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Should you buy an electric car now?

Electric cars have their advantages but does that mean you should buy one now?

In the spirit of the TLDR summaries that we’ve been adding to our reviews, I’ll save you a few minutes of your life and say, no, you probably shouldn’t buy an EV now unless you happen to be very rich or you live or work near a charging point. If neither of the above describes you, then getting an electric car now would likely mean compromising on some aspects of your lifestyle.

Having tested severalEVs, the one thing holding me back from recommending them – high prices aside –is the thorny issue of range and charging them.Charging always feels like a perilous undertaking because not only are you counting on the fact that it will be available when you get there, but you also have to pray that it works properly.

What was supposed to be a 180kW charger was operating at just under a third of its rating. This meant I added much less range than I had planned.

Recently, during my test of the Audi RS E-tron GT, I went to a charging spot and discovered that only one of its two chargers was online. Worse, the app then didn’t want to work and that left me panicking like a student who has forgotten to do his homework. And when I did finally manage to get the app to work, I then learned that it was, for unknown reasons, heavily de-rated from 180kW to just 50kW. In other words, it would take about three times as long to charge.

Sure, you could say I was unlucky and that this was a one-off. But years ago, I encountered the same problem when I tested the Ioniq Electric. Perhaps I’m jinxed but these experiences have left me paranoid. But what’s more telling about the charging situation is that never once have I driven into a petrol station and worry that I won’t be able to fill up.

Am I just unlucky?

Even if you assume they’ll always work, there’s still the problem of charging times. Even the most powerful chargers on our island would take around 20 to 30 minutes to get most EVs from zero to around 80% charge. And remember how I mentioned the charger I was at was de-rated to 50kW? This meant that in the 30 minutes that I had set aside for charging, what could have easily gotten me up to 80% or so would now only get me up to around 40% at best. So instead of comfortably adding another 250km or so of range, I managed to barely add 100km. And as we all know, the trip computer is as reliable as a used car salesman. This might not be a problem on our tiny island, but if you were even brave enough to attempt driving into Malaysia, it could mean the difference between making it to the hotel and being stranded in the middle of the NSHW.

I know improvements are being made to our charging network and that more will be added in the coming months even. But unless you are rich enough to build your own charging point or lucky enough to be living or working in the same place as one, who can honestly say that EVs, right now, are just as convenient as conventional ICE cars or even hybrids?

For now, the issue of charging EVs means they are suitable only for a select few.

And that’s a pity because even the most cynical and diehard petrolheads must admit that EVs have their benefits and are uniquely suited for our tiny country. They almost always feel quick and one of the biggest benefits of not having a motor chugging away is that they are often super refined and quiet. You’ll need the petrol equivalent of something like an S-Class or 7 Series to match the serenity of an EV. There’s no question that they have a place in our motoring landscape. But sadly, for most people at least, that time is not now.

Kenny Yeo

Kenny Yeo/Associate Editor

Specifications are not everything. It’s what you do with what you have that matters.

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