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Almost half of US car journeys are now under six miles!

Zapp | 2019-07-29


Short journeys are the norm across the world


Last year, as part of its regular ‘Fact of the Week’ web feature, the U.S. Department of Energy surprised Americans by revealing that 59.4% of one-way household trips are less than six miles long. If you set the limit at 10 miles, the figure rises to 75%. The Department defines the journeys as one start-stop A to B movement, so a ‘multi-stop’ trip to various other destinations before returning home wouldn’t count. Nonetheless, the figure is still eye-opening.


Despite the pervasive car culture in the US, they are not alone in this. In 2014, The Irish Times reported that one-in-five journeys made in Ireland was less than 2 kilometres in length and that 51% of people used their car for those journeys. Meanwhile, in 2005, the sustainable transport charity Sustrans put the percentage of all car journeys of less than 5 miles in the UK as 69%.


The significance of the figures is twofold. Firstly, a massive number of journeys that are adding to environmental emissions could and should be made on non-petrol-powered forms of transport. Secondly, these figures do an awful lot to assuage one of the stumbling blocks to electric vehicle sales, and therefore to one of the solutions to the above problem - range anxiety.


No more range anxiety


While EV range is improving all the time, it is even less of an issue if most journeys are as short as five or six miles. The frequency of recharges is obviously much less in this case. It’s true that petrol stations are more currently plentiful than charging points, especially in the US, but the significance of this is greatly diminished. This is particularly so in the case of the i300 Zapp scooter where charging is so simple. The i300 electric scooter plugs into its charger with an ordinary household three-pin plug, so you do not have to rely on reaching a kerb-side charging post to power it up. Even with an ever-expanding network of charging stations, this is a load off your mind. 


So, if you take range anxiety out of the equation then the benefits of electric vehicles – be that cars, motorcycles and scooters – become even harder to ignore.


Crucially, electric vehicles are cheaper to run across outlay and maintenance.


The benefits of electric vehicles


For example, Zapp’s i300 electric scooter costs £5,250, or £19.99 a week. Electric scooters are absolutely ideal for making short journeys, weaving in and out of traffic jams, and with a sufficient range for a number of short journeys before recharging. The i300 also has an impressive acceleration of 0 to 50 km/h in 2.35 seconds and 0 to 70 km/h in 4.10 seconds. Not only that, the i1300 has a torque of 587NM for excellent handling and a peak power of 14 kW.


Four wheelers are very competitive on price too, the Nissan Leaf and the Nissan e-NV200 fall within the lower £20K category and the Renault Zoe offers a cheaper option at £14,250. This is not to mention he government grants still available for purchasing EVs.


In terms of running costs after purchasing, comparisons made over insurance, fuel, tax, loss of value, servicing and tyre wear etc., have shown that electric vehicles are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel cars. 


The electricity required to charge an electric vehicle works out at around a third as much per kilometre as buying petrol for the same vehicle. Meanwhile, with fewer moving parts and no expensive exhaust systems, starter motors, fuel injection systems, radiators etc., electric vehicles have lower maintenance requirements overall. Furthermore, because the battery in an electric vehicle plays a role in slowing it down, brake pads last longer. EV batteries themselves, their most integral part, are often guaranteed for eight years and can last up to 15 years.


The weight of the argument for switching from petrol-powered vehicles to electric vehicles is pretty irresistible. Constant short journeys will add up financially and environmentally – EVs ease the burden on both fronts.