switch to electric, and with public charging stations being installed at places like supermarkets and gyms, frequent top-ups rather than big weekly charges are likely to be the norm for many – especially if you don’t have off-street parking.

One analogy we like to use is that charging an EV should be approached in the same way we top up a smartphone battery – something that’s much easier if you have multiple chargers dotted around your house.

When it comes to combating range anxiety, it is worth noting that the all-electric Volkswagen ID.3 Tour with its 77kWh battery can travel up to 340 miles on a single charge on the WLTP (combined) cycle, whilst cheaper variants with the 58kWh battery can still achieve 264 miles on the same cycle..

8. Electric cars are definitely seen as the future

Half of British drivers (50%) say they’d like to help the planet by switching to an electric vehicle, whilst 78% say it’ll hurt the environment if they don’t give up petrol and diesel cars**.

In fact, almost a quarter of Brits (23%) see themselves driving an electric vehicle within five years, and one in five (20%) people plan to invest in an electric car charging point at home by 2026.

And a significant eight in ten (80%) Brits believe it’s important that people switch to an electric vehicle within the next ten years..

9. The electric vehicle revolution is gathering pace

Earlier this year, Ofgem approved a £300million investment in the UK’s charging infrastructure. Part of this windfall will fund the installation of 1,800 new ultra-rapid car charge points for motorway service stations and a further 1,750 charge points in towns and cities.

Where can you find out more?

For more information on whether switching to an electric car is the right move for you, visit our dedicated EV hub.

READ MORE: Myth-busting 10 misconceptions about electric vehicles

READ MORE: Three big reasons why you should consider driving an electric car

Research sources:

*EV-4-ME is designed to offer guidance on which fuel type might be most appropriate for you, based on your answers to the questions provided. It should not be relied upon solely to inform your buying decision. We advise speaking to your local dealer and carefully considering your personal circumstances before making a final decision. Running costs, predicted emissions, benefit-in-kind rates and Plug In Vehicle Grant calculations have been based on representative vehicles for each of the fuel types. The indicative running cost is an annual figure, based on the fuel costs for a given MPG or kWh/mile and servicing costs for a representative model of each fuel type, plus the London Congestion Charge savings based on your answers. The figure of £866 is based on a vehicle budget of up to £30,000, driving fewer than 10,000 miles annually and up to 30 miles daily, and does not take into account the London Congestion Charge.

** Representative survey of 2,011 UK drivers excluding those with electric vehicles (Aged 17+) carried out between 1.6.21 – 4.6.21 by Censuswide.


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