Love them or hate them, electric vehicles are here to stay as many auto companies are promising to go full electric on their product lines by 2030 to 2035. The goal here is to bring up for discussion many common myths about electric vehicles as electricity provides just another choice of how to power one's vehicle today.
Today's options are gas, diesel, hydrogen, gas-electric hybrid and pure electric and if your 45 to 50 years old, these choices will likely be available for the rest of one's life or at least ones driving lifespan. Electric autos arrived in an era of already unprecedented choices when buying a vehicle and no one is going to force you to buy an electric vehicle here in the USA.
With the above stated comment, it is believed that if the average American drove an electric auto, they would like it. With that, lets dive into the myths about electric autos.
Myth: All electric autos feel the same when driving, the smooth, effortless feel of electric-powered auto's feel generic and removes any differentiators between brands and models.
Fact: All automakers have long used the same gasoline engines across their respective portfolio of model's tunning the motor/powertrain to a specific experience level of horsepower and torque and driving characteristics. Electric will be no different in that current EVs out all have been tuned for a distinct experience. Tesla, Audi, Porsche, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, etc. have all tuned their EVs and the sounds they emit at various speeds to have unique driving characteristics and sounds. Many reviews have stated the GMC Hummer drives, feels and sounds like a hummer, same for the Fords and Mercedes EVs as just some examples. Keep in mind that all EVs now employ people focused on the sound experience as much as the driving experience.
- Quote: With almost completely silent operation, EVs present a great canvas for sound design. For the GMC Hummer EV, we wanted to have an engaging and bold sound that exuberates confidence in capability. The truck's sonic identity is precise and powerful, a reflection of its size and torque. It is not overly refined in terms of the sounds we deployed but instead features dynamic distortion effects. With guitar riffs and layers of synthetic sounds, Hummer EV's purposeful modulation of sound helps create feeling of power and intensity. - Jay Kapadia, creative sound director
- Fact: All automakers have long used the same gasoline engines across their respective portfolio of model's tunning the motor/powertrain to a specific experience level of horsepower and torque and driving characteristics. Electric will be no different in that current EVs out all have been tuned for a distinct experience. Tesla, Audi, Porsche, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, etc. have all tuned their EVs and the sounds they emit at various speeds to have unique driving characteristics and sounds. Many reviews have stated the GMC Hummer drives, feels and sounds like a hummer, same for the Fords and Mercedes EVs as just some examples. Keep in mind that all EVs now employ people focused on the sound experience as much as the driving experience.
Myth: Performance cars need a rumbling gas engine.
Fact: New auto purchases are emotional; this is especially true with high-performance autos. Why are Dodge's Hellcat autos so popular? Because they make you feel and hear something. This has been true for more than a century, automobiles have been a visceral experience, yet not all visceral experiences are worth keeping. Does anyone miss wearing goggles because all the roads were dirt at one point? How about the prospect of cranking the auto to life with a large handle that could break your arm before electric starters got invented? Probably not. Once a consumer experiences an electric vehicle, they see how unrefined, noisy and crude gasoline powered autos are. Yes, there are buyers that feel and like the crude and unrefined ice autos, but as the population moves forward, they will become a smaller and smaller subset of the larger auto-buying audience. Electric autos can beat or match the stats of gasoline-powered vehicles regardless of the seat-of-the-pants experience.
- 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid: 0-60 mph in 2 seconds
- 2022 Lucid Air Dream Performance: 0-60 in 2.5 seconds
- 2022 Porsche Taycan Turbo S: 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds
- Ferrari SF90 Stradale Assetto Fiorano: 0-60 mph 2.1 seconds
- Porsche 911 Turbo S: 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds
- Fact: New auto purchases are emotional; this is especially true with high-performance autos. Why are Dodge's Hellcat autos so popular? Because they make you feel and hear something. This has been true for more than a century, automobiles have been a visceral experience, yet not all visceral experiences are worth keeping. Does anyone miss wearing goggles because all the roads were dirt at one point? How about the prospect of cranking the auto to life with a large handle that could break your arm before electric starters got invented? Probably not. Once a consumer experiences an electric vehicle, they see how unrefined, noisy and crude gasoline powered autos are. Yes, there are buyers that feel and like the crude and unrefined ice autos, but as the population moves forward, they will become a smaller and smaller subset of the larger auto-buying audience. Electric autos can beat or match the stats of gasoline-powered vehicles regardless of the seat-of-the-pants experience.
These are just a few examples of six figure autos from both EV and ICE and as one can see, there is really not much difference in performance time. Even if you move into the mid-priced EVs being $40,000 and up, you get the Kia EV6 that sprints 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds while the Kia Stinger GT gets there in 4.7 seconds.
Myth: All electric autos look ugly
- 5 years ago, one could easily say this was true that at one-point EVs were ugly as many were compliance EVs to really only be sold in select states. Today, just look at the 2023 Genesis GV60, a beautiful auto regardless of how it is powered. We now have many amazing EVs from Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Rivian, Porsche, VW, Ford and GM with much, much more to come over the next 24 to 36 months. Another reason we will continue to see improved EV style is that the designers of the electric autos envision the vehicles separately from gas-powered vehicles. They are more than just a gas-powered auto converted to run on a battery pack.
Myth: Electric autos cost too much
- Tesla models tend to average over $60,000 even though Tesla has promised a low cost version that has yet to be delivered, many other options are available such as the Nissan Leaf with a starting price of $27,400 and the Chevrolet Bolt with a starting price of $31,500. While it is true that electric vehicles can be pricey, there are many more EVs planned to hit the market over the coming 18 months that will start with lower prices such as the Chevrolet Equinox that is supposed to have a $30,000 starting price, we just now are seeing the VW ID.4 that is nicely equipped crossover with a starting price of $41,230. Also for many there is the federal governments $7,500 tax credit.
Myth: There is no place to charge electric autos.
- This is somewhat true depending on where one lives. The energy.gov web site has now a better locator and has updated to filter out places that one cannot charge like a police department inside their locked down auto storage area. As such, currently there are 48,047 electric stations with a total port count of 119,353 charging port connectors. There is even more when you take into account private for-profit charging locations. Compared to 115,400 gas stations according to the American Petroleum Institute with an average of 8 pumps per station or 923,200 pumps. Yet over 80% of EV owners report charging at home or work as the most common place for charging an auto and the current US Government has approved $5 billion dollars to be spent over the next 5 years to expand the U.S. network of chargers.
Myth: Electric autos are unreliable
- The scary story myth of electric autos being unreliable can be stopped with the facts. Nissan Leaf debuted in the U.S. market in 2010 and has millions of miles of proof as does Tesla and GM. In fact, J.D. Powers has named the Nissan Leaf the most dependable auto in the compact auto segment for 2020 and Nissan U.S. Aditya Jairaj has confirmed to the press that since the first Nissan Leaf sold in 2010, owners have seen the financial benefits of trading gas for electricity and the significant less routine maintenance as well as the fact that the Leaf is more reliable than any of the ICE autos Nissan makes.
Myth: Warranties on EVs are worse than on ICE autos.
- Fact: Excluding the Korean Hyundai and Kia that has had 10 year / 100,000 mile warranties the average ice auto has had from 36 to 60 months or 36,000 to 72,000 mile warranties where as electric autos have pretty much had 8 years or 100,000 miles on the battery pack / drive train with a 36/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. This means that buying a CPO or certified pre-owned auto means you still will have many years of life left with warranty something most ICE autos do not get.
Myth: EV batteries are not Green to dispose of
- Fact: Currently 90% of Lithium-ion EV batteries are recycled and just because a battery has lost 20 to 30% of capacity does not mean that battery pack does not have another life in some other use. GM and Nissan have both moved to using existing battery packs that had cell failures as storage packs for storage systems that are being sold for home and business solar PV systems. GM currently only sells the storage systems in the commercial space but Nissan has their home Xstorage system that uses Nissan Leaf battery packs and Renault is currently using their battery packs in their Powervaults system that is also being sold to both home and commercial customers. Currently after a 8 to 10 year life run in an EV, the battery packs are able to be used for another 10 years in these solar storage systems. Another area that these large battery packs are finding a second life in is use in a mobile home, camper or boat where the use is only a few months a year and the battery life is extended even longer. As the auto industry moves to solid-state, the long life of battery packs makes them even greener for the various uses as well as the ease of recycling.
Myth: EVs put too much strain on the National Grid. The current story out there is that when people get home from work and plug in their auto around 6pm or so every day during the work week, this will cause a strain on the National Grid and will cause the system to collapse.
- An example of how this is not true is one that was pointed out in the U.K. where they have 36.7 million autos on the roads and that those autos consume 75 TWh per year of electricity. Current electrical demand is 300 TWh per year so if nothing was done by the electrical companies this would only be a 25% increase in power demand. Yet many people are given discounts for charging during the night when folks are asleep and power demand is at it lowest. As such, coming home from work and plugging in at 6pm would not actually start charging as most chargers have programming to charging in off peak hours unless one overrides the charger to start charging right away. This can also be managed via ones smart phone app.
Myth: Charging takes too long and is too much of a hassle. Home charging can take up to 12hrs, so it is not practical for the average auto user.
- Depending on the size of one's auto battery pack, charging can take from 30 minutes to hours depending on the type of charge port used. Most home chargers are a level II charger but even if one uses only a 110V outlet to charge their auto, charging ones auto overnight is no different than charging one's cellphone and is as easy as plugging in the auto when you arrive home. Yet even this is going to get easier as many 3rd party companies are building wireless charging pads that can be used outside in any weather or inside and all one would do is drive over the pad to allow charging to begin. Faster yet is that at charging stations and work locations one can find fast DC chargers that reduce the charge time to as little as 30 minutes or while you enjoy a lunch break. Future solid-state battery packs will reduce charge times to the equal point with gas filling being only a mere 10 minutes or so.
Myth: Installing a charging point at my home is going to be really expensive.
- Fact: Depending on where one lives, this can be a cost of a few thousand dollars or as cheap as free as federal, state, county and cities all have various programs as do the electrical supply companies. On top of this, many states have now made it a requirement for new homes, townhomes, condos and even apartments to have charging locations or at least a 220V charge outlet in the garage allowing one to use the charging cord that came with their auto to easily charge their EV. Currently both Ford and GM are including charging ports installed at ones home up to $1,500 to $2,000 dollars to cover the bulk of the cost if not all of it.
Myth: EVs are unreliable in the winter. Lithium batteries in phones and other gadgets struggle in cold temperatures, so it stands to reason tht EVs will too as they use a similar type of battery cell.
- Extreme temperatures impact gas and diesel autos as well as electric vehicles as they all have reduced efficiency. However as has been learned from the early days of the Nissan Leaf and Tesla auto, better ways of protecting the battery pack or warming up the battery pack while plugged in to be charged via thermal management system controlled by inside the auto or an app on your smartphone keeping the EV at the optimum temperature, meaning your ready to go and so is the vehicle; a ready-defrosted car that is parked outside without you even having to step outside.
Myth: Your electrical bill will skyrocket if you charge your EV at home.
- There is no denying that as you use more electricity, your electric bill will go up. This is a trade-off when one changes from a gas-powered auto to an electric auto. However the trade-off is the money saved as electric rates are much cheaper than gas rates. An example of this is that a Nissan Leaf driven 150 plus miles would be looking at a cost of less than $1 dollar in the PNW area around Seattle compared to the $15 to $20 dollars in gas. Charging at night during the off peak charge period makes driving an electric auto as cheap as pennies per mile. If you have a house with a solar system or solar system with power storage system, this could get to being free for you.
Myth: My local trusted mechanic will not be able to work on my EV, only the expensive dealership mechanic will be able to work on my EV.
- At this time, the ASE or Automotive Service Excellence program that both dealership and independent mechanics go through has EV certification programs that can be taken. Daily more and more mechanics are getting certified to work on electric autos and as more come to market, more mechanics will keep themselves trained allowing for plenty of choices. Yearly the ASE program has stated that thousands of mechanics are getting upskilled with EV training as well as thousands of new specialist mechanics and technicians are graduating with training on electric vehicles.
Even the EPA has created a web site dedicated to debunking Electric Vehicle Myths: Electric Vehicle Myths | US EPA
Here the EPA points to many studies done by independent groups as well as colleges to help clarify the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about EVs.
Electric is the future and a bright one at that and yet we will have decades of options for those that want an ICE auto but more choices over the coming months as those that want more with less maintenance will have choices of electric autos to choose from.