No, my next car won’t be electric

The security expert, Troy Hunt, recently Tweeted about his car purchase – a rather fabulous Mercedes…

However, he ended up having to defend his choice and justify why he didn’t, instead, buy a Tesla. His arguments are good, particularly because of where he lives, and I’m siding with him myself.

So, EV charging isn’t as bad as in Australia but it’s still not particularly good in the UK. There are electric cars available but they’re either small, short-range vehicles (Nissan Leaf) or they’re expensive (Tesla).

My wife is an inexperienced driver and doesn’t want a large car. But we need one for family trips and holidays, so I have the larger car. And, yes, I would need it for longer distances too. That puts electric cars out of my price range. And, whatever some people may argue, the discussion about the batteries and where the electric is coming from is absolutely relevant too (something Troy ended up having to argue himself).

But this leaves open the option for hybrids instead but, again, this is something I’ll be avoiding with my next car purchase. The reality is, most hybrid cars really aren’t very good. They add heavy batteries and electric motor to an average petrol engine and it turns out with good efficiency but nothing outstanding.

My previous car was a Ford with an Eco-boost engine – a turbo-charged 1-litre, 3 cylinder engine. At times it felt like a standard engines but at others, particularly at low speed, it was sluggish and cumbersome. It got good mileage for a petrol engine but you paid for it.

My current car is a Mazda 3. It has a standard, 2 litre petrol engine. No turbo charges or gimmicks. But they’ve added features to make the car more efficient, such as a light-weight construction, and a large capacitor to use regenerative braking to top up the battery. The MPG of the Mazda is the same as the Ford but the Mazda is 1000% nicer to drive.

Next year, the Mazda 3 is going to include their new SkyActive-X petrol engine – Mazda engineers having finally cracked the decades-old engineer challenge of how to ignite petrol using compression, like diesel. The result – a further 30% increase in fuel economy and an MPG that’s likely to be higher than that of Hybrid vehicles.

So, until larger, all-electric vehicles, which can drive a good long distance, are viable for the average driver, this is going to be the next car for me.

But, it’s unlikely to be a Tesla – like Troy, I find them bland (ironically, as their designer used to work for Mazda) and, more of an issue for me, their reliance on a touchscreen for controls is dangerous.

Maybe, one day, an electric vehicle will come along that will meet all my needs. But it’s just not now.



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