Getting to grips with ‘range anxiety’ and the brave new world of electric cars

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Cars have never interested me. What happens under the bonnet is about as mysterious as trigonometry.

I’ve never changed a spark plug or the oil in five decades of driving - that’s what garages and mechanics are for.

All I want from a car is that it goes from A to B in relative comfort, and has a decent sound system so I can belt out my music. Brake horse power is a nag in the 3:30 at Ascot, torque is, I think, a bandage - oh, hang on, that’s a tourniquet - and I probably wouldn’t recognise an overhead crankshaft if one landed on my head.

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So, having to suddenly decide whether I go electric or hybrid led to few fun-filled evenings of research, head scratching and endless conversations which had me swaying back and forth like a gaggle of women at a Take That concert.

Electric avenue: Making the move to an EV vehicleElectric avenue: Making the move to an EV vehicle
Electric avenue: Making the move to an EV vehicle

With a change to our company car plans, my planet-choking diesel, which I love, is being taken away, and I have a choice to make, but which way to go?

Electric cars seem to a bit marmite. For every person I spoke to who was a total convert, I found another who scoffed at the very idea, and threw increasingly alarming stories in my path.

Did I know the steering wheel can fall off mid drive, and the engine just cut out while whizzing silently down the motorway?Oh, and, whatever you do, dinnae switch on your wipers or turn up the heating otherwise your battery will drain faster than your will to live.

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And then there’s “range anxiety” - because we all need that extra bit of anxiety in our lives in 2023.

Changing from diesel to electric ...Changing from diesel to electric ...
Changing from diesel to electric ...

The ‘will I make it to the gig and back before the next charge’ is, apparently, a real syndrome. Oh joy.

“Imagine driving permanently with the petrol gauge on the red” was the best summation I got. As a devotee in the art of winging it, it kinda appealed, until I realised that’d probably leave me stranded by the roadside on a howling wet Wednesday night ding my finest Basil Fawlty impression as I thrashed the car with a giant branch I ripped from the nearest tree.

So, Plan B - hybrid. Consider it the wuss way of going electric - dipping a toe into this strange new world while still having old-school petrol handy, and a place to fill up without yelling at Google “show me an EV point RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!”

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Car picked, forms filled in only to be rejected because I forgot to specify which colour of cloth I wanted for the interior. Clearly the answer “touching” didn’t crack a smile.

Forms re-done, I then discover there is zero availability for the car I wanted, so back to the drawing board. Everything else just added a few quid to the monthly payments, so those EVs crept back in with a knowing smile.

Found one I liked, and the reviews were good until I got to the ‘did you know this car got an unprecedented zero rating for safety?’ Call me old fashioned but I like my vehicles to be sturdier than paper mache.One more search and I ended up with the car I first circled. Now I find myself on electric avenue - or I will be once it arrives and I plug it in next to the kettle ...

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