10 Electric Vehicle Myths Busted by James Baggott, Author, Car Dealer Magazine
Confusion surrounds the running and operation of an electric car. Here, we try to clear that up.
- You can’t boil the kettle while charging an electric car
A National Grid report warned that home networks might struggle to cope with high-capacity car charging. However, EV owners with a low-capacity home network wouldn’t have a high-capacity charger, so there’s little chance of the network being overloaded.
- EVs are more expensive than petrol and diesel cars
Generally, the base price of an EV will be slightly more expensive, but manufacturers compensate by offering a generous specification so that with the government’s £4,500 zero-emission vehicle grant taken into account, they’re a pretty good deal, plus have low running costs. What’s more, as EV technology becomes more prevalent, costs will reduce – the new Nissan Leaf starts at £1,500 less than the old one.
- They’re more likely to catch fire in a crash
Concerns about crash safety are largely driven by a couple of high-profile Tesla Model S fires in 2013.
The EV maker upgraded its underbody battery pack protection in 2014 but also noted that the odds of fires in its cars were “five times lower than those of an average gasoline car”.
- You can’t drive them in car washes or when it’s raining
Water and electricity don’t mix, so manufacturers carefully seal all of the electrified components to make sure there aren’t any problems using car washes, or driving or charging in the rain.
- You can’t go very far
Most electric vehicles now have a range in excess of 150 miles, with 200 miles becoming the norm – and the average journey is less than nine miles.
- There’s nowhere to charge them
Long trips require a bit more planning, but charge point locator Zap Map indicates there are almost 15,000 connectors at more than 5,000 locations in the UK, with more added all the time.
Plus, rapid chargers can provide 80% of charge in about 30 minutes.
- The batteries don’t last very long
Batteries do have a finite life, but most manufacturers offer battery leasing for a monthly fee and will replace it for free when needed. Others offer replacement warranties, with five-to eight-year cover the norm.
- EVs are less environmentally friendly across their life cycle
The energy required to build an electric car can make it less environmentally friendly to produce than a traditionally fuelled car. However, a Norwegian study quoted by the BBC estimates an EV is about 10% better over its life cycle, and that will continue to improve.
- Battery disposal poses a huge environmental issue
It does, but the EV boom has encouraged lateral thinking to improve recycling rates, with companies taking used EV batteries for use elsewhere, such as home energy storage.
- They’re boring to drive
Modern electric cars can be genuinely fun to drive, particularly thanks to the high-torque motors, which make acceleration brisk. Tesla takes this to extremes with its Model S, which reaches 60mph in less than three seconds – comparable to the new McLaren Senna supercar, with its petrol-powered twin-turbo V8.