Complex Made Simple

6 myths about electric vehicles debunked

To this day, many myths continue to hold back the future of electric vehicles, which are expected to make up 57% of all passenger car sales worldwide by 2040.

At the moment, however, EV purchases represent only a fraction of total automotive purchases around the world The general public is slowly learning about the benefits of EVs, and the overall consensus is improving Still, many myths abound, and it is important that we dispel them

A lot has been said about electric vehicles (EVs) in the past few years – a large part of it negative and distrusting. It’s only human to be afraid of the unknown, after all, especially when it comes to technology we’ve been using to travel for over 100 years. Still, the electric vehicle industry has developed leaps and bounds in the past decade or so, rightfully addressing most concerns its harshest critics have shared. 

To this day, many myths continue to hold back the future of these vehicles, which are expected to make up 57% of all passenger car sales worldwide by 2040, according to a 2019 report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Let us look at 6 of these myths and see if there’s any merit to them. Note, however, that we will be addressing fully electric Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) for the most part.

1. Electric vehicles don’t have range

A common complaint I’ve personally heard over the years is that electric vehicles just don’t have the range that gas-powered vehicles do, making them suitable for short trips within city bounds as opposed to road trips, for example. While the range for many electric vehicles has risen exponentially, it still has some catching up to do with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Still, when your run-of-the-mill BEV is boasting an average range of 181 miles (291 km) that costs a fraction of what you’d pay for topping up an ICE car, what’s not to love? This average range is also more than sufficient for the average commuter.

And that’s just the average. Many of the vehicles on the market can make it over the 200-mile (322 km) mark in one full charge, while plenty of high-end models easily pass the 300 km mark, like the Long Range version of the Tesla Model S.

MY = Model year. Graph: Statista

2. Electric vehicles are more expensive than gas-powered vehicles 

Another point of debate for critics is that EVs are significantly pricier than ICE vehicles. 

While the novelty of the technology warrants that it will cost a premium, the price of batteries, often the most expensive component of e-cars, has been dropped significantly over the past 10 years. EVs too have seen their price drop to a more reasonable level. With growing innovation in the sector, prices are only expected to drop going forward.

Furthermore, customers should see EVs as a long-term investment, the financial savings of which they’ll only reap in the long-run. 

“In a nutshell, the longer an e-car is on the road, the better its cost impact,” BMW explains. “[Our] latest calculations show that an electric car is financially superior to a combustion-engine vehicle from a mileage of 60,000 to 100,000 miles. This includes purchase, maintenance and operation. Once this point is reached, the expense of producing the electric vehicle battery is offset. But even before reaching 60,000 miles, the positive financial aspects will outweigh the negative in the future as the production of electric cars increases and production costs fall.”

With fewer moving parts, BEV owners need not worry about routine maintenance like changing oil and frequent costly repairs. 

Electric Vehicles 101: Understanding the 3 basic types

3. Electric vehicles aren’t as stylish or luxurious as high-class gas-powered vehicles, nor as powerful

This could be true if we’re talking about early 2000s e-cars. Maybe. Fast-forward to 2018, and the affordable Tesla Model 3 is the number one best-selling luxury car in the US

We drove the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Volvo CXC90 SUV and were impressed both by their performance and luxurious, modern feel, particularly on the higher-end Volvo. E-cars today are increasingly developed for a mainstream audience, meaning luxury and style are top priorities on the same level as range, power and performance.

As for power, EVs can go toe to toe with the fastest of them. Given that e-cars can generate immediate torque without the engine needing to ramp up to a certain internal rotary speed, electric cars can often be very powerful, especially if the car was designed to be high performance.

4. The infrastructure needed to support EV usage is nonexistent

In the developed world, most countries are heavily investing in EV infrastructure. In the Middle East, some countries like the UAE have shown serious effort into installing the required infrastructure. This is a niche case, however, and a large part of the Middle East remains unprepared to host large fleets of e-cars. 

There has been some progress, however, with the region seeing its first-ever e-MotorShow in Beirut, Lebanon last year, showing that interest has been growing. Some big-name manufacturers were present at the event, including BMW, Chevrolet, Volvo, Audi and others, ready to support EV adoption in the region. 

Given the short distances people in the Middle East often travel, it is also possible to circumvent this whole issue by installing a charger at home, which in the long-run proves much more affordable than what you’d put towards regular gas top ups. 

AMEinfo Exclusive: Do you know what car brands think of electric vehicles?

5. It takes too long to charge an electric vehicle

Speaking of charging vehicles, skeptics often state that it takes too long to top up a car’s battery. With the available technology, it is possible to charge an e-car in as much as a few hours or as little as a dozen or so minutes. This depends on the type of charger being used, the available voltage, and often the vehicle itself. 

Given that most trips are short – often less than 40 miles – one can charge their car partially at a roadside station enough to get them through the day. After all, studies have shown that as much as 95% of electric vehicle charging is done at home or at work. Overnight charging at home is often the cheapest and most convenient option when topping up your plug-in car.

6. Electric vehicles are powered by electricity generators, and therefore don’t really help reduce pollution
While EVs themselves don’t produce any pollution in the form of CO2 emissions, the electricity needed to power them can come from polluting power plants that burn fossil fuels to generate said power. Even in this scenario, studies have shown that in the long-run, EVs will lead to less emissions than an ICE car

While the Middle East still relies on fossil fuel burning for most of its electricity, we are seeing some countries and cities take the initiative to go green. In a region saturated with sunlight, countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been investing heavily in solar energy plants. Saudi Arabia alone had announced in 2012 that it planned to invest $109 billion in solar power alone.

As such, EVs can be completely emissions-free, if the power used to charge them is produced from renewable sources.