Over the years we’ve all heard multiple myths about electric cars and even believed that some of these might be true. Some of these electric car myths seem believable and even have some truth in them but are construed in a way to make electric cars seem worse. When a vast majority of people know very little about electric cars its easy get them believe something that seems like it might be true. Here are the most common electric car myths and the truth behind them.
Charging Takes a Long Time
I don’t know if some people are intentionally misleading people on the charging rates of electric cars or if they really are just that dumb. I have seen so many used electric car listings that show the charge time of 4-6 hours. Some of them saying 8-16 hours. If you charge it using the wall charger then yes, it might take 18 hours. Charging it with the level 2 charger might take that long if the car is completely empty. The only time people will use those is when charging overnight or stopping at a store. Electric car drivers stopping to charge at a fast charging station (like they are used to doing at a gas station) will charge up in 15-30 minutes depending on the type of electric car. Its that simple.
The Batteries Wont Last Long
I’ve actually had some random person walk up to me while charging my car and use that as a talking point. This has also been heard across many news platforms and is just bad information. Truth is electric car batteries actually out live the life of the car which is kind of cool. So when the axles and car body is so worn down from driving that it makes sense to get a new car, the batteries in those cars will still be good and usable. There’s actually a warehouse in the UK that has stacked columns of used Nissan Leaf batteries to use as backup battery banks for the power grid which is a really smart use of these batteries. The first generation Leafs were made in 2011 and many people have put hundreds of thousands of kilometers on these cars. In some cases when a few battery cells go bad its common for the dealership to just replace the entire battery. Other companies can then buy these and use the other 98% of the good battery cells for purposes like battery banks. There are so many junked/wrecked Tesla vehicles with good batteries in them that this has become a very lucrative second hand market. These Tesla batteries often go on to power DIY electric cars around the world because of how reliable the batteries are.
Electric Cars are Bad in Snow
Turns out electric cars a great in snow for a variety of reasons. Before I get to that I’ll you tell the 1 reason they sometimes aren’t good in snow and that’s because of the cold. Batteries lose their charge rate faster in extreme cold but gas powered cars also lose range for similar reasons. With electric battery packs though they can have battery conditioners that try to keep them at an optimum operating temperature to help prevent this.
Now, here’s why electric cars in the snow are actually kind of awesome. Low center of gravity helps keep them from sliding. All that weight giving them that low center of gravity is also really good for tire traction and the high torque can help pull them out of some conditions. I’ve actually driven a 2013 Nissan Leaf (which is front wheel drive) in the middle of a snow storm uphill to Whistler, BC Canada. I do not recommend doing that but it turns out front wheel drive electric cars with proper tires are really good for driving in winter. I can only imagine an all wheel drive electric car like a Tesla would be a serious upgrade and nearly perfect in the snow.
Electric Cars are Dangerous
All cars are dangerous at some level. Every time an electric car catches fire (which isn’t that often) its all over headline news because it fits the narrative being pushed. If traditional fossil fuel powered vehicles made headline news every time there was an accident because of a design flaw or manufacturing error it would be on repeat 24/7. Look at the amount of recalls for fossil fuel powered vehicles over the past 15 years. Its in the millions. So many people have died or been injured because of failing mechanisms on gas powered cars of the past two decades alone. You can see videos on YouTube of gasoline engines randomly bursting into flames on the highway or at stoplights. There’s literally confined explosions happening hundreds of times per minute under the hood of a gas powered car (which is how they work) with an explosive fuel tank attached to it and somehow electric cars are more dangerous?
The only issue seen in some electric cars is when there is a faulty battery cell, poorly made battery chemistry or one of the batteries becomes contaminated with something like moisture (which all battery packs are designed to be waterproof even when submerged). In the rare occasion one of those cells can catch fire causing the other cells to catch fire. This is extremely rare and no where near as common as the news makes it out to be. Compare this to the thousands of things that can go wrong with constant explosions happening inside a gas car engine and a fuel tank full of gasoline at the other end.
In regards to safety features, all of Tesla’s vehicles are some of the safest if not the safest cars to be in. Electric cars using the skateboard style platform also have very large crumple zones because there is no engine. Due to the low center of gravity in electric cars it is also very unlikely to have rollovers. So not matter how we look at it electric cars are actually safer for a variety of reasons.
Electric Cars aren’t Clean Because They use Electricity from Coal Fired Powered Plants
Electric cars can be powered with electricity made from anything. They are only as clean as the type electricity they use. So as an example, the argument commonly used in Australia is that “electric cars aren’t clean because they use electricity from coal fired powered plants“. That’s only true if the person is using grid power from those coal fired power plants. Some people charge at home using solar on their roofs. This is why so many people in Australia want sustainable energy from sources like solar and wind. They know where there energy comes from and they want to change it. So as long as the government in Australia (who backs the coal industry) prevents that from happening, they can use that myth to dissuade people from buying electric cars.
Mining Lithium for Car Batteries is Bad for the Environment
It turns out this is currently true but has a solution that will make this a myth once its implemented which I’ll explain in a moment. Mining lithium is bad for the environment. So is drilling for oil, oil spills and billions of tons of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere but the issues with lithium mining doesn’t give the oil industry the excuse to continue doing business as usual. This is a common diversion tactic which is to point out something that is a legitimate issue with the competition to put them on the defense. Nothing is perfect and everyone knows this. And for the record these are the exact same materials used to power everyone’s cellphone and laptops but somehow this is the electric cars fault?
Now, the lithium mining is an issue (as of the publishing date this article) but just like where electric cars get there electricity from can be solved, so can the lithium mining issue. Electric cars came onto the market so fast that demand for the materials to make them couldn’t keep up. So when it comes to things like nickel and lithium, whoever can keep the supply going is who gets paid. Often these mines are not using modern practices and happen to be in the poorest countries with the poorest conditions. Electric car companies know this is an issue and some are actively working on fixing the supply chain. Tesla for example has recently filed a patent for mining lithium from clay minerals. They described it as extracting lithium from the material and putting the material back with very little to no damage done to the environment. So the ethics and environmental safety of how these materials are made and mined are constantly and rapidly evolving. At the rate Tesla does things it will probably be sooner than later.
Another topic that is rarely talked about (which is odd considering how profitable it is) is that most if not all of the materials used to make electric car batteries can be recycled and even used to make new batteries. So at some point theoretically less an less material will have to be mined because we will have so much lithium in the recycling loop to make batteries. A sort of “sustained level” that doesn’t have such a high peak of raw demand. There have been numerous and very profitable companies started to do that very thing. Recycle electric car batteries for the raw materials. The former right hand guy at Tesla, JB Straubel started a company called “Redwood Materials” in order to recycle electric car batteries. So even he sees the potential and the future of the industry.
Electric Cars will Bring Down the Energy Grid
I haven’t run the exact math on this, but we would have to do something like double or triple the amount of fast chargers and then intentionally plug them all in at the same time to mess up the power grid. Even then I don’t think that would work. Power grids tend to go down when everyone in a state has their air conditioner running on an already stressed system due to other factors like because of a heatwave. So there are multiple problems going on at the same time. Its not going to be caused by electric cars. There are only so many fast chargers (these are the ones with high drawing power) and only so many people are going to be plugged in at the exact same time. Even when more people have electric cars a vast majority of people charge at home at night because its way cheaper. Electric automakers have the data and that’s what the data shows from vehicle charging. Its fractions cheaper to charge at home and the car is going to be sitting there for at least 8 hours anyway. This is when there is less pressure on the grid and electricity is also cheaper this time of day. “Slow charging” which is the level 2 chargers or the even slower charging (plugging into your standard electrical outlet) has very low draw of electricity anyway.
By the time everyone has electric vehicles (which is going to be a while) at the rate sustainable energy is expanding (wind, solar, hydro and geothermal) the amount of power available in the electrical grid will be more than enough. The energy grid doesn’t stay stagnant. As society grows and expands so does the energy grid.
Where are Electric Car Myths Coming From?
Clearly we can see that these electric car myths have had something construed in a way to make them seem true when they’re not. So why would there be so much myth and controversy over a car powered by electricity? Literally trillions of dollars, government corruption and millions of people around the world afraid of change being fed these myths to affirm their beliefs. That was a lot to unload in one sentence but unfortunately it seems that’s where everything is pointing to.
Its public knowledge and in the open that oil companies have “think tanks” and PR companies to come up with ideas and run stories in order to discredit any work being done to electrify the transpiration industry. Fossil fuel powered transport has been their “bread and butter” for the past century and they don’t want change. They’re not invested in it. So they can’t profit from it. Its less expensive for the oil industry to pay think tanks, PR companies for propaganda and pay for ads at news corporations who in turn don’t run negative press on they’re contributors. In this situation, there’s extra incentive for news corporations to say negative things about electric cars because controversy sells. Anyone involved with profit from the oil industry at any level has financial incentive to spread myths about electric cars. There are also politicians who unfortunately in some way or another are involved with oil companies. So when laws are passed, bills are made and taxes are set they are usually in favor of oil companies and against electric car companies. Some of these politicians have even openly said negative things about electric cars without reason and are even heard repeating the myths as propaganda. Thankfully, there are some ethical people in these positions that are passing good laws, progressive bills and reforms in order to help make the future more sustainable and do the right thing. For the climate, our future and for clean transport. That’s how things are supposed to be. The best idea wins when all the choices and science are on the table. People decide with their money at that point. The thing that makes the most sense wins. Fear, propaganda and myths are brought into the light and exposed for what they are. If you’ve heard any other electric cars myths leave them in the comments below and bring them to light. I’d imagine there are some interesting ones out there.