Motoring: My likes and dislikes about driving an electric car

The all-new Peugeot e-208

The all-new Peugeot e-208 - Credit: Archant

Do you sometimes feel the test drive you read about the car you subsequently purchased didn’t point out a number of things you would have liked to have known?

The Peugeot e-208 front face and full LED headlights

The Peugeot e-208 front face and full LED headlights - Credit: Archant

It’s probably unfair to motoring correspondents to suggest their articles are less than comprehensive but we all have different demands from our cars and the chances of them replicating our needs is, at best, unlikely.

Even more so when they are flown to exotic locations (at least before the current pandemic) and presented with the top end model the manufacturer hopes to sell the most of, and represents the best of this new range of products.

I have been driving the new Peugeot 208 electric vehicle for the last three months and thought I would give you my likes and dislikes as well as some of the variances between driving electric and conventionally powered cars.

The first thing you encounter is additional cost as an equivalent top-end electric will cost you around £6,200 more than its petrol equivalent - and that is after the Government grant - but on a three-year lease, it is around £77 per month more.

The all new Peugeot e-208 cockpit

The all new Peugeot e-208 cockpit - Credit: Archant

You will also find you are likely to spend more on tyres as the electric car is heavier, but with fewer items needing maintenance you will save on servicing costs.

You will also save around £1,000 per annum on electricity against petrol, providing you plug in on a cheaper overnight rate.

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A smart meter will make it easy for you to do this. You need to be able to park off-road to have a home charging unit which, together with a Government grant and help from some manufacturers, can cost you nothing to install.

It is more expensive to charge at commercial charging facilities, such as motorway services.

Hopefully, you are still with me and we can get down to driving the car.

Specification on the top-end Peugeot 208 is fantastic and probably the only extra I would choose of the few left, is a sun roof as I prefer fresh air to air conditioning.

I must confess I like the safety of the active cruise control, the active safety brakes, the blind spot warning, and the LED lights for night driving. In the winter I would not be without the heated seats!

The driving technique is remarkably simple as there are no gears and no clutch, so one can concentrate on the road ahead (and behind).

Acceleration is surprisingly responsive, quicker than the petrol equivalent, and reaches 60mph in 8.1 seconds.

Ironically, I find slow speed requires the most concentration as, especially in enclosed car parks at low speed, pedestrians cannot hear you coming.

Yes, the engine is that quiet, and as a result future product will have a noise at low speeds built in as standard equipment.

This quiet is very apparent at 30mph plus and you are more aware of road noise from the tyres if your radio is off.

The standard of comfort in the Peugeot has a premium feel about it and the seats are very comfortable.

It is easy to control most functions from your steering wheel and the steering itself has a firmness of response which gives confidence and enhances the driving pleasure.

The most important difference about driving an electric vehicle is that any journey, other than one in range of your home, needs planning.

Range is quoted as 217 miles but this is subject to conditions, speed, and the number of electrical items in use - heating, air conditioning, wipers, radio.

I find that a mixture of city driving, travelling at up to 70mph on the A38 and at around 50mph on the B roads gives me an average of 167 miles so if I am travelling I need to plan where I get my charge.

The information is readily available and a break is not a bad thing, even if you have to bring your own coffee!

I have enjoyed my electric Peugeot and as things progress will keep you informed.

Look forward to joining you next week.