MEVA regulary encounters the following EV Myths when we talk with the public about Electric Vehicles:

MYTH: Electric Vehicles don’t have enough range. You’ll be stranded when you run out of electricity.

Reality: Most Canadians drive less than 50 km per day. Many new production Electric Vehicles have a range of at least 120 km and can be charged at any ordinary electrical outlet (120V).

MYTH: Electric Vehicles just replace the tailpipe with a smokestack.

Reality: Manitoba produces over 94% of its electricity from clean sources, primarily Hydro-Electric dams. Even in countries that use coal-fired generating plants; the electricity used for EV charging produces 35 to 60% less pollution than that from the equivalent number of gas-powered vehicles.

MYTH: Battery chemicals are bad for the environment and can’t be recycled.

Reality: Most of the “bad press” over batteries stems from the improper disposal of consumer batteries, mainly “Alkaline” and Nickel-Cadmium cells (neither of which are used in modern EVs). Traditional car batteries on the other hand are over 99% recyclable and recycling programs are also being implemented for the batteries used in Hybrids and EVs.

MYTH: Customers will never buy a car with less than a 300km range.

Reality: So-called ‘range anxiety’ diminishes when people get used to driving EVs on a daily basis. It’s just like charging a cell phone overnight. You plug it in, and in the morning it’s ready to go, fully charged. As more EVs hit the road, businesses and cities will add charging points to encourage EV use.

MYTH: The charging infrastructure must be built before people will adopt EVs.

Reality: Most charging will be done at home, so a public charging infrastructure isn’t a prerequisite. Still, a robust infrastructure will help, especially for apartment dwellers and those regularly driving long distances.

MYTH: Electric Vehicles take too long to charge.

Reality: The most convenient place and time to charge is at home while you sleep. Even using the slowest 120-volt outlet, the car can be left to charge overnight, producing about 65 km of range. Most new EVs will charge from 240-volt outlets providing double or triple the charge in the same amount of time. Charging stations that reduce charging time to 30 minutes or less are beginning to appear.

MYTH: My electricity bill will go way up!

Reality: While you’ll spend more on electricity, the savings on gas will more than cover it. If you drive a pure battery electric vehicle 20,000 kilometres a year at current electricity rates (7¢ per kilowatt hour in Manitoba), you’ll pay about $140 per year for the electricity to charge your battery, but you’ll save about $1920 in gas (assuming $1.20 per litre, an optimistic 8 l/100km vehicle, and 20,000 kilometres driven). This equals $1780 in savings: that’s an 92% reduction in fuel costs! $12 per month on your electricity bill is certainly affordable.

MYTH: Electric Vehicles are too expensive for market penetration.

Reality: New technologies are typically costly. Remember when cell phones and DVDs were introduced? In addition incentives are being implemented in some provinces to help offset the cost (the Manitoba Government is considering on a plan to implement similar measures). The cost is fuel is significantly lower (see above). Plus maintenance is reduced (no oil changes, etc). So the savings in fuel and maintenance can offset the higher monthly car payments. A realistic analysis usually indicates similar monthly costs for similar sized models of electric and gas cars. Once the car payment is over 5 to 7 years down the road, then the savings really set in.

MYTH: The Battery packs will cost thousands of dollars to replace after only a few years.

Reality: The batteries are the priciest part of an Electric Vehicle; however this is being dealt with in a number of ways. Some car makers are planning on leasing their batteries, so replacement won’t be an issue. Others are offering long term warranties (i.e. 8 years in some cases) on their battery packs. In addition new generation battery packs are “modular” in nature, meaning it may not be necessary to replace the entire pack to correct a problem.

MYTH: Electric Vehicle batteries are dangerous and can explode.

Reality: Most of this fear has been generated from other battery chemistries and applications such as those used in laptops. The battery types used in Electric Vehicles are inherently safer than those used in other applications and have had to pass stringent guidelines

MYTH: Electric Cars Are Slow

Reality: Ever hear of the Tesla Roadster? It has a top speed of 200km/hr and zero-to-100 acceleration time of less than 4 seconds! Electric motors are more efficient than gas engines and can produce an amazing amount of torque. EVs do require some adjustments in driving habits however, so having a “lead-foot” may impact your range if you’re not careful.

MYTH: They’re not safe.

Reality: Electric Vehicles must meet all the same safety and crash test requirements as “traditional” fuel-based vehicles.

MYTH: The technology is too complicated

Reality: A modern Electric Vehicle has only about five main moving parts compared with hundreds in an internal combustion engine. There are no regular visits to the dealership for an EV. No oil changes, no filters – even brake pads last two-to-three times longer than in conventional cars. Eventually, you’ll need new wiper blades and tires. But that’s about it!

MYTH: This is all a fad; anyone who buys one will have an obsolete vehicle within the next couple years.

Reality: While this may have been the prevailing attitude in the past, we simply cannot ignore the continuing rise in the cost of oil and our dependence on transportation. Virtually all the Auto Manufacturers are now involved with EVs at some level to meet the expected demand for this technology within the next several years.