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Common EV myths and barriers (plus some useful facts!)

In the process of developing any communication campaign it is important to consider any and all potential questions that may arise, and importantly provide a considered response. Our FAQs will help give confidence to answer questions that may be raised at events, presentations or over social media. But first, some interesting facts about the history of the electric vehicle:

  • The first electric production car was introduced in the 19th Century! The Baker Electric, produced by the Baker Motor Vehicle Company, was launched in 1899.
  • In 1900, 38% of all cars in the US were powered by electricity, only 22% were petrol powered (40% were steam driven).
  • Dr Ferdinand Porsche built his second car in 1904 which was a hybrid with 40 miles of electric range.
  • By 1912, there were 38,843 EVs on the road in the USA.

(information courtesy of cleantechnica)

Toyota bZ4X

EVs have limited driving range

Early EVs had limited range, however battery technology is developing all the time and most of the latest models offer over 250 or 300 miles on one full charge – or even more in some cases. Range will be affected by driving style and other factors such as temperature. Charging infrastructure is developing and expanding rapidly, with good coverage on motorways, however some more rural locations still have low numbers of chargers. There are a number of websites and apps that help with planning a journey in an EV.

Petrol and diesel cars are cheaper than EVs

EVs can be more expensive to buy than a petrol or diesel vehicle, but running an electric vehicle can offer savings of up to £100 per 1,000 miles depending on the vehicle and driving conditions. Servicing costs are significantly lower too, this can be a saving of around 10p per mile over an internal combustion engine vehicle.

EV battery ranges drop quickly

EV batteries, like those in other electronic devices do degrade over time. This won’t lead to loss of performance or cruising ability but could mean a loss of maximum range. We now have a wealth of data relating to the longevity of EV batteries, one study suggests that EVs could lose around 2.3% of range per year. This figure is based on older vehicles that don’t have the latest battery management technology, even so this would suggest a vehicle with a 150 mile range would lose around 17 miles of range over 5 years, enabling batteries to outlast the economic usable life of a vehicle: Do Electric Cars Lose Range Over Time? Here is the Data – The Plugin Report.

By using eco-driving techniques, drivers can further maximise the available range from their EV. The Energy Saving Trust offers a range of resources on eco-driving.

Car dealerships aren’t focused on EVs

The Electric Vehicle Approved scheme is a set of standards for all areas of automotive retail intended to recognise excellence in the EV sector. Individuals and fleets looking to purchase/lease EVs should look out for retailers that have achieved EVA recognitition to ensure they are receiving the best advice possible. There are an increasing number of independent specialists to support the growing secondhand market and servicing and maintenance requirements too, HEVRA membership ensures that independent garages are suitable qualified to service and repair EVs.

How do I charge an EV at home?

You will normally be offered a home chargepoint when you buy or lease a new EV. The only grant for home chargepoints at the current time is for landlords. If a home chargepoint isn’t arranged with your EV, there are many chargepoint suppliers with a range of products. If you don’t have off-street parking at your home, there is funding that local authorities can access to install on street charging facilities. You will need to lobby your local authority to do this, details of the scheme are here.

How do I charge an EV away from home?

The number of public charge points – the publicly accessible charge point network – is growing rapidly. Zap-Map is a useful source of information to check coverage in your area. There are some locally developed sources of information on publicly accessible charge points such as Electric Brighton.

Is ‘range anxiety’ really a problem?

Some older EV models have a range of 100 miles or less, so it is true that range can be a concern, however battery technology is improving all the time and most new EVs now coming to market offer over 250 or 300 miles of range.

In households with two cars, the first, or main, vehicle travels on average 37 miles per day, with the second vehicle travelling around 13 miles per day – so both cars could be EVs.

98% of all car journeys are under 50 miles which is well within the range of even the oldest EVs on the road today. Research from Delta-ee tells us that only 8% of charging is likely to happen at public charge points over the next decade, with most owners charging at home or at work.

Zap-Map offers a route planner via an app and its desktop site to help you ensure that longer journeys take you via public charge points – the information on the site is updated in real-time to give details of any issues with particular charge points.

Many manufacturers offer free recovery if you run out of charge.

Are EVs greener on a whole-life basis than petrol and diesel cars?

There are a number of reports about life cycle assessment of EVs compared to petrol and diesel cars. Find out more.

Are EV batteries reliable?

In short, yes. Most manufacturers are currently offering 8 year warranties on batteries, Nissan is offering 8 years or 100,000 miles, and Hyundai offers 8 years and 125,000 miles. They are also moving away from the battery leasing model of purchasing an EV. All EV batteries are made up of a series of cells which can be replaced as required.

Is the production of EV batteries sustainable?

Manufacturing and recycling of batteries is improving all the time. There are clear indications that the industry is committed to putting electric motoring on a sustainable and ethically clear road ahead. The Energy Saving Trust has produced a blog post on this subject.

The lifecycle impact of EVs and their components are still relatively small scale, however as they become the norm on the roads then we will of course need to ensure that any impacts are considered and mitigated.

EV batteries are modular and can be repaired so it is very rare that a battery needs to be replaced, often just individual cells can be swapped if needed. Once batteries are no longer viable for use in an EV they can be recycled for use as energy storage facilities which will help ensure the reliability of the energy grid as the take up of EVs and associate charging requirements increase.

Perhaps of bigger concern are the social impacts of battery production, particularly since there are concerns about the labour market and working conditions in many countries with resources of minerals such as lithium and cobalt. Any manufacturer purchasing these resources will need to be confident of the ethics involved and will need to ensure that supply chain ethics have been clarified.

EV top facts and figures

  • How many chargepoints are there in the UK? – This is rising almost daily, and there are now more chargepoints than petrol stations! Check out the stats page on Zap-Map for an accurate figure.
  • Myth Busting: ‘EVs cost around 2p per mile to run’ – This figure may not be fully accurate currently, primarily due to the fact that the costs for using public chargepoints have risen and there is a wide range of different tariffs and costs depending on charger type and operator. There are a number of price comparison sites that enable individuals to shop around for the best home energy tariff, with some now offering dedicated EV charging options. Charging at home is the cheapest option, unless free-to-use public charge points can be accessed.
  • How many EVs are there on the road in the UK? As of the end of February 2023 there were more than 690,000 battery-electric cars registered in the UK. More than 265,000 battery-electric cars were registered in 2022, a growth of 40% on 2021.

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