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  • Nov 10, 2022

  • 6 min read


How easy is it to switch to an electric car?

Behaviour change isn’t something that comes easy to most of us. Staying in familiar habits and patterns is comfortable, and it’s human nature to resist change.

As we all work towards fighting climate change we’re being asked to think about our behaviours and how we’re personally having an impact on the world around us. You might wonder what you can do to have a positive impact on the environment by changing some of your behaviours.

Gary Howard, Chief Digital Officer at Precision Marketing Group, made a very big change recently. Earlier this year he decided to switch from driving a 2 litre hybrid car, to a fully electric one after becoming more aware of the impact his driving had on the environment.

Here’s what Gary had to say about his decision to change to an electric car.

Why did you decide to switch to electric from hybrid?

“Throughout my professional career I’ve driven between 20,000 to 30,000 miles per year. Like many others, I’ve not thought about the damage I was doing to the planet, or the people breathing in my toxic fumes.

I am a die-hard company car driver. For 40 years I’ve lived with the convenience of knowing that a petrol station is just around the corner. I can hop in the car with hardly any petrol in it, safe in the knowledge that I can fill up soon, with no need to plan my journey, change my driving style or extend my journey time to include charging time.

I thought of my car as a tool of the trade and essential to me doing my job. How can I possibly change to electric?

When I first made the switch to electric I was nervous that I might have made a mistake. But after the first few trips, I was totally sold on my new battery electric vehicle.”

What was your first impression when your car was delivered?

“My new car (which felt more like a spaceship) arrived at the beginning of March 2022. The normal array of buttons had been replaced by various apps on a screen. As the car has voice recognition software, I could simply talk to it and tell it what I needed to do!

It all became second nature very soon after delivery. Instead of pressing buttons much of my time was talking to my new car, much like KITT in Knight Rider! I’ve never had a car that was so easy to drive.

I opted for the Tesla Model 3 Long Range, as not having enough range was my greatest fear with switching to electric. That fear soon disappeared once I got to grips with a new routine for charging.”

How did you find your first journey in your new electric car?

“The first trip I took was a 370 mile round trip from Bury St Edmunds to York. I had a car full of passengers as it was my daughter’s graduation. I wondered how much the heavier payload would affect the mileage, or what else might drain my precious battery.

I charged overnight at home, with Intelligent Octopus Go giving me six hours of smart charging at a super low rate. I didn’t have too much time to spare on the journey up so I’d have to keep my booster charge for the journey home.

I was amazed. The cynic in me expected my mileage percentage to drop faster than the miles covered, but I found if I kept my foot off the accelerator, the charge matched the expectations of the journey planner on the sat nav. By the time I had arrived, I had 140 miles left on the clock.”

What was your first experience of charging like?

“The first time I charged was using a Tesla supercharger. My car is registered through my Tesla app, so I simply had to drive up the services, plug in and wait. Within 20 minutes I had an extra 150 miles in the battery and it cost me just £18.45.

The next long trip I did was a 326 mile round trip to Barnsley where we stayed at a hotel ahead of a family celebration. I thought I’d need to charge on the way home, but I was so pleased to find two Tesla superchargers waiting for me at this quaint, old hotel on the rural outskirts of Barnsley!”

What made you choose Octopus Electric Vehicles?

“I enjoyed the customer service experience, the ease of managing my bills and the genuine belief that they put their customers and the planet before profit.

I already had an at-home charging point (supplied by Octopus Electric Vehicles) for my Hybrid, and I loved the fact that I could delay charging to the less expensive period during the night.

The team guided me through the process from start to finish.

Before the car arrived, my usual trip to the dealership was replaced by several easy-to-view, easy-to-understand video tutorials. All of this built excitement and reminded me of the experience of ordering anything from Apple. The brand experience was exceptional.”

What advice do you have for anyone who’s thinking about switching to an electric car?

“Even if you are a long in the tooth, stuck in your ways petrol head that believes that the charging infrastructure in the UK is not widespread enough to cope with long distance motoring, think again. It is not the nightmare you think (or have been told) it is. If I can do it, so can you!

The harsh truth is that we must act now. My company has switched all their fleet traffic to electric vehicles and signed up for the Octopus Electric Vehicles salary sacrifice scheme.

Our business gained carbon neutral status in 2021 and this year we won the accolade of being the greenest business in Suffolk. None of which has impacted our profitability, in fact, quite the opposite.

I’d love more people to join me in feeling smug as we speed past petrol station after petrol station. We can be safe in the knowledge that we’ve taken small personal steps to extend the lifetime of our planet and not kicked the can down the road for our children and grandchildren to pick up!”

Our electric car salary sacrifice scheme is free for employers to join and gives your team a supercharged employee benefit. Your team can make savings of up to 40% when they take a car under the scheme, and get a free home charger with 4,000 miles thrown in. What’s not to love?