Electric cars - busting the myths on the road to a cleaner tomorrow

woman charging vehicle in street
Posted 25/09/2019 by E.ON

The growing availability, usage and affordability of electric vehicles mean we all need to think differently about owning and driving a car. But many misconceptions exist, so we lift the bonnet on some of the main EV myths and take a look underneath...

Electric cars don't go that far

How far you can travel on a full charge depends on a number of factors. The first is the size of the battery, which is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). The larger the number, the bigger the battery, the longer the range. 

Many EVs are being supplied with around 40kWh batteries, which translate to around 160-170 miles. Cars with 64kWh batteries can theoretically cover over 250 miles, while Teslas with 100 kWh batteries can go over 300 miles. However, the faster you go (over about 55-60mph), the lower the range will be.

But as new EV models come on to the market, with longer ranges, the 'range anxiety' that prevents many drivers from buying an electric car will soon be a thing of the past.

man charging vehicle outside home

EVs cost more to run than petrol/diesel cars

EV charging is much cheaper than buying fuel – especially if you use a home charger, which costs around 12-15p per kWh of electricity. For example, a Volkswagen e-Golf with a 35.8kWh battery will cost about £4.30 to charge - although tariffs that allow EV drivers to charge overnight at a cheaper rate are also available, along with special tariffs such as our Fix and Drive tariff. Public chargers cost around 30p per kWh, so charging the e-Golf will mean paying around £10.74. 

The e-Golf has a real-world 120-mile range, so the cost per mile is 3.5p (home) or 9p (public). The equivalent 1.5-litre petrol Golf has a 500-mile range and costs at least 14p per mile (depending on what mpg you get out of your car), while even a diesel will be 11p a mile if you're a frugal driver.

Home chargers take a long time to charge

How long it takes to charge your car at home depends on a car's battery capacity (expressed in kilowatt hours, or kWh), plus the speed of your charger.

A 3.7kW charger will charge a Volkswagen e-Golf in around 9 hours and 40 minutes, while a Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid will take just two hour s and 48 minutes.

If you have a faster 7kW charger, such as one of our home chargers, a Hyundai Kona (with a bigger 64kWh battery) takes just over nine hours. A plug-in hybrid Kia Niro, with an 8.9kWh battery, will take just under an hour-and-a-quarter to charge.

car charging up in garage

There aren't enough public chargers

The number of public chargers is increasing rapidly. As of early August 2019, there are 14,653 devices, across 9,236 locations. In the last 30 days, 365 new devices have gone online. More are being added every week. And they’re getting quicker to use too – our first ultra-fast charging station in the UK opened recently in Birmingham and can add around 100 miles to an EV battery’s range in just ten minutes.

With 246,700 miles of road, in the UK, you should find a charging device every 16.8 miles, on average.

EVs cost more to repair and maintain

EVs have a battery pack and an electric motor (sometimes two). That's it. No complex internal combustion engine with all its moving parts. 

There's less to go wrong with an EV, so it's cheaper to repair and maintain. There are no oil or air filters to change; no engine oil that needs to be topped up and changed; no head gaskets to blow; and no cam belts to be replaced. Most of the mechanical parts that need maintaining and servicing just aren't there.

This also makes used EVs a good buy, as there are fewer reliability issues to consider. A recent survey found that the Nissan Leaf had 99.7% rating, with only bodywork issues blotting its copybook.

The batteries don't last long

Mainstream electric cars have been around for almost a decade, so we're starting to see how batteries are performing after a few years of regular use. 

The feedback is positive, with reports suggesting that even taxis that have gone way beyond the eight-year/100,000-mile mark (which is all that manufacturer battery warranties cover), there's little loss of battery life. 

EVs aren't really that much greener

EVs have no tailpipe emissions, so no carbon dioxide (CO2) to contribute to global warming and no other emissions such as NOx (nitrogen oxides) and particulate material that damage air quality. 

EVs aren't perfect – the metals used to make batteries that have to be mined, for example – but the overall environmental damage of an electric car compared to one with a combustion engine, from manufacture to the end of its life, is far, far less.

Electric cars are now a much cleaner option to conventional petrol and diesel cars and, as battery technology improves and more models are available to buy, they are now a realistic option for car buyers. 

Home charging is also now so cheap and convenient, making owning an EV a no-brainer.

Want more information before taking the leap? Read more of our blog posts on electric vehicles.

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