Top 12 Electric Vehicle Myths:
Electric car popularity is really seeing a surge - if you’ll excuse the pun. With more manufacturers offering their own battery-powered models, drivers have a whole lot of choice when it comes to picking an electric vehicle.
However, there are still some myths that circulate around the electric vehicle segment - and we’re here to find out the truth.
The age of the electric car is very much upon us. However, with cutting-edge tech packed into each vehicle, it can be tricky to understand how they work and what the benefits of owning one are.
1. You can’t boil the kettle while charging an electric car
A National Grid report warned last year that home networks might struggle to cope with high capacity car charging.
2. EVs are more expensive than petrol and diesel cars
While it’s generally true that the base price of an EV will be a bit more expensive, manufacturers make up for this by offering a generous specification so that once you’ve taken the government’s £4,500 zero-emission vehicle grant into account, they’re actually a pretty good deal, and that’s before you even look at the low running costs.
What’s more, as EV technology becomes more prevalent, R&D costs will be more evenly spread across manufacturer fleets, so the cost of EVs will come down – the new Nissan Leaf starts at £1,500 less than the old one.
3. They’re more likely to catch fire in a crash
Many people have concerns about crash safety with electric cars. It was 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”.
4. You can’t drive them in car washes or when it’s raining
Particularly in the early days of electric cars, many people thought that you couldn’t take them through automated car washes. That is, however, completely untrue - electric cars are perfectly safe to take through car washes.
So if you’re in a hurry and need to get your EV cleaned, don’t fear about taking them through.
5. Electric cars can’t go very far on a charge
It’s true that early EVs didn’t bring very much range from their batteries. However, as the technology behind them has ramped up, so has the distance that they can travel on a charge.
This isn’t just reserved for more expensive models, either, as even smaller cars like the Peugeot e-208 can return up to 217 miles from a single charge. It just means that longer journeys aren’t out of the question with an EV.
6. There’s nowhere to charge them
Fear of running out of electricity is known as ‘range anxiety’. Long trips do require a bit more planning as you can’t rely on charging points cropping up as regularly as fuel stations, 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
And charging doesn’t take as long as you might think, either. Rapid chargers can provide 80 per cent of charge in about 30 minutes.
7. The batteries don’t last very long
While it’s true that batteries have a finite life, most manufacturers allow you to lease the battery for a monthly fee and will replace it for free when needed. Others offer warranties to cover any unexpected replacements, with five- to eight-year cover the norm.
8. EVs are less environmentally friendly across their life cycle
It’s true that the high energy required to build an electric car can make it less environmentally friendly to produce than a traditionally fuelled car. However, once on the road, a Norwegian study quoted by the BBC estimates an EV is about 10 per cent better over its life cycle – and as the UK turns more towards eco-friendly energy production for the grid, that’ll continue to improve.
9. Battery disposal poses a huge environmental issue
Currently, it is estimated that just five per cent of lithium-ion batteries in the EU are recycled, with most hidden in consumer electronics. The EV boom has encouraged lateral thinking, with companies taking used EV batteries for use elsewhere, such as home energy storage.
10. They’re boring to drive
If the thought of an electric vehicle conjures up images of a milk float and mobility scooter, you need to get with the times! 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 can go from 0-60mph in less than three seconds – that puts it on a par with the new McLaren Senna supercar, with its petrol-powered twin-turbo V8.
Electric cars take ages to charge
If you plugged your new electric car into the home mains via a three-pin plug, it’s fair to say that it would take a long time. In fact, if you connected one of the bigger-battery EVs - like the Volkswagen ID.5, for example - it could take a few days to fully charge via this method
However, using the three-pin really isn’t advisable and isn’t recommended by manufacturers either. Instead, a home wallbox is preferred and charging this way would be enough to brim an EV overnight. Plus, the UK’s infrastructure is rapidly expanding, with some of the quickest chargers now able to deliver a 0-80 per cent top-up in under 30 minutes.
The National Grid doesn’t have enough power for all of the EVs on the road
According to the National Grid, the most demand for electricity in the UKwas 62GW in 2002. However, since then - and through various efficiencies and improvements in the system - the nation's peak demand has fallen by 16 per cent since then.
The National Grid believes that even if every EV was plugged in overnight at the same time, peak demand would only go up by about 10 per cent. This would mean the nation would still be using less energy than in 2002, putting it well within the grid’s manageable output.