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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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Do you have questions about electric vehicles?

Hey folks, my wife and I are owners of two electric vehicles (owning two cars is not exactly the most sustainable thing, acknowledged)... But I'd be very happy to answer questions anyone has.

Discussion (11)

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julie profile image
Julie Wong

Hi Ben, I don’t drive but if I did I would certainly consider driving an EV. But I’ve always wondered if it’s possible to get charging stations that get the electricity from renewable sources only.

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Ben Halpern Author

95% of the charging you'll ever do is from home — so to make it right you'll want to go solar.

All in all our approach/plan is EV + solar alongside efficient electric heating/cooling via heat pumps.

Your options are going to vary in terms of charging stations depending on make and model — Tesla has a lot of charging stations backed by solar and they've announced plans for 100% solar in their stations. Otherwise your options will vary — but in practice, again, most charging comes from home.

That home charging factor is both the best user experience and best for your capacity to ensure clean energy. The car plugs into the house and you always leave with a "full battery"...

Hope that helps! I've always lived in cities and walked/biked and never had a driver's license. Eventually life took me to a driving-centric living situation so I'm excited that it's allowed me to help advocate for this version of driving if one must.

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Julie Wong

That’s great to know. I wasn’t aware that people do most of the EV charging at home. I wonder how much more it adds to EV owners’ electricity bills in the UK. This country hardly gets any sun during the year so solar power is not a good option.

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Yves Gaston

We didn’t want to own a car either but once you have children it becomes a necessity. We own a Polestar and charging time is 8 hours at 220V from our local charging point but with rapid recharger at motorways services it takes only 30 minutes. Home charging is something we’ve considered but haven’t gone ahead with mainly because we weren’t too sure at the time (last year) and we had a charging point not too far from us.

In the UK, you can get up to 75% off the installation of your charging point at home or workplace with the OLEV grant so we definitely getting a home charging point soon.

@julie in the UK you get a plug-in grant for low emission vehicles and the vehicle costs less than £40k, you will be exempt from road tax. So if you’re considering buying one you should look into all the EV grants/schemes you could get.

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Julie Wong

Thanks for the info @yves . Really appreciate your input.

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Ben Halpern Author

Yes, thanks for adding to the convo @yves !

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Ben Halpern Author

Our setup:

  • One "do-it-all" EV: Tesla Model Y (pictured above).
  • One "secondary commuter": Cooper Mini SE

The Model Y battery pack is more than 2x the size of the Mini, so from an environmental discussion it's better than having two big cars. But the Mini also gets far less range... Which is also fine for daily driving.

Anyway, just wanted to start the discussion... Any and all additional convo is welcome. More than happy to answer!

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Oli Guei

This is an interesting topic for discussion. Thank you for sharing your knowledge/experience Ben and Yves. I'm seeing more EVs on the streets of London these days. Still nothing compared to Oslo though. Almost every car in Oslo is an EV.

I've read that the lithium baterries need replacing after certain number of years. Is that true and is it yours or the manufacturer's responsibility to dispose of the battery?

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Ben Halpern Author

I'm not sure who is responsible for disposal of the battery, but it seems like there is plenty of demand for used batteries from a recycling perspective, so that is good.

All in all it seems like batteries sometimes need replacing, but generally these cars can keep chugging for many, many years. Some batteries degrade more than others, but we are now a decade in to certain parts of the EV movement and all signs are that longevity is generally good, recycling is possible and happening, and the industry is in a good place on battery safety.

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Oli Guei

That’s good to know the batteries last a long time.

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Ben Halpern Author

I have previously written a little buying guide here if you want to check that out.