Maybe your next car should be electric

Should your next car be electric? For many HGS residents, the answer should be Yes. That was the conclusion of an evening meeting held by HGS REACH, the RA’s climate action group, in April that considered the future of electric driving in HGS, discussing not only big issues such as sustainability of lithium mining, but also local and immediate issues such as the availability of charging for the many residents who don’t have a drive.

Of course, many residents have already made the switch to electric. That’s good news for the planet – switching means you’re helping keep the planet healthy for your children and grandchildren. But it’s also good news for local air quality, which is not as good as you might hope: in April NOx air pollution, as measured by our local air quality monitor (at the junction of Meadway and Hampstead Way) was, on average, worse than in Piccadilly Circus.

Photo: Peter McCluskie

To help residents make the switch, HGS REACH ran two events in a single week. On Sunday 14 April we had the first HGS Electric Car and Bike Show. More than a dozen local residents brought their electric vehicles to St Jude’s car park in Central Square (see pictures) and answered questions from interested residents. Around 150 people came to chat and hear about the realities of driving electric. This was followed by the evening event held on 18 April which had a more in-depth discussion of the issues with experts in this field. Robert Poole, head of charging infrastructure for Barnet Council, talked about the availability of local chargers – an issue of concern to 39% of local car buyers, according to an HGS REACH survey last year. Robert provided an update on the Council’s installation strategy which is continuing apace (see the panel below).

Photo: Asher Budwig

Electric cars are much cheaper to run, but what about the upfront cost of electric vehicles? Freda Lewis-Stempel, a Mail Online motoring journalist specialising in electric cars, gave a useful rundown of new vehicles launching in 2023 – some of which are significantly cheaper. The Dacia Spring (produced in Eastern Europe by the Renault group) will be just £15,000 (although it is a city car with a modest advertised 137-mile range).

The new electric Renault 5 will be more pricey at £25,000 but will have a more generous 249-mile range plus an essential accessory, a built-in baguette holder! More broadly, Tesla’s price cuts in April are putting pressure on other manufacturers to trim prices. The meeting also heard that modern, long-range electric cars are coming onto the second-hand market as buyers trade in after three years. And according to Which? battery degradation is usually minimal, less than 1% a year, so these could be a great buy. 

These are all logical reasons for buying an electric car. But there’s an additional reason, which is more emotional. As Jonathan Shine, a local electric vehicle entrepreneur who has driven electric for more than two decades, said: “Every electric vehicle I’ve driven, particularly the ones I drive now, is really, really pleasurable to drive – very quiet, smooth, and pleasurable.”

To be sure, using public transport and cycling (or an electric bike) is the most sustainable form of transport. And there are some petrol cars where the electric equivalent is still much more expensive, such as the 7-seaters needed by those with a large family. But for many Suburb residents, making their next car an electric vehicle offers a double win: improved sustainability plus fantastic driving experience. As Freda Lewis-Stempel said, “It’s a very enjoyable thing to do – and you’re also giving back”.

Photo: Asher Budwig


• 200+ lamp post chargers 

• 463 Trojan charge points (flush with the ground) in 32 sites 

• 20 JOLT chargers in busy locations (offering 15 minutes daily free charging) 


• 793 additional Trojan charge points 

• 500 more lamp post chargers 

HGS residents can request a lamp post be converted to a charging point by emailing

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Article created:13th June 2024