Debunking common EV myths and misconceptions

In the UK, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. As we turn our attention to EVs as a viable alternative to traditional ICE vehicles, we all have lots of questions and potentially some concerns. 

It’s tricky to find all the answers with so much information flying around, so in this article, we hope to shed some light on some of the most common EV myths and misconceptions.

Myth 1: Electric cars break down more than normal cars

There is no evidence to show that electric cars break down more often than ICE vehicles. Since electric cars actually have fewer moving parts, they also require less maintenance. According to a study from Cap HPI, via the AA, it can cost 23% less to maintain an electric car over three years. ¹

General parts like tyres, windscreen wipers and general paintwork need to be maintained all the same however you don’t have to worry about replacing parts like your clutch or topping up engine oil. Things like regenerative braking also help brake systems to last longer. The car’s battery will still need to be maintained in place of the engine but there are fewer elements to take care of. 

The AA’s president, Edmund King, says “There is a massive misconception; 99% of people in a survey of 15,000 exaggerated by quite a lot the number of EVs that would break down from running out of charge … it’s less than 4%, and 50% of them aren’t actually out of charge, they’re low on charge and maybe a little bit worried.”

He also added: “The biggest reason we’re being called out for EVs [breaking down] is exactly the same as for conventional cars.” ² 

Car breakdown in desert landscape

Myth 2: Electric vehicles don’t go very far on a single charge and charging takes too long 

The optimal balance between cost and range for an EV is between 200 and 300 miles. Most of us won’t need a range longer than this and most of us will need a pit stop anyway after the time it takes to driver a longer distance.

In the UK, the primary car in a family does an average of around 37 miles a day with any secondary car covering around 11 miles a day. 

If you’re concerned that you’ll be wasting time charging your EV on longer journeys, bear in mind that you’ll most likely be stopping anyway for 15-20 minutes at a service station, to grab a drink, use the toilet or fill up on petrol or diesel. That’s all the time you need to quickly recharge your EV using a rapid charger. ² 

You can read all about how to charge an EV and the different types of charging available here

Myth 3: EVs are slower than petrol and diesel cars

Take Formula E racing as an example of just how fast EVs can go. A Formula E racing car can go from 0-62mph in just 2.8 seconds – that’s fast than most Ferraris! They can also reach top speeds of 174mph (280kph) – that’s like travelling from London to Edinburgh in just over two hours!

Back to normal EVs, top speeds aren’t too different to any other cars but they do accelerate more quickly, so they can ‘feel’ faster. An ICE car will need to ‘rev up’ to reach maximum power and torque, whereas an EV will be able to get maximum torque from the minute the wheels start rolling.*

ICE vs EV performance
Graph showing EV vs ICE acceleration time. Source: caranddriver.com

Myth 4: EVs are charged using electricity created by burning fossil fuels, so it’s not emissions-free 

Electricity is increasingly being generated from renewable, green or clean energy sources. 

In 2010, the zero-carbon power in Britain’s electricity mix was less than 20%. In 2021, this has increased to almost 50%. As onshore and offshore wind farms continue to grow, and coal plants continue to shut down, transport is now the most polluting thing the UK does as a nation. 

With apps like WhenToPlugIn, new legislation and smart energy tariffs, it’s also becoming easier to maximise on cleaner energy when it’s available. Smart Chargers can also start or pause EV charging to ensure it’s using the cleanest and cheapest power. ² 

Outside of the UK, EVgo (the largest US public EV charging network) is the first EV charging operator to be powered by 100% renewable electricity. EVgo purchases certified renewable energy credits (RECs) to qualify the electricity distributed through their charging stations as 100% renewable energy. General Motors, Subaru, and Toyota have all entered into relationships with EVgo for preferred charging for their EVs. ³

 

Myth 5: EVs are really expensive 

For sure, EVs can quickly become expensive if you’re going for something flashy – just like any fuel or diesel car.  However, just like ICE vehicles, it’s entirely possible to find plenty of affordable options – the VW ID.3 for example, or the MG5

If you’re worried about running costs, you’ll find there are actually fewer costs involved with running an EV vs an ICE vehicle. A Nissan Leaf can cost as little as £5.60 to charge fully, and you’ll also save on road tax and congestion charges with any EV. 

Amid rising fuel costs, new analysis has shown that ICE drivers are being hit hardest. Research carried out by global vehicle charging specialist CTEK (based on average annual mileage of 10,000 miles) showed that EV drivers using home charging are now paying around £200 more for electricity to fuel their vehicles (vs two years ago), whereas petrol and diesel vehicle drivers are paying £435 and £484 more respectively.

This means that even with the recent increase in the energy price cap, the gap between cost of fuel of an ‘EV mile’ and a petrol mile has in fact increased by around 22% over the last two years – according to CTEK.  

Finally, with a major focus on reducing emissions, you’ll also find lots of financial incentives to switch to an EV. These include government grants available in the UK covering cars, vans and motorcycles. ⁴  

Fuel vs electricity costs 2022
2020 vs 2022 comparison of vehicle running costs (petrol & diesel vs electricity)

Myth 6: There aren’t enough public charging points

This is a very reasonable concern but you can rest assured that you’ll rarely be far from a public charging point. The UK now has over 43,000 charge point connectors and counting, including over 10,000 rapid charge point connectors – in 15,500 locations! That’s more public charging spaces than petrol stations.

EV infrastructure is growing rapidly and charging points are appearing just about everywhere: shops, supermarkets, car parks, workplaces and even in lampposts. 

For all available public charging spots, check out this map from carwow.co.uk. 

Myth 7: EV batteries have a short lifetime and get sent to landfill 

Most EV batteries come with an 8-year or 100,000-mile warranty from the manufacturer – and in reality, experts believe they can last a lot longer than this.

Once an EV battery can no longer be used, it will most likely be recycled rather than going to landfill. Technological advancements in processing centres mean that up to 90% of battery materials are able to be extracted for recycling or reuse.

On a larger scale, old EV batteries can be used to power manufacturing plants and streets. Electric vehicle manufacturers are also making significant investments to give car batteries another life in large-scale battery storage systems. 

Nissan for example is using old EV batteries to generate back-up power for the Amsterdam Arena – the entertainment centre and home to Ajax Football Club.  

Toyota is also planning to install old EV batteries outside convenience stores in Japan. These batteries will be used to store power generated from solar panels and then used to power drink fridges, food warmers and counters inside those stores.

Renault also recently announced that old EV batteries from the Renault ZOE will be used to generate power for the Powervault – a home energy battery storage system. And finally, Nissan has launched XStorage which uses Nissan Leaf car batteries as storage systems for homes and businesses. ² 

Amsterdam Arena
Amsterdam Arena

So there you have it – the most common EV myths, busted. If you’re not sure where to start, why not use our suitability tool to see if an EV could be for you?

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