Electric vehicles are not the cars of the future, they really are the cars of today. Allow our EV expert Afeez Kay to put your reservations at ease as he busts some of the most common EV myths…
MYTH: We need more public charging stations before we can buy an electric vehicle
FACT: The vast majority of cars on the road are driven mainly in cities, where the typical daily driving distance is between 70 – 90 km a day. A typical EV range is between 160 – 230 km, therefore most of the daily charging needs can actually be done at home, by simply plugging into your wall socket. So a public charging infrastructure isn't a prerequisite for early electric vehicle adoption.
There are a range of EV charging facilities out there with different charging speeds, but even the slowest chargers (such as your home wall socket) will replenish the average electric car over night. So as an EV owner, you have the luxury of waking up with a fully charged car; the equivalent to having a full tank of fuel every morning! As an added bonus, when charged during off peak hours, the cost of electricity, on average, can be as little as 70-80% less than petrol or diesel.
MYTH: The grid will crash if everyone has an EV and charges at the same time
FACT: This is a common misconception. Currently about 1.5% of all vehicles in the world are EVs, so we are still a long way off from reaching this apocalyptic scenario! We have plenty of time to prepare, and in fact the technological developments needed, such as battery storage for renewable energy, are already quite advanced.
So as renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind, solar, tidal power and hydro power system are getting cheaper and more efficient at harnessing energy, and with most of the costs being upfront costs such as installation, a reality of servicing the peak times for charging an EV from renewables may not be that far off.
A 2015 study shows price per kilowatt hour of solar is dropping by 10% per year since 1980, and predicts that solar could contribute 20% of total electricity consumption by 2030.
Performance and Range
MYTH: Electric vehicles do not have enough range for my daily needs
FACT: The vast majority of the current electric vehicles on the market now have an average range of between 160–230 km driving range, which is nearly three times the typical daily distance driven. The Tesla Model S P100D now has a range of over 480 km, not to mention an acceleration from 0 to 100 KPH in just 2.5 seconds!
Excitingly, we are now entering a second wave of EVs that are catching up with the Tesla range! These include the revised BMW i3, Hyundai ionic EV, VW E-Golf, the Chevy Bolt and the new 400km range Renault Zoe!
Interestingly, the BMW i3 Range Extender, has an on-board petrol generator that charges the battery as you drive to give an additional 80 miles of range, which helps in eliminating ‘range anxiety’.
MYTH: Battery chemicals are bad for the environment and cannot be recycled
FACT: Most electric car manufacturer offer a 10 year warranty on the lithium ion batteries that come with the cars as standard. After years of use in an electric car, the lithium ion batteries, some of which can still have up to 80% capacity left, can be repurposed into energy storage for the grid and houses, in case of power cuts or to store energy from renewable sources such as solar panel or wind farms to be used during peak energy demands.
However, even if the batteries have truly come to the end of their lifespan, the batteries can be taken apart, broken down, melted, and separated for recycling as at least 90% of the components of an EV battery can be recycled into valuable metals.
Lithium-ion battery recycling facilities are now being built in anticipation of the influx of second hand EV batteries from the first generation mass market electric vehicles, such as the 2011 Nissan LEAF. However, these facilities will take time to become fully operational as the amount of EVs on the market is still growing.
So although the industry is not yet at 100% recyclable batteries their lasting footprint on the planet is still so much better than the effects of petrol cars, and as technology improves we hope a 100% recyclable battery becomes a reality.
MYTH: Electric Vehicles are too expensive for market penetration
FACT: As with any new technology, the initial cost of ownership will be high, just as when USB and smartphones were first introduced. However, there are already many affordable alternatives to the famous Tesla EVs with prices that may surprise you. Also, Governments Electric Vehicle incentives in North America, Europe and Asian provide tax breaks and incentives to help ease the initial cost of an EV, so it’s worth researching in your options in your region.
The purchase and lifetime operating cost of an electric vehicle is lower than an equivalent ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle as EVs require less maintenance or repair due to less moving parts - so no oil change, fan belt, spark plugs or general maintenance. Less stress, less trips to the garage and less surprise repair costs!
MYTH: Battery replacement costs a fortune after only a few years
FACT: There is no denying that the battery is the priciest part of an EV, but as the popularity of EVs increases, the demand and supply will also increase therefore driving battery cost down.
The general misconception is that EV batteries are the same as your phone or laptops, however the battery chemistry and the size of the batteries in an EV is vastly different from your everyday laptop and phone, and need replacement less often than you might think. For example a Tesla Model S will lose on average 23 miles every 100,000 miles.
For example the Nissan LEAF initial battery production costs at the launch in 2011 was about $750 per kilowatt hour (for the 24 kWh battery), however by October 2015, car maker GM has indicated that they expect to pay a price of only $145 per kilowatt hour for Li-ion cells in 2016, for the release of the Chevy Bolt EV.
Electric vehicle technology is so rapidly improving, that each month there is a new announcement in the market that further debunks one of the above myths! If you’re considering buying an electric vehicle there really is no time like the present to try one here.
If you have another myth you’d like us to put to the test just let us know!