Are we coming to the end of the era when we have to fill up our petrol tanks several times a week?

Perhaps – but maybe not for some time.

It is safe to say fuel-powered vehicles still dominate the automobile industry.

But with the current climate emergency movement, and numerous manufacturers looking to the future, could it soon be a case of out with the old and in with the new?

As of August 2019, it was estimated that there were more than 200,000 electric-powered vehicles registered in the UK, with just 25,000 EV charging points.

The inconsistency of available EV charging points across the country, along with a list of other rumoured drawbacks including cost and performance, seem to be enough to put off a lot of road users from switching from fuel to electric.

This is not the case for local man Lewis Ash who switched to an electric vehicle in 2017, and insists the positives outweigh the negatives.

“I drive a Nissan Leaf,” he said. “It’s a really good car; it’s great to drive and it suits [mine and my wife’s] lifestyle.

“We have another car as well, but my wife and I both drive the Leaf.

“The main difference is that it’s a lot cheaper than running a fuel-powered car.”

“We can get a distance of up to about 70 to 80 miles off a full charge – it’s probably a shorter distance in comparison to newer models, but for now it suits us fine.

“When travelling a longer distance, it’s simply a case of charging it halfway through.

“On a rapid charger, the car will charge up to about 85 per cent, and then the charging rate will slow down to protect the battery.

“It’s a pretty nippy car. The difference with electric vehicles is that they have torque instantly, but a normal car with gears doesn’t have that.”

However, Lewis does acknowledge that one of the current drawbacks to owning an electric vehicle, is the lack of infrastructure available for charging.

He said: “There are nowhere near enough charging points in Wales and certainly around north Shropshire.

“The charging infrastructure is poor at the minute, it needs to get better.

“In some areas it’s great, but that’s predominantly in and around big cities; other than there, they’re quite scarce in rural areas.

“There have been a few rapid chargers introduced in mid-Wales, but it would be extremely difficult to complete a north to south journey in Wales.

“If you’re going to do a long-distance journey, you need rapid chargers scattered about, and you need destination chargers in everyday destinations such as supermarkets.

“There are new rapid chargers in the petrol station at the new Morrisons store. It would work well in supermarket car parks, because it’s a place where you expect to spend a prolonged period of time.”

His thoughts are echoed by Tom Boneham, of the Furrows Group car dealership.

Furrows sell electric-powered cars, and are expecting to see a number of new models in 2020.

Tom said he only expects to see an improvement in the performance and battery life of vehicles as time goes on.

He said: “[The use of electric vehicles] is a growing thing. All the brands that we work under such as Ford, Kia, Mazda and Skoda, have plans to release electric or hybrid vehicles in 2020.

“The distance they can travel is only going to get better really with the technological improvements constantly being made.

“It’s absolutely fine if you treat it the same way as a petrol car; you wouldn’t attempt a 10-mile journey if you didn’t have 10 miles of petrol, so it works the same for charging electric vehicles.

“I think the fully electric cars are extending in range monthly – we have the Kia e-Niro here which has a range of 282 miles – I’d guess not many people drive that sort of distance in a day.”

Tom believes when it comes to spending money on the car after the initial investment, electric cars all-but look after themselves.

“I’d say the day-to-day running costs for these vehicles is barely even comparable to regular fuel cars,” he said.

“I would say there tends to be a bigger investment up front in terms of the price of the vehicle, but there are obviously government grants to bring down the costs.

“I think as the popularity of these vehicles grows, the need for infrastructural investment will too.

“I think that’s coming – you can see that from the groups of manufacturers that are coming together to invest in infrastructure.”

Not everyone is convinced however; reader Caz Turver commented: “Nevermind electric charging points – how about providing fuel for the eco-friendly cars we already have?

“My car runs on liquefied petroleum gas – trying to buy it in this area is becoming a joke as more garages take the pumps out.

“It doesn’t make sense to throw away a perfectly good car and get a new one, the production of which hammers the planet far more than carrying on using the old one does.”

Fellow reader Andrew Allen is also unconvinced, and after driving a demonstration Leaf, he said: “If you like driving at reasonable speeds and don’t go anywhere over 40 miles away unless you’ve got time to burn charging the stupid thing.

“Or, just buy a Tesla.”