In February we took delivery of our first electric car and since then we’ve heard many amusing assumptions and comments about EV ownership. Today’s post is going to dispel some common myths about EVs!
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Common Myths About EVs
EVs are cost prohibitive.
While high-end models like Tesla and Lucid get a lot of press coverage, many EVs are available at a more reasonable cost. For instance, the Hyundai Kona, Chevy Bolt, Mazda MX-30, Mini Cooper SE, and Nissan Leaf all price out at below $35,000. Certainly on par with pricing for new gasoline-powered cars. And this is before factoring in the $7,500 tax credit currently available.
Additionally, you should factor in maintenance and ownership costs. With EVs you have limited to no dealer service intervals, no oil changes, and less wear & tear on brakes due to regenerative technologies. And don’t forget, home charging is less than 20% of the cost of gas!
What if you get stuck in a traffic jam or snowstorm?
This is easily the silliest of the concerns we’ve heard from people. Unlike gasoline-fueled cars, with an e-vehicle, every time you leave the house, your car is completely “full”. The risk of draining all your battery in a traffic jam is negligible.
Consider also that EV HVAC controls use much less battery than the drive motor. In fact, EVs can run AC/heat ~30% longer than an idling gas car. Plus there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from idling. A typical gas engine burns a 1/2 gallon of gas per hour (15-gallon tank = 30 hours). For comparison, our EV will run the HVAC for 45 hours on a single charge.
Just as you shouldn’t drive around in winter with a tenth of a tank of gas, you shouldn’t drive an EV with only a few miles left on your range. Use the exact same precautions you would use in a traditional auto.
It’s really hard to find charging stations.
This used to be the case but is not so any longer. People have three methods of charging available to them:
- Charge at home.
- Use an EVGo charging station. These are charge stations that can be used by any brand of e-vehicle. Because most of these stations were developed as part of the Volkswagon lawsuit settlement, not all have been adequately maintained and there have been issues with EVGo charger failures, making the usable number of spots less than the stated number.
- Use a Tesla charging station. Currently, Tesla stations can only be used by Tesla vehicles but that will be changing soon.
There are currently 21,000 DC public fast charging stations in the US, growing by 25% each year (likely faster with the new Infrastructure bill investments). An additional 92,000 Level 2 public charging stations are available nationwide. While they’re not as fast as DC chargers, they do offer a similar charge rate as 220v home charging.
Charging stations are now commonly found at hotels along major highway routes, etc. On a family road trip, it is quick and easy to charge your car via super-charger in the time that you stop for a bathroom break and snack.
Replacement batteries are very expensive.
This can be true. Depending on the make/model of EV, a replacement battery can run anywhere from $2500 to nearly $20,000. However, virtually all models are warranted for 8 years or 100,000 miles. At that age/mileage, think about all the mechanical repairs a traditional gasoline car would need. Not to mention the ongoing maintenance costs you’ve spent along the way.
Battery life varies upon manufacturer but a Tesla battery is designed for 300,000 plus miles. Realistically, are there that many people who keep their cars this long? Lastly, 3rd party companies are now starting to manufacture replacement batteries at a much lower cost.
When looking at the big picture, I don’t see this as a credible drawback.
EVs aren’t actually better for the environment.
While manufacturing emissions are higher for EVs, overall emissions are typically far less. Tailpipe emissions produced by gas-fueled cars (yellow bar below) dramatically increase lifelong greenhouse gas output when compared to the equivalent total life of electric vehicles. As renewable energy (wind, solar) becomes more commonplace, electric will become an even more attractive choice than it is today.
Considerations When Buying an Electric Car
Electric isn’t going to be the right choice for everybody. A few things to consider before making the switch include:
- Your ability to install a home charger. If you rent or live in another space that will not accommodate home charging, an EV won’t be the best choice for you. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure your electric panel can handle the installation of a car charger. If the panel needs to be upgraded, it will significantly increase your costs.
- Your lifestyle. The driving range for individual models varies tremendously but the median is about 250 miles. If your day-to-day routine involves consistently driving over this amount, you may want to reconsider electric or limit your search to higher-range models.
- Your climate. If you live in a severe winter climate your winter range can decrease by as much as 25%. The temperature drain starts at about 32°F and is more pronounced the colder the temp. Combined with your typical daily range, this may or may not have a significant effect on your decision.
We’ve really enjoyed our EV so far! Our model has a range of 400 miles (we’ve never come close to maxing it) and charging it from empty to full costs about $8. It was wonderful not to have to pump gas in the cold, winter months and oil changes are a thing of the past.
The ride is super quiet, with no engine vibration or exterior noise. And this car is fast! Faster acceleration times and overall speeds than a high-end sports car, like a Porsche or a Corvette.
We also enjoy how the temperature is so stable. We had several weeks of insanely hot, humid temperatures this summer but the car always remained cool with the Cabin Overheat Protection feature. Even if you forget to use that mode, the car heats and cools in just seconds, unlike a traditional gas-powered vehicle.
It does offer a different driving experience that can take some acclimation. For instance, when you take your foot off the accelerator, the car slows very rapidly, unlike the slower deceleration with a gas pedal.
Also, as there is no need to turn off the car when you park, I’ve become accustomed to just jumping out and getting on my way. All fine and dandy until I’m driving one of our gas vehicles again. Oops.
Have you made a move toward electric yet? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
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