No CO2 or other atmospheric pollutants. Sustainability may be the main reason for driving a fully electric car, but it is by no means the only one. In addition to benefitting the well-being of the planet, there are also advantages for drivers. “Getting behind the wheel of an electric car in any big city saves a lot of time and money, ” says Carlos de Luis, head of electric mobility at the Volkswagen Group’s Institutional Relations. We found this out this in Madrid, on board the SEAT Mii electric.
1. Say goodbye to traffic jams. Being able to avoid the typical traffic jams is one of the incentives with which more and more city councils are rewarding electric car users. In many European cities they are allowed to drive in the bus lane. A particulary noteworthy case is that of Madrid, where you can drive in a lane specially reserved for fully occupied vehicles or for ecological cars, even with just the driver.“Thanks to this measure, if you live in the suburbs you can reduce your daily commuting time by about 30 minutes a day. For many users this is the main reason for choosing an electric car”, Carlos explains.
2. Easy parking. The other big daily challenge for drivers in the vast majority of cities is finding a place to park. For this reason, more and more city cities are offering facilities to drivers of electric vehicles, such as free or discounted reserved spaces, as is the case again in Madrid. “I can park in the blue and green zone without paying a cent and with no time limit. You don’t even have to walk to the parking meter to get a ticket” Carlos says.
3. Drive into the centre of the city. Almost 300 European cities have low emission zones. And that number is growing. Spain’s climate change law, for example, compels all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to create low emissions zones and restrict traffic with higher emissions by 2023. For Carlos de Luis it is clear: “Electric cars are the solution to restrictions in cities. I usually have many meetings in the centre of Madrid and with the SEAT Mii electric I can drive practically from door to door.”
4. Charge and go. There are already more than 150,000 public charging points in Europe. “This is just the beginning” says de Luis, “the administrations are aware that they must commit themselves to building electric charging infrastructure, as well as provide incentives for installing charging points in homes and businesses.”
In addition, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers offer parking spaces with recharging as a courtesy to customers. “So, for example, while I’m shopping, I can top up the battery at no cost” he adds. With the SEAT App, you can monitor the battery level via your mobile phone at all times.
5. Go further for less. At the same time, electric vehicles have an increasingly longer range. The Mii electric has an urban range of up to 350 kilometers. “This would last me several days without recharging based on my daily commutes, but since I leave it charging every night in the garage, I never worry about the battery level”, he explains.
Furthermore, consumption expenditure is significantly lower in an electric car. According to the average electricity rate in Spain it costs 1 euro to drive 100 km. In addition, it does not require as much maintenance. “At the outset it’s more expensive to buy, but it pays off when you calculate costs for the vehicle’s total useful life” says Carlos.
6. Purchase subsidies, less tax. SEAT’s goal is to democratise electric mobility with affordable cars like the Mii electric. However, electric vehicles in general are still more expensive than ones equipped with a combustion engine, which is why direct support for their purchase, ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 euros depending on the country, is key. Moreover, there are different tax benefits to owning and driving an electric car; in Spain, for example, a 75% reduction in road tax in many cities; full road and registration tax exemption in Portugal, and no congestion charge in Great Britain.