Good afternoon and welcome!

As we inch closer to the international COP26 summit hosted in UK later this year (a crucial opportunity for the world to deliver on cutting emissions to save the world), the Treehouse continues to talk about practical steps we as individuals can take to reduce our own CO2 emissions. One of the actions for the COP26 individual challenges is to ‘go electric’, and in this edition of our newsletter, Tom talks about electric cars – we hope you enjoy it.  

The Treehouse Gang.

#012 - Go Electric!

In the last couple of weeks petrol and diesel have become pretty hard to come by... suddenly everyone is talking about electric vehicles (EVs). So, would you consider changing the car you drive? 
All of the big manufacturers have EV models, they are reliable and exciting to drive and don’t incur road tax. Plus with improved batteries now, the problems of ‘range anxiety’ seem to be over. EV’s are also cheap to run and easy to maintain.

Whilst switching from fossil fuel to electric cars might not be as impactful on an individual level as reducing your meat and dairy intake, or changing banks, if the whole fleet of vehicles across the UK changed what could we achieve? Transport is the UK’s largest source of emissions, responsible for 27% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.    

Compared to fossil fuel powered cars, emissions drop by 50% if an EV’s power comes from the standard grid. If powered by solar energy, CO2 emissions drop by 95%. Yep, 95%. Replacing all internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles will give a reduction of approximately 12% in the UK’s total carbon emissions. 

Plus, switching to electric disrupts auto and oil business models because they are simpler to make, have fewer moving parts and require little maintenance and no fossil fuels.   
There’s an argument that building new cars and sourcing materials for batteries is just as damaging to the environment as running the current fossil fuel vehicles we have now. The raw materials for batteries, for example lithium and cobalt, are mined and require large amounts of water to process and produce hazardous slabs that can leach into the environment. However, providing these materials are sourced responsibly from recycled products or from clean mining, a new electric vehicle needs to be kept on the road for only 3 years before the carbon savings outweigh the production costs. 

Owning an electric car is literally a breath of fresh air. The performance and driving ‘experience’ are equal to or even better than the average petrol engine car. Anxieties about range of driving disappear when you realise how reliable the engines are, and the accuracy of the battery range controls. Home charging is reliable and really economic, costing between £5 and £10 for a full charge as opposed to paying for a full tank of fuel. You don’t even need a specially fitted charging point (although this does make the process of charging quicker!).

When driving long distances routes perhaps need to be planned a bit more thoroughly and time allowed for charging stops. Apps such as ‘Zap Map’ help you locate charging points and plan journeys. Even in the last year the speed and availability of charging points has increased and continues to do to. If you use your vehicle mainly for driving around the local area then home charging is perfect and will drive you up to 200 miles. You can gladly wave goodbye to the fuel forecourts forever! 

So if you’re looking for a new car put an EV top of the list. Talk to a dealer to book a test drive or find out about the government grant of up to £2500 discount on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles.

Check with your employer too, to see if they provide any incentives for purchasing /  renting electric vehicles. The NHS for example offers a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme for the leasing of an electric car.

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