The last decade of human history has witnessed a phenomenal push towards sustainable growth and serious pushback against environmental pollution on all fronts. This has led to the recent uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), positioned to be the cornerstone of the next generation of transportation and human society.
However, as with all new technologies, it’s important to demystify common doubts and questions before jumping on the bandwagon. In this article, we discuss and debunk 10 of the most common myths around EVs -- which might help you see them as a real option for Indian roads.
Myth 1: EVs take too long to charge
One of the most common concerns that pops up for people considering a shift to EVs is that while they can refuel their vehicle in a matter of minutes, charging an EV may take hours. This argument does not take into account the change in fueling pattern that EVs bring about.
EVs can be charged every night or even every few nights, with a basic 240V power outlet, if you have a dedicated parking space or a garage. This means you can avoid long lines at petrol pumps or CNG stations. Similarly, driving long distances would become far easier once charging infrastructure is developed on Indian highways. Current superchargers can give you a full charge in 30 to 60 minutes; that’s about as long as having lunch at a pit stop. Many companies are also considering installing charging stations in their parking spaces.
Myth 2: EVs are uneconomical
This should not be surprising, as it is representative of the generic curve that new technology follows. While most EVs are at high price points in luxury markets today, this is quickly changing - especially in India, where costs are being brought down through subsidies and EVs are being made more accessible.
Moreover, a quick look at the US shows that an EV on average costs half as much as petrol-driven cars. Maintenance costs are also lower since EVs have fewer moving parts, more efficient cooling systems, and no oil, etc.
Myth 3: EV batteries are really expensive and have to be replaced frequently
This is a resounding false. Lithium ion battery costs are dramatically reducing and India is gearing towards serious investment in high-performance batteries.
Current EV batteries, for example, have up to 90% capacity after driving 241,000 Kms. The average Indian driver does not even come close to driving this distance, and for those who do - these batteries often come with a warrant of eight years. Replacing a battery does cost money, but the prices are dropping rapidly.
Myth 4: EVs are not as clean as they are made out to be
This idea arises from the belief that EVs are charged from electricity produced in coal power plants, and this in itself might be even more polluting than hydrocarbon-based vehicles. While there is some truth to these statements, they are often misrepresented. Understanding the complete life-cycle of a car can help put things into context.
While the total emissions for manufacturing might be up to 60% higher for EVs as compared to petrol vehicles, during usage, the same EV will produce 50% lower emissions within 18 months of driving. This can change drastically depending on the region you live in, and with the shift towards renewable energy sources in India, these numbers could keep improving. Moreover, at the end of their life, lithium ion batteries can be recycled, which keeps hazardous material from entering our waste, through closed loop systems.
Myth 5: EVs do not have enough range
Most EVs are designed to provide ranges much higher than the average trip length. It is also worth noting that most trips that Indians make are usually short (on an average less than 40 Km a day). Longer trips are far less frequent in comparison. EVs are constantly being improved, and coming years will witness an increase in the availability of long-range batteries and faster, more accessible charging stations across highways in India. These changes will make longer trips just as convenient, where a single mid-way charge can serve the purpose.
Myth 6: EVs are a fire hazard
This can be held true for every vehicle on the planet. The risk of fire on lithium ion battery systems are anticipated to be comparable to or slightly less than those for gasoline or diesel vehicular fuels. In fact, gasoline powered cars are about 11 times more likely to catch fire than some of the most common EVs present in the world today.
Myth 7: EVs have low speeds
While this has been a common assumption about most electric vehicles in the past, you might be surprised to know that electric race cars exist as well! EVs can convert the entire torque that they are designed to produce, instantly, leading to rapid acceleration. Even in consumer vehicles, EVs have been able to achieve 0-96 kmph in 2.5 seconds; that’s fast!
Myth 8: There are very few EV options to choose from
India is strongly supporting the development of the EV industry along with several indigenous and foreign car manufacturers, in order to produce a wide array of options for EVs. The electric vehicle category is a coveted space worldwide and India seems poised to make the switch as well. Apart from simply launching new vehicles, brands like MG India have also taken up the onus of making the transition to EVs smoother. For example, before the unveiling of MG ZS EV on December 5, the brand has collaborated with multiple charging players around the country to create a robust charging infrastructure for buyers.
The move aims at assisting customers with last-mile assistance, especially for setting up charging infrastructure at their homes. MG India will assign experts to identify the best way in which MG ZS EV buyers can install a charger at home.
Myth 9: EVs cannot be charged using solar panels
An increasing number of people opting for EVs also use solar panels at home. This is helpful because the technology to charge an E-bike or an electric car using solar panels is already available. Saving money on fuel helps the solar panel setup pay for itself much sooner than if it were only replacing electricity from the grid.
Myth 10: Nobody wants to drive an EV because they don’t look nice
The era of the clunky, battery-powered box on wheels is long gone. The EVs being produced today often target luxury markets, and are hence designed to be really impressive, sleek, and powerful. EV manufacturers are teaming up with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking designers around the world to create the overall look and feel of these vehicles, and we can expect some stunning models to hit the market soon.
EVs are still relatively new in India and as a prospective buyer, it’s important to ask the right questions once you decide to make the switch. As the world moves towards finding sustainable solutions against environmental damage, let’s do our bit as well. This winter, do strive to #ChangeWhatYouCan through the choices you make for the future.
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