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Four myths about electric vehicles that just won’t go away

Four myths about electric vehicles that just won’t go away

Writing about electric vehicles is often a bit of a whack-a-mole game with skeptics.

Discuss why limited range is not a big deal and you may be concerned about price. Point out that electric vehicles are cheap to run and you will get criticism about battery life. Address battery life and you will find yourself having to defend pricing again.

That’s why I’ve collected the most unjustified complaints about electric cars in one place, in an attempt to address them one by one.

Electric cars are for the rich.

I’ve seen top-end electric Porsches and Teslas and I have to assume that those owners are doing well. But there’s really nothing rare about all EVs.

My electric car, a Hyundai Ioniq 5, had a retail price of $50,000 in 2022. That’s a lot of money, and it initially got me thinking.

But the price was in line with the average new car sold in Ontario that year, according to figures from AutoTrader.ca. More importantly, the price looks considerably more attractive when I factor in the gas savings and the $5,000 federal rebate.

With my modest driving routines, these offsets could reduce operating costs—compared to an ICE vehicle—to about $35,000 over 10 years. That’s comparable to a gas-powered Toyota Camry or a Ford Escape, hardly rides reserved for the elite.

Do you drive a lot? It’s possible to reduce the operating costs of an EV to the price of a Civic.

The problem is that the typical upfront cost of an EV is high. However, EVs should become cheaper as more of them are produced. Goldman Sachs estimates that battery pack prices will fall an average of 11 percent per year through 2030, increasing cost parity with ICE vehicles by the middle of this decade.

The charging infrastructure is terrible.

There are fast and slow chargers, public chargers and home chargers, which makes it difficult to make a general statement about charging infrastructure. I’ll do it anyway: it works pretty well.

The dream is home charging, where you can charge your vehicle overnight and wake up every morning to a fully charged EV. Granted, that dream is limited to anyone with a home and a designated parking space.

But before you say, “See? EVs are for the rich,” consider the many alternatives. Some apartments, offices, and parking lots offer convenient charging options. On-street charging—my personal preference—is growing in urban areas.

Fast chargers, designed for on-the-go charging when you need a boost in 30 minutes or less, are where your options are more limited. But the network is growing rapidly.

In Canada, the number of fast chargers will expand by 1,036 ports — or nearly 27 percent — from March 2023 to March 2024, according to Electric Autonomy Canada. That’s in just one year. And there’s more to come.

Electric vehicles are only useful in cities.

EVs are perfect for cities, where congested roads cry out for cleaner cars and no range worries. But any journey that starts and ends at home – say, a round trip of less than 200 miles – offers the same benefit: a cleaner trip with a cheaper, more convenient power source.

There are even benefits to driving electric vehicles outside of cities.

Larger rural properties require garages, and a garage provides a convenient location for a home charging station that can tap into cheap electricity at night. And if rural commuting involves longer journeys, say from one city to another, the longer journeys will result in greater savings on gas.

I don’t have time to charge an electric car on the way to…

I get this a lot. You have to drive 250 miles, a trip that takes about four hours, and you just can’t stand the idea of ​​spending 30 minutes charging an EV on the way.

You don’t use the toilet. You don’t buy snacks. You don’t take breaks. However, you do buy 32 litres of petrol, which costs over $50 at $1.60 per litre.

Now think about the EV alternative.

During that 400 km drive you will stop once at a fast charger along the highway. It takes 30 minutes to charge.

That’s not downtime, standing next to your ICE car, in the cold, filling up with gas. While your EV is charging, take a break, use the facilities, grab a snack, whatever.

The money you save on petrol during these charging breaks is good for your wallet.

How good? Even if you had to charge your battery from 0 percent to 100 percent at an expensive fast-charging station along the highway, you’d save about $15 on that 250-mile drive compared to a comparable trip using gasoline. In this example, the EV easily pays for your snacks.

More likely, you’ll need a smaller boost at the fast charger, perhaps from a 20 percent state of charge to 80 percent, and will have to rely on a cheaper charge at home or at your destination. In this case, your savings would be closer to $25.

In this example, charging downtime is starting to look like a fun part-time job that pays $50 an hour to relax. Still think electric vehicles are for the rich? Electric vehicles are for the frugal, too.