Myths And Facts About Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles have gained lots of popularity in recent years. Automakers such as Nissan, BMW, and Porsche have all started releasing EV’s. Tesla sold over 350 thousand cars in 2019, which is more than the combined number of sales from 2017 and 2018!
Along with a rise in sales comes a rise in common myths and misconceptions regarding electric vehicles. Are they really more eco-friendly than petrol cars? Do they have enough range to go on a cross-country road trip? Are they as safe as conventional cars? Continue reading to find out.
Myth: Electric Cars Are Slow
Electric cars are anything but slow. Their electric motors allow the car to reach maximum torque practically instantly, as opposed to gasoline cars where the process takes longer. In effect, EV’s are a lot faster from a standstill and at low speeds. The Porsche Taycan (pictured) can sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds and reach the top speed of 161mph.
It’s not just performance EV’s that are a lot faster than gas-powered cars. The BMW i3, a tiny car designed mainly for city driving, can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 7.3 seconds.
Fact: The First Electric Car Was Built In The 1800s
Though electric cars have gotten popular fairly recently, the first-ever electric cars date back to the 1800s. They were, as expected, a little different than the Tesla Model S.
The Flocken Elektrowagen was first built in 1888. And even then, it wasn’t a brand new invention. The first electric car prototype ever made dates all the way back to 1832. Its battery was non-rechargeable. It wasn’t until the 1860s when the first electric car which featured a rechargeable battery was made. Now, almost two hundred years later, electric vehicles are going mainstream once again.
Myth: Electric Cars Have a Low Range
This myth has a grain of truth to it, as there are electric cars with very limited range, especially those released in the early 2010s. The majority of modern EV’s, however, have a range between 100 to 200 miles per charge. Manufacturers are working hard to release EVs with even more impressive range numbers.
The new Tesla Roadster, according to the manufacturer, will be able to drive as far as 620 miles on a single charge. The current record holder for the highest range EV is the Tesla Model S, with a real-world range equal to 325 miles.
Fact: Braking Increases The Range
All electric cars and hybrids currently sold in the US come equipped with a special technology called regenerative braking. It is similar to a system used in Formula One racecars that helps generate energy when the car brakes.
With this technology, electric motors act as generators while the car coasts to catch the kinetic energy of the car. In effect, the motors create a drag that then starts to produce energy. Regenerative braking is a lot more efficient than systems found in regular gas-powered cars that waste lots of energy when braking.
Myth: It Takes Too Long To Charge An EV
This is another issue that was addressed by manufacturers and is practically non-existent by now. A Tesla Model X plugged into a regular wall outlet will need around 10 hours to fully recharge. While this may sound like a lot, Tesla came up with a clever solution.
Tesla has a network of superchargers scattered around the US. Such chargers are a lot more powerful than regular wall outlets and can fully charge the Model X in around an hour. Other EVs, such as the Volkswagen ID.3, can recharge in just 44 minutes using its fast-charging system.
Fact: The Average Cost To Drive An EV Is 50% Less Than Gas Cars
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the cost to travel a particular distance in an electric car is roughly half the cost of covering that same distance in a gas-powered car. The eGallon (an EV version of a gallon of gas) is priced at just $1.19.
Firstly, electricity is cheaper than petrol, and its price is more stable. Some charging points even offer discounts at night that can save you even more money. As transportation is one of the biggest expenses in most US households, driving electric cars can save a lot of cash.
Myth: EV’s Are Unsafe
Many people believe that electric cars are unsafe. This is mainly due to some electric car accidents making international news in the past years.
In reality, most consumer electric cars score very high in crash tests. The Tesla Model X, Model 3 and Chevy Bolt all received top marks for occupant safety. Electric cars also come equipped with special sensors that disconnect the battery fuses when the car detects a collision, as well as special cooling systems for the battery.
Fact: Insuring an EV is More Expensive Than A Traditional Car
If you choose to purchase an electric car, you may be surprised that your insurance premium will be higher than for a conventional car. Calculations show that insurance costs for an electric Fiat 500 are 32% than its gasoline counterpart.
Most people think that being a young driver, receiving a DUI or not having a clean history will raise your insurance costs. While this is very true, another factor one should consider is that electric cars make the owner a larger liability in the eyes of insurance companies. This is mainly due to an average EV price being higher than a conventional car.
Myth: They’re More Likely To Catch On Fire
Whilst it is true that a damaged lithium-ion battery can generate heat and in effect cause a fire, EV manufacturers have been working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen. In fact, Tesla claims that electric cars are 11 times less likely to catch fire during a crash than a conventional gas-powered car.
Modern electric cars come equipped with sensors that disconnect the battery’s power in the event of a crash, as well as special systems to keep the battery’s temperature down. Some EV’s, such as the Jaguar I-Pace, feature a protective case for its lithium-ion battery.
Fact: Nissan Leaf Was The First EV To Pass 400K Sales
Although Tesla has become the most mainstream electric car manufacturer in the US with the best sales figures in 2019, the first automaker to reach 400 thousand EV sales was actually Nissan with its flagship Leaf.
The Nissan Leaf made its debut in 2010 as the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle in history. The first generation was produced until 2017 when it was replaced by the newer, updated gen. The Leaf was one of the first relatively affordable EVs of all time. Nissan stated that Leaf cars have driven over 6 billion miles in total as of March 2019.
Myth: There Aren’t Many Models To Choose From
When you look at electric cars that are out on the roads, it may seem like there aren’t that many models to choose from. Current sales figures support this theory. As it turns out, the top 5 best-selling models make up over 60% of all EV sales. It certainly doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough variety on the market.
According to Wikipedia, there are currently over 50 different EV models to choose from. That includes popular models such as Teslas, Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius as well as less common alternatives like the Peugeot i0n.
Fact: EV’s Were More Common Than Gas Cars In The Early 19th Century
An electric taxi fleet in NYC, charging stations set up at households and various points throughout cities, an electric car with a 100-mile range on a single charge equipped with regenerative brakes. Sounds like the future? It was in fact reality back in the 1900s.
Electric cars were a massive hit in the 19th century. They were more comfortable, quieter and easier to operate than conventional cars available at the time. Charging stations were installed in owners’ houses as well as repair shops around major cities. Electric cars were then dethroned by the Ford Model T in the 1910s, which was even more convenient to use and cheaper. Electric cars eventually vanished by 1935.
Myth: They Are Too Expensive
The sticker price on a brand new BMW i3, Jaguar I Pace or Tesla Model 3 can be compared to a premium gas-powered car. Most electric cars can, however, be eligible for various tax rebates or tax credits that can reduce the price by as much as $7500. On top of that, some states offer extra rebates for EV buyers.
Battery prices are decreasing every year too, resulting in lower manufacturing costs for electric cars. Another way of avoiding the current hefty price tag would be buying used EV’s. A second-hand BMW i3 can be purchased for as low as $11000.
Fact: You Can Use Your EV To Power A Christmas Tree
Imagine you’re enjoying Christmas Eve with your family and all of a sudden power goes out. The only way to keep up the Christmas spirit is by using your Nissan Leaf as an alternative power source for the house. While this exact scenario may sound a bit silly, the idea behind it is in fact very useful.
An electric car can be, just as Nissan demonstrated with the Leaf in 2013, used as a power source for households. Think of it as a massive power bank. An EV can be used to balance your power grid or be a power supply for events, households and even a Christmas tree.
Myth: There Aren’t Enough Places To Charge One
Most electric vehicle owners simply charge their cars overnight or at work. With driving an average of 75 miles daily, an overnight charge at home is enough to last the entire day. On some occasions, you will want to cover more distance in one day and will have to charge an EV somewhere else. Where?
EV charging stations are scattered around the country. In 2018 there were over 20,000 of them in the US and the amount is rising year by year. The state with the most charging stations is California (4800 as of 2018).
Fact: You Can Charge An EV At A Gas Station
RS Automotives is the first gas station in the US that stopped selling gas and transformed into an electric charging station in September 2019. The station is located in Maryland, where there are around 20,000 electric vehicles on the road. An 80% charge is priced at $5 and takes around half an hour.
The idea of EV charging stations is still relatively new in the US, but the trend is starting to gain popularity in some European countries. Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Germany are working on implementing electric vehicle chargers at gas stations.
Myth: Batteries Have To Be Replaced Within 10 Years
EV batteries, just like any type of lithium-ion battery, have a certain lifespan. If your smartphone’s battery doesn’t hold up after a few years, won’t the same issue reoccur in an electric car?
There are federal laws that regulate the minimal longevity of an EV battery. Electric cars sold in the US must have a battery warranty for at least 8 years or 100,000 miles. Studies show that after being driven for 200,000 miles, a Tesla battery pack still retains around 90% of its capacity.
Fact: Electric Vehicles Will Have Fake Engine Noise
Due to concerns regarding EV safety at low speeds, specifically pedestrians not being able to hear an electric car because of its lack of engine noise, all-electric cars in the US will need to have a fake engine noise by September 2020. This noise has to be emitted at low speeds in order to alert passengers of an oncoming EV.
While the idea of emitting fake engine noise may sound unappealing for some car enthusiasts, there will be many different sounds to choose from to make this feature more exciting.
Myth: You Can’t Use A Car Wash With An EV
According to a British survey conducted by LV General Insurance, 12% of the respondents believe that an electric car can’t be driven in the rain. What’s more, nearly 20% of people surveyed say that EV’s can’t be washed in a car wash. Why are these numbers so high?
As you can expect, it is perfectly safe to use an electric car in the rain or take it to a car wash. Using a car charger in the rain is fine, too. The car’s electrical components are carefully protected to avoid any possible electrocution.
Fact: Tesla Cars Keep Dogs Cool
In early 2019, Tesla introduced a new thoughtful feature for their furry passengers. Released for the Model 3, Model X, and Model S, Tesla’s ‘Dog Mode’ is a software feature that enables owners to safely leave their pets in the car. Dog Mode is located within the climate control settings.
Once Dog Mode is on, the owner can safely leave the pet inside of the car, as the vehicle will automatically control the temperature to prevent the cabin from overheating. There is also a message displayed in the main touchscreen that informs passersby that the pet is safe and sound.
Fact: Producing Electric Cars Causes Carbon Emissions
Ore mining, transforming materials, and vehicle assembly are the main processes when manufacturing EVs and it is said that the majority of carbon emissions are generated during those phases.
A study conducted in China proves that manufacturing an electric vehicle generates 13 tons of carbon dioxide, as opposed to conventional cars that generate roughly 10.5 tons during the production phases. Manufacturing just the lithium-ion battery generates over three tons of carbon dioxide. However, once we compare complete life-cycle emissions, EVs generate 18% less carbon dioxide than gas-powered vehicles.
Myth: They Aren’t More Eco-Friendly Than Gas Cars
Driving an electric car is undoubtedly better for the environment than a conventional one. For starters, EV’s are a lot more efficient than gas-powered cars, as most of their energy is used to power the vehicle. EV’s don’t pollute the air either.
Some point out that electric cars harm the environment if the electricity that powers them comes from non-renewable sources. While it is true that charging an EV in states such as California or New York is the most eco-friendly, as these states use renewable energy sources, electric cars remain better for the environment practically anywhere in the US.
Fact: EVs Are Heavier Than Gas Cars
Large lithium-ion battery packs that power electric cars are extremely heavy. A Tesla Model S, for example, weighs upwards of 4,300 lbs, and its battery pack makes up nearly a fourth of its curb weight! Battery packs are often stored in the lower parts of the vehicle, so their center of gravity remains close to the ground despite their heavy weight.
The weight of electric cars has a negative effect on their fine emission levels, as heavier cars tend to generate more non-exhaust emissions.
Myth: Driving An EV Won’t Save Money Due To Low Gas Prices
Let’s face it, gas in the US is already cheap compared to countries across Europe or Asia. Affordable electricity and essentially zero maintenance costs make EVs even cheaper to use than a fuel-efficient petrol car.
A study by the Environmental Protection Agency reveals that covering 15,000 miles in a Hyundai Ioniq will cost the owner just $500. A petrol car would have to surpass 80 miles per gallon to reach a similar cost, and that’s excluding maintenance and repair costs that are more affordable in EVs.
Fact: There Are Three Categories of EVs
The most common type of EV are Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) such as BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S. BEVs, also known as plug-ins, are some of the most popular today. BEVs run purely on electricity without any gasoline support. Did you know there are two more categories of EVs available on the market?
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) are powered by both electricity as well as petrol. Common models include the Honda Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius Hybrid. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) are essentially hybrids that can cover a longer distance purely with electricity. BMW 330e, BMW i8 or the Chevy Volt are examples of PHEVs.
Myth: Repair And Maintenance Is Too Expensive
Due to a sticker price higher than an average gas-powered car, many people assume that maintenance and repair costs are equally expensive. In reality, maintenance costs of an EV are a lot lower than traditional cars.
Electric car owners don’t have to worry about oil changes, replacing spark plugs or gaskets and other mechanical issues. Brake pads last longer due to regenerative braking, too. EVs are built in a way that doesn’t require high maintenance or frequent repairs and are less likely to break down than regular cars.
Fact: Most Of The Battery’s Energy Is Used To Power The Car
Electric vehicles are a lot more efficient than traditional cars. In an EV, 80% of its entire energy is used to power the car. In a traditional, gasoline-powered vehicle only around 15% of its energy is used towards moving it down the road. Regenerative braking is one of the most efficient technologies equipped in electric cars and hybrids. The braking system alone improves EV’s efficiency by almost 20%
In conventional cars, the majority of the energy is lost due to the engine’s inefficiencies, while another large sum is used to power various extras such as air conditioning. In comparison, EVs use less than 5% of their energy to power similar accessories.
Myth: They Are Not Practical
A common concern regarding electric vehicles is their lack of practicality for everyday use. Some people believe that EVs have a short-range and can only be charged in a limited amount of places, making them unpractical for regular use.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most electric vehicle owners charge their cars at night, eliminating the need to fill them up on their way to work. An average American drives less than 75 miles a day, so a full charge lasts until the evening. Even if it didn’t, there are thousands of public chargers scattered around the country.
Fact: Switching To An EV Can Halve Your Carbon Footprint
Despite carbon dioxide emissions being higher during manufacturing of EVs as opposed to conventional cars, electric vehicles are more eco-friendly throughout the US and Europe.
A research study conducted in Europe shows that the average gas-powered car emits around 8.8 ounces of carbon dioxide per each kilometer (0.6 miles). Meanwhile, the average electric car produces a little over 3.5 ounces per kilometer. The number is even lower in countries such as France and Norway, where the majority of electricity comes from renewable sources.
Myth: Batteries Will End Up In Landfills
What happens once an electric car battery has to be replaced or is simply no longer needed? Does it end up in a landfill contaminating everything around it?
EV batteries, much like traditional car batteries, can get recycled. Various companies throughout the globe specialize in recycling electric vehicle battery packs, such as Li-Cycle in Canada or Redwood Materials in California. High-tech recycling companies can retain nearly all lithium from a recycled unit. Lithium-ion batteries can then be carefully broken down and reused. Power cells from old batteries can also be used to store solar and wind energy.
Fact: The all-electric Porsche Taycan Turbo Doesn’t Have a Turbo
Porsche’s first all-electric sports car is the highly anticipated Taycan. Since the Taycan doesn’t have an internal combustion engine, it has no turbochargers either. So why did Porsche decide to name one of the Taycan variants after a component that’s not there?
Porsche has used Turbo and Turbo S monikers to distinguish the most powerful, top-tier variants of their cars for years, and the Porsche Taycan is no different. The Taycan Turbo makes 616 horsepower along with 774 pound-feet of torque.
Myth: There Won’t Be Enough Power To Supply All EVs
Power grids in some cities across the US are ancient and won’t be able to handle the rising number of EVs. Or will they?
Navigation Research released a report that successfully busted this urban myth. As it turns out, the current power system can safely withstand millions of extra EVs without the need to build more power plants. Electric vehicles are also estimated to make up 50% of new car sales by around 2040, and the nation’s power grid will be advanced further by then.
Fact: Producing A Battery Requires 3,840 Liters Of Water
Dr. Fichtner’s calculations reveal that it takes almost 4,000 liters of water to produce a 64kWh battery pack for a modern EV. This high amount is used to portray a high environmental cost to produce electric vehicles. In reality, this number is simply taken out of context and lacking a sense of proportion.
It takes about 3840 liters of water to produce 250 grams of beef or half a pair of jeans. Once there is a comparison, it is easy to see that producing long-lasting EV batteries doesn’t have much of a negative effect on the environment.
Myth: There Is Not Enough Lithium To Manufacture New Batteries
Some people are naming lithium “the new oil”, a resource that will soon run out and that its mining has a terrible effect on the environment. While it is true that lithium mining in developing countries such as Bolivia is harming the planet, concerns that the lack of lithium is the inevitable doom of electric mobility is utter nonsense.
Lithium is relatively cheap to mine and can be recycled. On top of that, there are plans around the world to create new lithium mines that will be able to supply over 30% of the planet’s lithium needs within the upcoming decade.
Fact: EV Batteries Are Getting Cheaper
A lithium-ion battery used to be one of the most expensive components of an electric car. Thanks to rapid advancements in technology, EV batteries are getting cheaper year by year. Back in 2010, for example, an electric battery cost was around $1200/kWh.
McKinsey has estimated that the price of electric car batteries will drop down to $100 per kWh by 2030. In 2018, however, the price has already gone down to $176/kWh. The price has been dropping since 2010 by at least 10% annually, with the record drop recorded at 35% between 2014 and 2015.
Myth: Not Enough Range For Long Trips
EVs receive lots of criticism for their apparent short range and long charging times, making it impossible to take an electric car on a long road trip. Although the first mass-produced EVs did in fact have a short-range (2010 Nissan Leaf has a range of roughly 80 miles), the issue has been addressed and is being improved every year.
The Tesla Model S can drive almost 350 miles on a single charge, meanwhile the recently-unveiled Tesla Roadster is said to have a range of over 600 miles! A long-range combined with fast chargers that can recharge the battery in half an hour make modern EVs perfect for long trips.
Fact: Electric Cars Don’t Produce Exhaust Gases
An electric battery and motor do not produce any nitrogen dioxide or other exhaust gases, therefore EVs don’t even have tailpipes. While that is true, it doesn’t mean that electric vehicles don’t pollute the air at all, contrary to popular belief.
Electric vehicles emit small particles from the wear on brakes as well as tire wear. Instant, high torque optimizes performance but also increases the number of such particle emissions. Many environmentalists often overlook the particle emissions and falsely claim that electric cars do not pollute the air at all.
Myth: EVs Are Dangerous For Pedestrians
Until recently, this myth was in fact true. Electric cars traveling at low speeds (20MPH and below) emit virtually zero noise. At low speeds, even the sound of tire friction is barely noticeable. This was a serious risk for distracted pedestrians or blind people, but it has been addressed.
Federal regulations now require electric cars to emit noise at speeds below 19MPH to ensure they can be heard by pedestrians. Automakers have gotten creative and instead of imitating the sound of an internal combustion engine, most new EVs come equipped with sounds unique to either the model or the manufacturer.
Fact: 2018 Saw An 81% Growth of EV Sales Compared To 2017
It is no secret that electric cars are rapidly growing in popularity. While they still make up just a small percent of all cars in the US, the number is quickly rising every year.
According to experts, the growth of EV sales is linked to one manufacturer in particular: Tesla. The US manufacturer sold over 367,000 cars in 2019, which was an all-time high. Teslas are going mainstream. They have become trendy cars, and are not just for environmentalists.
Myth: They’re Not As Fun As Gas-Powered Cars
We have all heard this one before. Electric cars are silent, therefore they aren’t as fun as conventional cars. A manual transmission is a way better experience than any EV could ever give. The list goes on.
Driving an electric vehicle is a whole new experience compared with a conventional car. Sure, you will not hear a roaring V8 when you floor an EV, nor will you be able to change gears with a stick shift. You will, however, experience surreal power, instant torque in nearly total silence. It’s hard to compare EVs and gas-powered cars in terms of how fun they are, as the experience is completely different.