Features

10 Myths About EVs

1. They’re not as green as people claim.

Wrong. EVs produce 65% less green house gases than normal cars and while the power stations that make the electricity aren’t exactly clean - its all about tailpipe emissions. EVs are genuinely zero emission and can help clean up city air that’s full of diesel particulates. Getting hung up about how much Co2 they generate in their manufacture misses the point – we want cleaner air on our streets.

2. They’re slow and no fun.

Wrong. Even an electric Golf is as quick to 40 mph as a petrol-powered GTi. Instant torque from a standstill means they’re very lively indeed.  The BMW i3 can hit 60 mph faster than a Jaguar E type.  And the Tesla P90D can scorch to sixty in just 2.8 seconds and hit 155 mph.  They run out of puff at higher speeds but most can do at least 90mph – more than enough to get you into trouble.

3. You need to live close to a charging point

Wrong. You can charge from a normal three-pin plug at home and also have a faster charging wall box fitted.  There are rapid chargers that top up to 80% in 30 mins and lots of on-street chargers too with the 10,000 strong charging network expanding all the time. If you live in a flat or terraced house that’s a bit more difficult but if you have a parking space in front of your home its as easy as charging your iPad or phone.  Most owners report using public-charging points very rarely and normally plug in at home.

4. The batteries don’t last

Wrong. All the data Route Monkey sees (and they have access to thousands of EVs) shows very little long-term deterioration of battery efficiency.  Some taxi firms have taken Nissan Leafs to 100k miles and they still have 98% battery life. All the evidence so far points to a longer battery life cycle than initially expected and a life expectancy on a par with petrol and diesel engines. Some EVs have 8-year 100,000 battery warranties too. All those millions of Toyota Prius owners haven’t reported any problems with their batteries either.  

5. They’re expensive.

Wrong. Prices have come down a lot recently with some EVs and Plug in Hybrids costing the same as their petrol or diesel counterparts.  Factor in the government plug in grant and up to £2,500 savings a year in maintenance, road tax, fuel and tax breaks if you’re a company car driver, and they’re much cheaper overall than you think. And if you buy a used EV the savings are even greater. Run a £5k used Renault Zoe for a couple of years and the fuel savings alone will almost pay for the car.  

6. They’ll never catch on

Wrong. There are now over 80,000 EVs and PHEVs on UK roads and since 2012 65,000 buyers have taken advantage of the government’s Plug in Grant. There’s been a 45% rise in registrations over the last year and so far Nissan has sold 12,500 of its best-selling Leaf and Mitsubishi 20,000 Outlander PHEVs. The UK government wants 9% of all cars registered to be low EV or PHEV by 2020 and all the major carmakers are working hard on their EV and PHEV ranges. If BMW, VW, Toyota and Mercedes are rolling out electric and hybrid cars you know the writing is on the wall.

7. They’re not safe

Wrong. Apart from a couple of fires with early Teslas there’s no data to suggest EVs are any less safe than conventional cars. All have NCAP crash testing ratings and all have been officially certified as crash resistant. The catching fire myth is exactly that – a myth. When you think of the hundreds of million charge cycles performed by EV owners over the last five years we would have heard if there were any safety issues long ago.

8. Hydrogen cars will come soon

Wrong. Hydrogen and fuel cell cars are definitely the long-term future but they’re still years away and likely to be very expensive in the medium term. A hydrogen fuelling infrastructure will take a very long time indeed to establish and the cost of hydrogen might never be as cheap as electricity. Fuel cell cars are coming, but don’t hold your breath.  

9. They’re complicated to maintain

Wrong. The last service we paid for on an EV was £48! Most carmakers offer five year servicing packages on EVs for as little as £375. Think about it: no engine oil, spark plugs, air filters, pistons, valves and camshafts. The lack of moving parts means there’s little need to replace consumables like on normal cars. Even the brakes don’t wear out so quickly because they’re regenerative and don’t get used as much.

10. The battery range is rubbish

Wrong. Most EVs will now comfortably do 90 miles of real-life driving between charges and some – like the new Renault Zoe - now have 250-mile ranges. Tesla’s Model S has been widely proven to do over 250 miles to one charge. Battery research is improving performance all the time and the 200-mile range for every EV on a single charge isn’t that far away.