Electric car myths, debunked

Words Fidel Feria



If you’ve heard of electric vehicles (EV), you’ve heard plenty of arguments against it. A considerable segment of consumers still cling to dated perceptions of this type of vehicle—that they’re slow, lacking in range, and are too costly. This is despite the ever-growing belief that electric vehicles are the cars of a more efficient and eco-friendly future.


In seeking to debunk these myths and raise awareness about EVs, Nissan recently launched “Demistifying Electric Vehicles,” a four-part education online series covering range, charging, driving, and ownership. Environmental scientist Tim Jarvis and and founder of sustainable food business Broccoli Revolution Naya Ehrlich-Adam lead the discussions in the series.


Myth #1: You can’t travel long distances with an EV. 

In the U.S., the average drive is 64km (40 miles) a day. Short-range EVs can cover more than twice that distance before finally needing a recharge. The Nissan Leaf, for instance, is able to run 241km (150 miles) on average, while some full-electric cars have an operating range of more than 400 kilometers.


Myth #2: The EV is slow.

Electric cars are actually faster than gasoline-powered vehicles. An electric motor generates 100 percent of its torque instantaneously, and when the driver of an EV hits the accelerator pedal, there is an immediate shift from stationary to speed. The Tesla Model S, for example, has a  0-97kph time clocked at a rapid 2.5 seconds.


Myth #3: The EV isn’t ‘greener’ than its gas-powered counterpart.

EVs, unlike the regular vehicle, do not emit direct tailpipe pollutants. What’s more is that these convert 75 perent of the chemical energy to power the vehicle. In contrast, internal combustion engines convert only 20 percent of its energy stored in gasoline.


Myth #4: Owning an EV is impractical since charging stations aren’t accessible.

This is because charging is conducted at home or the workplace. There are already about 20,000 stations in the U.S., and they are located at parking lots, garages, and car dealerships. While predominantly these are 220-volt Level 2 chargers, more Level 3 public stations have come to the fore. Also known as DC Fast Charging, this can replenish up to 80 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes. It is advised that any long trips taken with an EV must consider routes that have Level 3 charging.


Meanwhile, the Philippines is also gearing up for the rise of the EV industry with Petron, Shell, and Unioil installing charging stations in select retail stations. 


Myth #5: EV batteries have poor endurance and aren’t recyclable.

You actually can recycle depleted EV batteries as one does with traditional car batteries. You can use EV power cells to store solar or wind energy, and they can be disassembled for the valuable elements to be used again. As for endurance, reports have stated differently. Nissan Leaf models used as public transportation were said to have retained 75 percent of its battery capacity after 193,000km in use. Tesla users are also able to retain 90 percent of battery life even after more than 257,000km.


Myth #6: EVs are dangerous.

EVs have actually fared well whenever they are tested. Together with the Tesla Model 3 and Model X, the Chevrolet Bolt EV got five out of five starts for occupant protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But generally, because they are low-volume cars, not all EVs are tested for crashworthiness. Even concerns about batteries catching fire are a tad overblown. An investigation on the matter by the NHTSA has concluded that severity of fires and explosions from ion battery systems are less than those of gas or diesel-powered models.


This story was originally published in Speed Magazine’s July 2019 issue. 


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