Electric Vehicles – The Truth and the Tripe

There is no better way to ruffle the feathers of the
oil tycoon than a shift to the all-electric
vehicle.

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Impractical?
Expensive? Slow? Unreliable? Dirty? These are just some of
the words we have seen thrown around since the EV joined the
global market as a genuine contender of the combustion
engine powered car.

While there may be truth to some of
these accusations, much of what we hear about EV’s ranges
from misunderstanding, to utter nonsense — aka
tripe.

So, let’s look at some of the most common words
people use to associate with EV’s and figure out which
ones bare truth, and which ones hint of tripe, and let’s
back up our conclusions with reliable
sources.

Range
‘They are
impractical because they have very little range!‘, Truth
or Tripe?


A lack of range when compared
with petrol and diesel counterparts has likely been the
greatest barrier standing between the EV and the mass
market, but there are two things you should know about EV
range:
1. Recently published studies of American driving
habits have revealed that the average American drives 29.2
miles per day, well within the range of most EV’s, making
the electric car ideally suited to the average daily
commute.
2. The newly released Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf
and Chevy Bolt are all setting new standards in EV range. We
are now seeing numbers like “250+ kilometers“.
A number that high is likely to outdo your own
bladder range, which makes you wonder if range anxiety is
still really a
thing?

Charging
‘They are
impractical because they take too long to charge!’,
Truth or Tripe?

The average EV user will tend to
charge their vehicle overnight, this way they can take
advantage of the cheaper evening electricity tariffs, ready
for their daily commute the following morning. No doubt this
is economical.

What If an EV user is going on a longer
journey, or finds themselves needing to charge the car in a
hurry? This is wherepublic charging stations come in,
depending on the type of system, these “fast-chargers”
can charge an EV to 80% capacity in twenty to thirty
minutes. This technology is also continuing
to improve.



Infrastructure
There
is nowhere to charge an EV!
‘, Truth or Tripe?

So you
can charge an EV pretty quickly if you are in a hurry, but
there are many who claim that public charging infrastructure
is simply “not there”. While it is true that charging
infrastructure is still developing, most developed countries
have plenty of public charging stations, it’s just a
matter of planning your journey beforehand. Don’t take my
word for this, check outPlugShare.

Batteries

‘The
battery is expensive, and will die after a few years’
,
Truth or Tripe?

It is true that these large Lithium Ion
batteries do not come cheap, however it should be noted that
the price of batteries is dropping every year as demand
increases, Telsa have even gone as far asclaiming that the Gigafactory alone will
reduce battery prices by around 30%.

The lifespan of an EV
battery is also a lot longer than many people believe, many
manufacturers provide a battery warranty of ten years, but
an EV owner can expect the battery to survive long past this
warranty.

Research has shown that even with the
replacement of a battery, an EV is still more economical
than a petrol or diesel car. Then there is the topic ofnew battery technologies currently in
the pipeline, but let’s save that for a future
topic.

Overloaded
‘The national
grid cannot handle a nation of EV’s‘
, Truth or
Tripe?

This is another classic, inaccurate criticism. If
everyone owned an EV, and they all arrived home from work at
6pm during electricity peak, and they all plugged in their
EV and sucked energy from the national grid at the same
time, this could present a problem, but this is not how
EV’s work — they are smarter than that.

The majority
of EV users will charge their vehicle overnight when tariffs
are cheap, and national demand for electricity is low.

In
fact,studies have revealed that while EV’s
may increase overall demand for electricity, the largest
problem for the National Grid has been erratic demand —
trying to balance peak and off-peak consumption — and this
has been a problem for many years. EV’s may actually help
to solve this problem in the form of what is called “vehicle-to-grid technology“.

This
technology would allow EV’s to feed your house during peak
electricity when the grid is under strain, and consume from
the grid during off-peak electricity when the grid is
producing excess power. The result is a balanced grid, and a
potential solution to the renewable energy “duck
curve
“.

Landfill
‘All those
batteries eventually end up in landfill‘
, Truth or
Tripe?

Tripe. Lithium Ion batteriescan be recycled if proper practices are
enforced.

Dirty
‘Driving an EV
causes just as much emissions as a petrol car, because that
energy is still coming from power plants‘
, Truth or
Tripe?

It is true that if you are charging your car from a
national grid powered by coal for example, you may still be
indirectly generating high emissions, however, there are
three things you need to consider:
1. EV’s convert over
90% of energy from their batteries into moving the car,
compared with 30% from a modern petrol or diesel car, so
even if charged entirely by fossil fuels, EV’s are still
significantly more efficient
2. Not all countries have
dirty grids, New Zealand for example uses 70 – 80% clean,
renewable energy from varying sources such as hydro, wind
and geothermal.
3. In order to reduce global emissions,
we need to move towards cleaner energy alongside electric
transportation. Just because that move to cleaner energy
might be moving slower, does not mean we should just ditch
the idea of EV’s — they are two goals to achieving a
carbon neutral
future.

Cobalt
‘There are
children dying in Africa to mine cobalt for EV’s‘
,
Truth or Tripe?

Cobalt is a chemical element used in the
production of Lithium Ion batteries, so you will find it in
the battery of an EV, your smartphone, and many other
electronic devices.

It is disheartening to say that many
suppliers of Cobalt retrieve this resource from impoverished
countries with very poor working conditions — countries
where child labour is common — so there is an unfortunate
truth to this criticism. However, the oil industry doesn’t
exactly have the cleanest record when it comes to the morals
of oil extraction either.

No matter how you travel or
which product you purchase in the west, there’s a good
chance someone, somewhere in the world is being exploited as
a result, whether it be Cobalt, petroleum, palm oil, or a
t-shirt manufactured in a sweat shop.

As consumers, the
best thing we can do from an ethical perspective is to shop
consciously — find out how a product is made before you
purchase it.

Silly
‘The EV
designs are too radical!‘
, Truth or Tripe?

Those
with a more conservative taste for design have claimed that
EV’s always have a “silly“ design — probably
referring to the BMW i3, which is perhaps a little radical
for some — but the E-Golf on the other hand? One would
surely forgive you for thinking this was a regular little
petrol Golf.

/


While electric vehicles are not
perfect and there are still some hurdles to cross, they are
already a practical alternative to the petrol car for the
vast majority of us, and now is a better time than ever to
quit the pump and join the
revolution.

© Scoop Media

Nino Plevnik

I am an electric cars lover. I love our planet and want to leave it in good condition to our children. One of the good ways to do this is to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere. As a technical person I worked on computers, hardware maintenance and programming. Otherwise I like advanced technologies, music, books, movies, life and nice weather.

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