Busting EV Myths: Top 5 Myths

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Electric Cars: The Basics

For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

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Debunking The Myths

Modern electric cars have come a long way over the past decade, with electric driving fast becoming mainstream in a number of countries, to include the UK. Though consumers have gained a better understanding of electric vehicles (EVs) over the recent past, it is always helpful to correct some prevailing (and historical) misconceptions, so that consumers are better informed about the benefits and ease of owning an electric car. Below are just some of the key misconceptions, but by no means, is this list exhaustive. For those of you new to electric driving, we encourage you to take the time to read the e-zoomed Electric Living Blog. It is a good first step in gaining more knowledge about EVs.

Route map john o groats to lands end
Route Map: John o’ Groats to Land’s End

EV Myths: Top 5 Misconceptions
Range anxiety:This is certainly the most perpetuated myth. It might lead you to think that most drivers in the UK intend to travel several hundred miles a day! This is certainly not the case. In fact, the average commute in the UK is a mere 12 miles and 99% of car journeys in the UK are under 100 miles. EV e-range has come a long way since the first-generation all-electric Nissan Leaf. In the e-zoomed list for the Longest Range Electric Cars 2023, the Mercedes-Benz EQS saloon tops the list, with a WLTP emission-free electric range up to 453 miles on a single charge. In fact, all electric cars on the list have a claimed EV range (WLTP) over 350 miles. Even-adjusting for real-world driving conditions, the e-range is more than ample for most driving needs. Even for those infrequent long distance journeys, electric cars today can comfortably meet the need. As an example, if you travel from John o’ Groats (Scotland) to Land’s End (Cornwall), a distance just under 840 miles, in a Mercedes-Benz EQS, the battery will need to be charged only 3 times. Which is not terrible, given that in a commute of up to 15 hours, you will, in any case, need to stop a few times. But of course, most of our day-to-day needs don’t involve a 840 miles journey! In fact, the most common daily trips are usually short journeys: school runs, work commute, local grocery store, local gym etc. In the latest-generation of pure electric cars, also referred to as battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), the average onboard EV battery size is 60 kWh. In some cases even larger than 100 kWh. Most EVs with a 60 kWh onboard EV battery should be able to deliver a real-world electric range close to 200 miles. There are some electric cars, like the all-electric Honda e, the all-electric Fiat 500e, that have been designed and developed to meet the needs of the urban driver i.e. those drivers that travel much shorter distances. As an example, the Honda e has a 35.5 kWh onboard EV battery with a range up to 137 miles, which is more than sufficient for an urban driver. Bottom-line, for most of us, electric cars are now a practical transportation solution and range anxiety has very much been discarded to history!
Limited public charging points:Closely related to range anxiety, is the concern of limited public electric car charging points. Though much has been said about a lack of public EV charging stations in the UK, it is worth noting that the majority of electric car charging sessions are done at home, usually overnight (up to 80%). Moreover, public EV charging infrastructure (rapid DC charging and AC charging), has increased significantly over the past 3 years. According to zap-map, as of end February 2023, there are 23,066 public EV charging locations in the UK (devices: 38,982). It is also worth noting that the latest pure electric cars now offer higher DC charging capability, with most EVs incorporating between 100 kW DC to 200 kW DC charging capability, as standard. At 100 kW DC, most electric cars can be charged up to 80% in 30 minutes!
Electric cars are more expensive than internal combustion engine (ICE) petrol and diesel cars:Though the sticker price for an electric car maybe higher compared to a conventional ICE petrol or diesel car, the retail price in isolation, is not an accurate measure of the cost of owning a car. In fact, the most appropriate measure for assessing the cost of vehicle ownership, includes all costs (acquisition, repair, maintenance, driving costs per mile and more) i.e. the life-cycle cost of owning a specific vehicle. Without an iota of doubt, pure electric cars are cheaper compared to ICE cars on a life-cycle basis. As an example, a petrol car could have up to 30,000 components if you count every bolt, screw etc. Some of these parts include: the engine block, pistons and valves for the combustion engine, carburettor, fuel injection, fuel pumps and fuel filters for the fuel system, timing belt, cylinder head gasket etc. None of these components are required for a pure electric car. In fact, an-all electric car also has significantly fewer moving parts, compared to a petrol car. An average petrol car has 200 moving parts, while an electric car (EV) has up to 25 moving parts. Bottom-line, the fewer the moving parts, the lower the level of vehicle maintenance. Even driving costs per mile for electric driving is far cheaper compared to petrol or diesel cars. An average cost per mile is between 5 pence and 10 pence for an electric car, whilst a petrol car is over 20 pence per mile!
Electric cars are not greener compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) petrol or diesel cars:Pure electric cars are also referred to as environmentally-friendly cars, green cars, zero-tailpipe emission cars. And it is for good reason! Battery-electric cars have far better environmental credentials compared to petrol and diesel cars. In fact, a pure electric car has only 1/3rd of the lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of an equivalent petrol car, to include battery production and disposal. Moreover, many used EV batteries are now being re-used for residential and commercial energy storage. An electric car charged with green and renewable energy, like solar PV or wind turbines, offers ‘well-to-wheel’ zero-tailpipe emissions. Petrol or diesel vehicles cannot offer zero-tailpipe emissions. Bottom-line, across a number of key factors, electric cars are greener and better compared to petrol or diesel cars.
The National Grid will be unable to cope with the increased electricity demand for charging electric cars?The UK National Grid have been very clear on their ability to cope with increased demand from electric cars. In fact, the National Grid is unequivocal in its position related to electric cars. The grid can cope with the migration to electric driving, in terms of both, electricity supply and grid infrastructure stability. Moreover, the National Grid has also pointed out that the migration to electric cars is a gradual process and not an overnight shift, making its ability to manage the ongoing change, feasible. In regards to ‘will there be enough electricity’, it is worth noting that in the UK (like in many other countries), many households and businesses are generating and consuming electricity on-site. Put another way, many homes and business premises have installed, either solar PV or wind generation on-site, combined with battery storage. We can expect this shift towards a more decentralised ‘electricity generation- electricity consumption’ model to continue to increase in deployment, as consumers take advantage of the significant financial and environmental advantages of on-site renewable energy generation. Moreover, we can also expect the surplus power from these renewable energy systems to feed back to the National Grid in times of peak demand, further enhancing grid stability.

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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