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21.05.2020 | 3 minutes

Electric vehicles: The five most common misconceptions and the truth

There are some misconceptions about electric vehicles. But we shall soon see: Most of them are unfounded, and often even the opposite is true. We are going to clear up the five most common misconceptions.

1. Misconception: Electric cars are too expensive

The notion that electric cars are far too expensive is hard to shake. It even seems to be true if you only look at the purchase price. However, the opposite is true. Incentives to buy EVs, such as the environmental subsidy, reduce the price significantly. Tax advantages and comparatively low running costs (fuel, for example) also mean they are much cheaper to operate over the long term. And even the costs to purchase an EV are likely to fall as the demand for them increases and as a result of innovations in production.

2. Misconception: Electric cars are not really that sustainable

EVs are demonstrably better for the environment. If we look at exhaust gas emissions, electric cars are far ahead of combustion engines in terms of sustainability. The production of electric cars may pollute the environment more than the production of combustion engines. But overall, the environmental footprint puts electromobility clearly in the lead.

And then there is this fact: Drivers of electric vehicles can positively influence sustainability when they choose the power source for their vehicles. In addition to the positive environmental footprint, electric vehicles are also better for people’s health. They emit significantly less fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxide.

3. Misconception: Electric cars have a short range and it takes too long to charge them

Which is true... You cannot travel the same distance in a fully charged electric car as you can in a vehicle with a combustion engine and a full tank of gas. However, electric cars have already made significant gains. Many models offer a range of 500 kilometers. In most cases that should be enough: According to the German Environment Agency, Germans drive less than five kilometers in half of all trips they make. Each motorist travels, on average, around 40 kilometers a day. The range is therefore not an issue in everyday driving.

And charging does not take as long as it did a few years ago. Admittedly, you do have to wait a while until the battery is full when you’re at home. However, in this situation, it is easy to plan your charging: You just leave the vehicle plugged in overnight, for example. The process can be accelerated considerably if you have your own wallbox. It can charge the vehicle ten times faster. When you’re on the road, the battery can be charged even faster. There are more and more rapid charging stations available to EV drivers. On average, they charge the battery to 80 percent within half an hour.

4. Misconception: The charging infrastructure is too small and could threaten the stability of the power grid

The network of charging stations is growing rapidly in Germany. Approximately 15,500 charging points have been installed in Germany since 2016. There are now more than 24,000 public charging points in the country, including many rapid charging stations. The numbers are growing rapidly: They increased by more than 50 percent between 2018 and 2019. With around 220,000 electric and hybrid cars, nine vehicles can be charged at one charging point on average – enough to charge all of them. Of course, coverage in urban areas is somewhat better than in rural regions and less densely populated states in Germany. However, with a little planning, even longer trips are no problem, especially because many navigation systems installed in electric cars can be used for planning routes and the range of EVs is steadily improving.

By the way, concerns about overloaded power grids are completely unfounded, even if more and more people are driving electric vehicles. Stromnetz Berlin also makes this clear in an interview with Vattenfall InCharge.

5. Misconception: Electric cars are not fun to drive

Admittedly, drivers of electric cars must manage without the rumble of the engine. But otherwise they are fun to drive, no doubt about it. Electric motors offer full torque at all times. They accelerate better than combustion engines and do so evenly at any speed. In addition, the weight of electric cars is better distributed: The batteries are installed under the floor of the vehicle, making the center of gravity low and the weight well-balanced.

So we see that many misconceptions surrounding electromobility originate from a time when the technology was still in its infancy. Today, most of them can be dispelled, and electromobility can be confidently recognized as a future-oriented mode of transport.



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