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  • Writer's pictureTransition Town Ilford

Are electric cars a good environmental solution for Ilford and beyond?


I have recently taken the leap and purchased a battery powered electric car and have now also been considering installing solar panels and battery storage at my house, to be able to use to charge my car. I asked neighbours on the Nextdoor app if others are considering installing Solar Panels, and therefore as a collective it may help with bargaining on costs! As a result a neighbour asked if I would write something for the Ilford TT blog. Not something I have ever done before, but thought why not. Much of what I write is from my personal experiences and from general reading around the subject matter and therefore have not gone down the route of referencing material so please don’t come looking for me if I have misquoted or not properly acknowledged authors, much of the background material is in the public domain.

This blog is about EV cars and I’ll write another one on Solar Panels later. Solar panels have been around for decades and I had assumed most people would have a basic understanding of how they work and their benefits, unfortunately the more I discuss the issue with friends and family, the more I realise that knowledge on the subject is poor, as is for Electric Vehicles (EVs). I hope that both the subjects will be of interest and perhaps persuade you to do your own research on the subject, and possibly take the plunge.

There are multiple studies confirming electric cars are much more efficient and produce less greenhouse emissions then a car powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) even if the electricity is generated by fossil fuel. In countries where a significant proportion of electricity is generated by renewable eg. Norway, over 90%, compared to the UKs approx. 30%, electric cars are significantly more environmentally friendly. If you can generate your own electricity using solar then you can proudly boast without argument that your car is green.

There are a growing number of EV owners who are installing a solar and battery home system, the amount of electricity they therefore need to draw from the grid to charge their vehicle is minimal, as it is charged directly from solar power during the day. This totally blows out of the water the argument over how green electric cars are!

Now this is where I am in my EV ownership journey. I am researching systems out there and hope to join the many owners out there that are generating green energy to the grid and for use in their car, can you imagine if we all did that and the impact it would have on the oil industry! I will touch upon this subject in my next write-up.

Let’s put the cards on the table, I have no link with any provider or supplier. I have a Tesla Model S and have had solar panels installed on a new build house I was lucky enough to build so have some experience on both. With regards to EVs, the Tesla battery powered electric car is a premium EV and out of the reach of many, but there are an increasing number of mid sector family EVs and my thoughts on the subject equally apply to any other battery powered (or plug in car). Sorry, I am already using terminology that may not be familiar with many, considering there are only about 150,000 plug in electric cars in the UK most people will not be familiar with the terms so I may have to lay some groundwork on the different types of electric powered vehicles.

If you click on this link Electric Vehicles and Solar Power Part 1 you will see my research into Electric Vehicles (EVs) and on some of the Electric Vehicle Myths. I will also

be at the next Ilford Pop Up Green market on Saturday 12th May at 1.00pm – 2.00pm to talk about this and I will have my car to show you! 

If you are looking at buying a Tesla, you can use an existing owner’s Tesla Referral Code to get unlimited free charging using Tesla’s worldwide supercharging network: http://ts.la/tanveer27

Tanveer Ahmed, Ilford

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