Anyone who has driven an electric vehicle like a Tesla knows about the barrage of incoming questions from uninformed members of the public. YouTuber and friend of CleanTechnica Tesla Raj took to the ‘Tube to address a few common misconceptions about electric vehicles and, more specifically, Teslas.
I’ll unpack a sampling of the myths he debunked to help those who are new to electric vehicles. Consider this part of our broader quest to share the truth about electric vehicles to the uninitiated masses.
How do you charge your EV?
Charging an electric vehicle is perhaps the greatest mystery to the uninitiated, but also perhaps the simplest. Like your average cell phone, electric vehicles can be charged by plugging them into any wall outlet with the charger included with the vehicle. In the US, these are the standard 110 volt outlets that are sprinkled around every residential, commercial, and industrial facility in the country. Just plug in and play for the easiest of charging around.
For those looking for a faster charge at home or on the go, charging from a 220 volt outlet or public charger will deliver more power to the vehicle. These 220 volt outlets are commonly used for electric dryers, or a dedicated circuit can be installed for a faster “Level 2” EV charger.
When you’re on the go, the Tesla Supercharging network has Tesla owners covered for high-speed charging. The growing network of Ionity, EVgo, ChargePoint, and Electrify America chargers, among others, have the rest of EV drivers covered with high-speed DC fast charging. These chargers can deliver speeds of up to 1,000 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the vehicle and the station being utilized.
Are Teslas expensive to purchase?
Generally speaking, electric vehicles are still more expensive to purchase than comparable gasmobiles, but that is quickly changing. For example, the Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000, which is lower than the average purchase price of a new vehicle in the US. That says a lot about how far electric vehicle pricing has come in the last few years.
More importantly, the cost of electric vehicles is heavily weighted towards the initial purchase, so once you have made it past that hurdle, the ongoing cost of operating an electric vehicle is far lower than the cost operating a comparable internal combustion vehicle. That single realization makes the initial purchase price a bit easier to swallow. Even then, there are many electric vehicles — including the Tesla Model 3, the Hyundai Ioniq, the Nissan LEAF, and more — that are already cost competitive on the upfront purchase price with comparable non-electric vehicles, which makes digging a bit deeper into the cost savings that much more compelling.
Is driving an electric vehicle more expensive than my current gasmobile?
Delivering an accurate answer to this one requires a closer look at the efficiency of the gasmobile currently being driven around, the electric vehicle being considered, the cost of petrol, and of course, the cost of electricity.
Generally speaking, it is far cheaper to drive vehicles powered by electricity, but the specifics will vary by region based on the above. EV drivers in Raj’s area will pay around 9 bucks per fill-up of electrons, while internal combustion drivers get a double penalty, as their vehicles pollute with every mile and cost nearly 4 times more to fuel up.
In summary, electric vehicles almost always cost less to fill up and drive per mile, and for those looking for extra credit, they can get even cheaper when charged off of a rooftop solar system.
What does maintenance cost on an EV?
Very little! Replace tires, replace windshield wipers, refill wiper fluid, and do the infrequent battery coolant swap every 4 years or so. Compared to ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, the cost of maintaining an electric vehicle is very low. This is largely a function of the number of moving parts in an electric vehicle compared to an internal combustion vehicle.
Battery electric vehicles use power from a chemical storage tank (a battery pack) to provide electrical power to an electric motor comprised of little more than the rotor, stator, armature, commutator, windings, and bearings. Internal combustion engines, on the other hand, have hundreds of moving parts that wear out gradually with each use. That translates to more maintenance and more cash flowing out of your pocket into the hands of mechanics and auto dealerships.
EVs don’t have enough range for normal driving
The first generation of electric vehicles came to the market with 80-something miles of range per charge. That was enough for most drivers to handle their daily commutes, but left many drivers wanting more range. The average commute of the average motorist, according to US-based AAA is 29.2 miles, but peace of mind requires more than simple math.
Thankfully, a number of modern affordable electric vehicles are available with more than 200 miles of range per charge, including the Tesla Model 3, the Hyundai Kona EV, and the Nissan LEAF Plus, among others.
This base range combined with the ability of electric vehicles to regenerate power from braking activities further extends the range of the vehicle and increases efficiency along the way. It was one of the things that driving through the Rocky Mountains in the Western United States taught me all too well. Going uphill was painful to watch, but recovering mile after mile of range going downhill made it all worthwhile.
Additionally, electric vehicles have the ability to start every day with full range. Compared to gasmobiles, this is a game changer! Leaving the garage with a full tank every night means eliminating the necessary stop at the gas station to fill up every week or every few days. Not only is it a time savings, but it effectively extends the range of the vehicle compared to the paradigm of internal combustion vehicles. Beautiful.
Raj also dispatches a few other common myths, including the ones below, but you’re going to have to check out his efficient ~7 minute video to get some closure on those.
- What does battery degradation look like for EVs?
- EVs are slow
- Myth: Autopilot is dangerous
- Tesla is going bankwupt!
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.