Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association

EV Myths

ManitobaEV 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 300 to 500 km and can be charged at any ordinary electrical outlet (120V).

MYTH: Electric Vehicles don’t work in the Canadian winter. 

Reality: EVs are great winter cars. Most are equipped with remote start so you can easily pre-heat the interior before you drive (and you don’t even need to open the garage door – there’s no exhaust!). Even if you don’t pre-heat your vehicle, the heat pumps or resistive heaters warm up the interior quickly. You will see a reduction in range, some of which can be mitigated by warming up your car while it’s still plugged in (using “shore power” rather than any of your range to get the car warmed up inside), and by using features like heated seats and steering wheel rather than blasting the heat.  Most modern EVs may see up to a 30-40% reduction in range in the winter, but for most that’s still more than enough to cover their daily commutes.  

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

Reality: Manitoba produces over 99% (in 2019) 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 300 km range.

Reality: While many of the first mass produced EVs, and some made today, have lower range (less than 300 km) there are now many makes and models available with ranges between 300 to 500 km. In addition, the 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 are adding more charging points to allow for on-the-go charging as well.

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 (called level 1), the car can be left to charge overnight, producing about 65 km of range. Most new EVs will charge from 240-volt outlets (level 2) providing double or triple the charge in the same amount of time (usually a full charge in 8 – 10 hours). Public fast charging stations (level 3) that reduce charging time for many to 30 minutes or less are becoming more common.

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 residential electricity rates (9.5¢ per kilowatt hour (KWh) in Manitoba in 2023), assuming an average efficiency of 200 Wh/km, you’ll pay about $380 per year for the electricity to charge your battery. Compared to gas you would pay about $2240 (assuming $1.40 per litre, an optimistic 8 l/100km vehicle, and 20,000 kilometres driven). This equals $1860 in savings: that’s an 83% reduction in fuel costs! $32 per month on your electricity bill is much better than $187 per month at the pumps.

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 there are federal incentives available and provincial 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 of 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. Many car makers are offering long term warranties (i.e. 8 years in some cases) on their battery packs. Others are planning on leasing their batteries, so replacement won’t be an issue. 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 or catch fire.

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. While there have been some EV battery recalls related to fire risk and media reports of EV fires, the actual prevalence is quite low and statistically gasoline powered vehicles are much more likely to catch fire (it’s just so common that it usually never makes the news).  

MYTH: Electric Cars Are Slow

Reality: Most EVs made today have an amazing amount of torque and quick acceleration. Some of the Tesla Performance models have a top speed over 260km/hr and zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time of less than 2.5 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 and the federal zero emission vehicle government mandates within the next several years.

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