RAC Cars News


Electric Cars For Earth Day

By raccars Published

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Yesterday was Earth Day 2015, an annual event designed to raise awareness of environmental issues of all kinds. Events are held worldwide to promote the Earth Day Network's message which, for motorists, is basically to reduce pollution by buying electric.

Certainly eco friendly cars have come a long way since the Toyota Prius hybrid became the first of its kind to really make any commercial impact, but the car buying public retains some resistance to the concept. What have electric cars got to offer?

They are quiet

The silence which accompanies pure electric motion is almost eerie at first, but becomes very relaxing, once you are used to it. Certainly urban areas could become significantly quieter with greater proportions of electric cars.

They are fast

The electric drivetrain experience is very different from the combustion engines we are used to. Power delivery is immediate and even, whereas diesel and petrol cars have to wait to attain a certain level of revs. An example is the Tesla Model S, which can beat an Audi R8 off the lights.

They are reliable

There are fewer mechanicals involved in electric cars, meaning fewer parts and consumables to go wrong and be replaced.

They are cheaper than they used to be!

The price of electric cars is coming down. While many are still more expensive to buy than a petrol or diesel counterpart, finance options and government subsidies mean that there is a wide choice of models under £20,000.

They are environmentally friendly

This is, of course, the electric car's unique selling point, its raison d'etre. While a certain amount of fossil fuel is used to produce the electricity needed to run EVs, economies of scale mean this is still a cleaner and more efficient process than individual combustion engines.

They are also locally friendly

'The environment' is not some big, amorphous mass. It is all around you, it is your local area, city, town. In particular big, crowded cities such as London are suffering under the effects of pollution - buildings are dirty, the air is dirty, pollution warnings occur regularly. Can you imagine how much cleaner and fresher your local streets would feel if all transportation were zero emissions?

They are economical

The Renault Zoe EV was just named the cheapest car to run in the Auto Express Driver Power ownership survey. This is because an electric car costs less per mile to run than a petrol or diesel model. Maintenance costs are lower due to fewer serviceable parts and consumables, while there are numerous discounts and incentives to EV owners to encourage uptake.

And some rather fabulous people drive electric or hybrid cars! Celebrity cars are often held up as a demonstration of excess and a lack of taste. While overpaid footballers and sportsmen proudly flash their cash in the cars they drive, as well as the clothes and jewellery they wear and the houses they buy, there are some celebrities whose choice of car is prompted by their conscience. Here's a run down of celebrities keeping it green on the roads:

Bradley Cooper

The A-Team and American Sniper actor keeps a Toyota Prius as his daily driver, although his auto collection does also include a number of motorbikes and a Mercedes-Benz G500.

Cameron Diaz

Famously environmentally friendly, actress Cameron Diaz is also a sporty girl, so a Tesla Model S is the ideal vehicle to combine her passions. Diaz clearly takes her commitment to the environment seriously as her garage also houses a Toyota Prius.

David Beckham

As one of England's top footballers, Beckham's luxury car collection included a BMW, a Lambo and a couple of Bentleys. However, Beckham clearly came under the West Coast hippie influence after his move to LA, as he now uses a Toyota Prius as his family car.

Leonardo Di Caprio

Di Caprio has owned a number of cars over the years, including a Toyota Prius, but in 2012 he bought a Fisker Karma, an electric sports car with some potential but whose maker sadly went bust a little while later.

Ryan Gosling

The Canadian actor is another Prius driver. These must be the most common cars on the roads in California - the local equivalent of Britain's Ford Fiesta.

Justin Bieber

Another Canadian star, Justin Bieber, has not been known for modest behaviour but it's hardly surprising his sense of proportion has gone when the teeny bopper received a Fisker Karma as an 18th birthday gift, from talk show host, Ellen De Generes. A few weeks later, Bieber was seen out and about in the car having had it chrome wrapped - apparently this was designed to ruin paparazzi shots but could there not also be a danger of other drivers being blinded by the glare?

George Clooney

Always one to forge his own path, George Clooney loves to spring a surprise. In 2005, American manufacturer, Commuter Cars, presented him with the first production model of its tiny Tango 600. This electric car curiosity is apparently capable of getting to 60mph in 3.2 seconds and can get to 130mph. Other notable owners include Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, but commercial sales have been almost non-existent.

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