As demand for electric and hybrid cars continues to soar, going green has never been so popular. But despite the recent boom of these eco-friendly vehicles, electric vehicles still have an element of mystery about them for many motorists.
From performance to safety, myths and misconceptions about electric cars are widespread. So if you’re having doubts about switching from petrol or diesel to electric and want to sort the fact from the fiction, read on as we tackle some of the most common myths around the newcomer to the mainstream market – the electric car.
1. Electric cars don’t go far enough on one charge
One of the biggest myths surrounding electric vehicles is that they can’t make long journeys. So much so, the fear of running out of electricity before you reach your destination has given rise to the term ‘range anxiety’.
But electric cars have come a long way in the past few years, and on average, most are currently capable of over 100 miles of driving before they need to be re-charged. Some of the newer models are closer to 200 miles or more. That range would get you from London to Leeds easily – a journey on which, let’s face it, most would make a stop at a service station.
Plus, if you choose to lease a car, you’ll only have it for 1-5 years, so when you come to hand your car back, you can swap it for one with higher mileage.
2. Electric cars are slower than petrol/diesel
Nothing could be further than the truth. An electric car can generate power and accelerate quicker than its petrol or diesel equivalents.
With a ‘traditional’ car, you need to rev up the engine to get maximum power, while an electric vehicle will give you maximum torque from the minute you start it. In fact, at the time of writing, the world’s fastest accelerating road car is electric. The Rimac Nivera can hit 60mph in 1.85 seconds and 100mph in 4.3 seconds.
3. Charging an electric car takes too long
How long it takes to charge an electric car depends on the size of the battery and the charging unit. So it can take between 30 minutes and several hours depending on both of these factors.
However, as a new generation of batteries emerges, and charging points become more powerful, the time it takes to charge an electric car is rapidly becoming faster.
For a car with a 6kWh battery, you will be looking at roughly eight hours to fully charge with a 7kW charging point. An eight-hour charge is ideal when charging overnight at home, meaning you don’t have to stop during the day.
4. Electric car batteries are expensive and have to be replaced frequently
The battery in an electric car is a crucial component, so, understandably, the idea of them losing power or holding less charge is concerning. And yes, while petrol and diesel cars have parts that wear out over time, so do electric ones.
However, most electric car batteries last at least ten years, with some lasting up to 20 years. Many manufacturers will also guarantee the performance of their battery for a certain number of years with lengthy warranties.
With most lease cars being new or nearly new, the batteries should still be under warranty and in good condition, so batteries shouldn’t be a huge concern.
5. The manufacturing process means electric cars aren’t green
There is a kernel of truth in this myth, but when you look at the overall environmental footprint of vehicles, we need to consider both manufacturing and powering the car.
While building any car creates carbon emissions from the manufacturing process, electric vehicles can be worse due to their battery packs. The way we generate power is evolving all the time, though, and more electricity is coming from clean sources than ever before, so this process is getting less harmful all the time.
We have to take the whole lifecycle of the car into account, from manufacturing to time on the road. Studies have shown that an electric car has a carbon footprint of around 25% less than its petrol counterpart simply through having cleaner operation when in use.
6. The National Grid can’t cope with the extra demand from electric cars
New petrol and diesel cars will no longer be sold in the UK come 2035, so it’s clear that the future will see more of us behind the wheel of electric cars than ever before. But when we all arrive home from work at 6 pm and simultaneously plug our cars in, how will the National Grid cope?
Although that scenario isn’t hugely realistic, there is a peak time when electricity is in demand in the UK. However, the National Grid is already working to alleviate the pressure faced by a sudden demand, working on the charging infrastructure, and offering financial incentives to charge off-peak.
More energy will also be fed into the grid from renewable sources, such as wind and solar generation, helping ease the load.
7. Electric cars are too expensive
It all depends on whether you’re buying or leasing an electric vehicle. Buying is more expensive because you’re paying to own the asset, and electric cars are more expensive anyway.
Leasing is cheaper because you’re only paying for the depreciating cost of the asset. Investing in an electric vehicle at this early stage of production is too risky for some, so leasing offers an option that’s safer and cheaper.
Also, you have to consider running costs to get an accurate idea of the expense. Naturally, EVs are much cheaper to run, particularly if you charge off-peak. They also generally have lower servicing costs, as they have fewer moving parts.
8. The UK doesn’t have the charging infrastructure in place for electric cars
Most electric cars will charge either at home or work, but that doesn’t mean that public charging infrastructure isn’t important – particularly for those without off-street parking.
The good news is that there are already over 20,000 public charging points around the UK. That number is growing swiftly to meet demand, with companies such as BP and Shell supplying electric charging points at many of their service stations.
9. Electric vehicle batteries cannot be recycled
While many of the components of electric cars are the same as petrol or diesel, one big difference is the battery. Heavier, larger and made up of several hundred lithium-ion cells, the battery in an electric car needs to be dismantled before recycling.
The good news is that manufacturers are themselves taking responsibility with the likes of Volkswagen, for example, opening its first recycling plant, while Renault and Nissan are also recycling all of their electric car batteries.
Currently, special recycling centres process electric vehicle batteries, and some companies will remove them to sell on for commercial use. They are even being repurposed for energy storage – for example, with solar panels, an electric car battery can store the energy they generate, keeping electricity costs down.
10. You can’t drive an electric car in the rain or through a car wash
While it may not come as a surprise to most that you can drive an electric car in the rain and happily take it through the car wash, some still believe this widely perpetuated myth. Indeed, water and electricity aren’t the best mix, but electric cars are extensively tested to ensure they can cope in a wide range of conditions.
Electric car chargers are also waterproof, and charging points are rigorously tested too.
In a nutshell, electric cars are subject to the same safety tests as petrol and diesel cars, so whatever you can do with one, you can do with the other.
11. There isn’t much choice when it comes to electric cars
The rise in popularity of electric vehicles means increasingly more affordable models are coming to the market all the time. Most of the leading car manufacturers offer electric or hybrid versions of their models, and many more are on the way.
When you lease, you can keep your options open, with contracts between 1-5 years long. You’ll always be able to access the latest models when you come to hand your vehicle back.
At Hippo, we offer a wide range of electric and hybrid models. Click here to browse our range.
What about problems with electric cars?
We’ve separated fact from fiction when it comes to electric vehicles, but what about problems?
Like all cars, electric vehicles have problems. Fortunately, we’ve collected them all for you and written an article about it – Problems with electric cars: should they put you off leasing one?
*Correct as of June 2021