Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common, with every major automaker shifting away from building traditional gas-powered vehicles. Clearly, EVs are the next big thing in cars, and with that comes many questions from new potential EV owners. While many new electric car owners search for the usual matters — cost, range, charging specs, etc. — there are many other questions that potential and new owners have on their minds.
In the UK, for example, there are some interesting questions that have been Googled by many Britons about EV ownership that are very surprising, to say the least. A study conducted by Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, a UK car leasing group, has broken down the most asked electric car questions in the UK. These questions range from inquiries about charging your car to inquiries about how waterproof they are!
Here are 10 top searches on Google for electric vehicles in the UK.
1. Can electric cars go through the car wash?
— 21,000 searches
The good news is it is perfectly safe! Similar to ordinary gasoline or diesel cars, electric cars must undergo a “soak test” in which they are evaluated under conditions of near-flood water to look for any potential leaks and for safety reasons. If they can pass that test, they can certainly go through a car wash.
2. Are electric cars safe?
— 10,720 searches
Yes, much like conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, all-electric automobiles must adhere to the same rigid design and production standards. To make sure the autos are as safe as possible, they follow the same exact rigorous procedure.
Electric cars (particularly from Tesla) have actually set new records for safety scores in official European and US tests, and many electric cars have received 5-star safety ratings.
Passengers are given the best protection available in the case of an accident thanks to strong structures, wide crumple zones, heavy foundations, and low centers of gravity due to the batteries on the bottoms of electric vehicles.
3. Can I charge my mobile phone?
— 9,510 searches
Yes, by connecting your phone to the car’s USB port of via a wireless phone charger, you can charge your phone inside an electric vehicle. Most electric cars, however, feature an eco-mode driver setting that boosts your electric vehicle’s efficiency if you are worried that it would drain electricity from your vehicle’s battery. This is accomplished by restricting the amount of power available for your electric system’s mode and will disable various features, which may slow down the charging time of your phone.
However, charging your phone won’t cause the car’s battery to run down anytime soon — the energy pulled is completely negligent compared to the energy stored in a car’s thousands of battery cells.
4. Are all-electric cars automatic?
— 4,900 searches
Since an electric motor doesn’t require gears, electric vehicles are automatic. This indicates that, unlike a typical manual car, there is no clutch and no mechanism to stall.
5. Will the air conditioner ruin my battery life?
— 4,420 searches
When your air conditioner is running full blast, your electric car’s range can be reduced by up to about 20%, which means if you were anticipating a 100-mile journey, you might only get to 83 miles. Preconditioning, a function included in the majority of electric vehicles, allows you to pre-cool the interior of your car before a long trip. This is one way to avoid using too much electricity for AC while driving. This feature works best when your car is plugged in overnight because power will be drawn from the mains rather than your electric vehicle’s batteries, preserving battery life.
All of that said, the estimated range your car provides you should take current AC use into account, so don’t worry about calculating energy use from running your AC.
6. Are electric car charging points free to use?
— 4,040 searches
In the UK, there are thousands of free electric vehicle charging stations, most of which are found in shopping malls, supermarkets, free parking lots, hotels, and occasionally gas stations. But it’s important to remember that there can be limitations, like a deadline or a requirement for an in-store purchase, so it’s best to double-check.
Downloading an EV charge point map, like PlugShare, makes it easy to check which EV charging stations are free to use, not to mention functioning versus out of order.
7. Can you drive through standing water?
— 2,130 searches
Finding a different route is usually advised when driving through floodwater, just like in a typical gasoline or diesel vehicle. Water is dangerous. According to the Environment Agency, your car may float in just 300mm of rushing water. This means that if an electric vehicle is submerged in water and water enters the electrical system, the circuit breakers may trip. As a result, the motor would no longer receive electricity from the batteries, which may leave you stuck. Like in any other car, you may be able to get through some high waters in an EV, but it’s simply not a good idea to spend too much time in high water — standing or otherwise.
8. Can an electric car cause electric shock?
— 1,560 searches
Voltages between 12 and 48 volts, which are used by the majority of electric vehicles, can be hazardous but are not likely to cause a lethal shock. Any electrical device is potentially dangerous, of course, but the most common shock you’ll experience while touching one in dry weather is static electricity, just like when you drive a conventional automobile.
Regarding the electrical energy kept in the battery, the high-voltage cables are properly secured in case of an accident and have strong insulation. Therefore, there should be no risk of receiving an electric shock as long as safety requirements are followed.
9. What if I don’t have a driveway?
— 820 searches
If you’re thinking about charging your electric car at home but don’t have a driveway, you can check to see if on-street charging stations are going to be installed by contacting your local residential authority. In the UK, the on-street residential charging scheme is a government grant made accessible to local governments for the installation of public access charging points. They can be folding charging stations that retract into the pavement, pillars fastened to the curb, and even charging points installed inside light posts and other fixed structures.
10. How safe are electric car batteries?
— 230 searches
One frequent cause for worry is that the lithium-ion batteries used in electric car batteries can catch fire under certain circumstances. There is a chance of combustion if the power cells are broken and short-circuiting takes place. Thermal runaway is the term for this. Although this sounds terrifying, it is incredibly rare because the newest generation of EVs is designed to prevent the issue. Gas-/petrol-powered cars are much more likely to catch fire than electric cars, data show.
While many of these Googled queries are understandably legitimate questions, some are quite surprising and really underscore the need for continued EV education. Or, it could be that the Brits who searched for whether or not they could take an EV through the car wash had one too many pints at the local pub!