Busting Common Electric Vehicle Myths

A new form of mobility has ushered in, bringing with it several misconceptions. Some of the common myths are busted here for you:

Electric vehicles are uneconomical

Fact: Electric vehicles are more economical when you take fuel and maintenance costs.

Every new technology follows an economic path where the initial upfront price is higher. This reaches a maximum and then decreases when people adopt this technology commonly. Electric vehicles are the same, but the higher price points are quickly changing as the costs go down. To help with high initial costs, many subsidies and incentives are offered by the government.

The contribution to reduced life-cycle costs comes from the lower operation and maintenance costs as electric vehicles have fewer moving parts and less wear and tear.

It takes too long to charge

Fact: Cars spend over 90% of the time parked. You can plug in your car in this downtime at home to charge it. If you need to charge quickly on the road, fast and rapid chargers are entering the Indian market. Some electric vehicles can charge from 20% - 80% in about half an hour on these chargers.

The time of electric vehicle charging depends upon the type of charger used. As per the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, currently available electric vehicles across vehicle segments (2-wheeler, 3-wheeler, 4-wheeler) can be charged from 0%-80% in around 1 – 5 hours from Slow/Moderate chargers while using Fast chargers, electric vehicles can be charged in less than 1 hour. Fast chargers are mainly used to charge electric 4-wheelers with bigger batteries.

Electric Vehicle batteries will only last a few years

Fact: Electric vehicle batteries last for several years, and many of them will have a life beyond that of the vehicle for storing energy.

The fear of the short life span of batteries arises when we start comparing it with the batteries of our smartphones. The batteries used in electric vehicles are superior and designed to offer a long service life. Many manufacturers are providing warranties of 5 to 8 years on batteries.

The Emission impacts of an electric vehicle are more than a petrol or diesel vehicle

Fact: Electric vehicles typically have a smaller carbon footprint than Petrol and Diesel Vehicles, even when accounting for the electricity used for charging and the carbon footprint of manufacturing batteries.

Electric vehicles can convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional petrol vehicles can only convert almost 17%–21% of the energy stored in petrol to power at the wheels. Even CNG engines are not entirely clean as they emit ammonia and produce particulate emissions.

While you might argue that electricity generated for electric vehicles also leads to carbon pollution, the amount varies directly with how the local power is generated. India has ambitions to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by the year 2030.

Studies in Europe have shown that petrol or diesel vehicles emit 3 times more carbon dioxide than an equivalent electric vehicle, even when considering the carbon footprint of charging.

Electric vehicles have very low range

Fact: The range of electric vehicles is enough for the typical daily mileage of the average Indian driver.

It’s natural for drivers to be concerned about being stranded with a flat battery miles from a charging station, but as electric vehicles become more commonplace, their range is increasing. The electric vehicles currently available can easily accommodate the average daily mileage of Indian drivers.

As per the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, the average range of electric 2-wheelers currently available in the market is around 84 km per charge, which is enough for day-to-day travel within a city. The average range of electric cars available in the market is between 150-200 km per charge. This range, when considered with the continuously increasing charging infrastructure, makes commuting even inter-cities easier.

Electric vehicles are slow and have bad performance

Fact: Electric vehicles perform better Than petrol or diesel vehicles because they are more efficient and have better acceleration.

Electric vehicles are powered by an electric motor that generates torque instantly without any gears. As soon as you push down the accelerator, the electric vehicles will accelerate from stationary without lag.

India’s electricity grid is not suited for electric vehicles

Fact: Electric vehicles result in a reduction of life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions even with the current Indian grid fuel mix.

India has committed to having 175 GW of installed Renewable Energy (RE) capacity by 2022 and up to 450 GW by 2030. The current weighted average emission factor of the country for the national grid has been nearly constant over the past few years at 0.82 tCO2 / MWh (as of 2018-19).

As the share of renewables increases and dependency on coal decreases, the overall emissions from electric vehicles use will also decrease further.

India’s electric vehicle charging stations are not enough

Fact: When you need to charge while on the road, you’ll find 934 stations in India available to the public. If you can install a charger at home where you park, you can charge your vehicle conveniently there.

There are already 934 charging stations in India with more and more providers, both public and private, entering the space. Measures have been taken by the government to ensure public charging infrastructure penetration further increases. The Ministry of Power (MoP) provides the following minimum requirements for the location of public charging stations:

  • At least one charging station should be available in a grid of 3km x 3km.
  • One charging station to be set up every 25km on both sides of highways/roads

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) amended its Model Building Byelaws (MBBL) 2016 to include the provision of electric vehicle charging in buildings

  • Charging infrastructure shall be provided for electric vehicles at 20% of all ‘vehicle holding capacity’/’parking capacity’ at the premises.
  • The building premises will have to have an additional power load, equivalent to the power required for all charging points to be operated simultaneously, with a safety factor of 1.25.

Electric vehicles get damaged in waterlogged areas and are dangerous to charge in the rain

Fact: An undamaged electric vehicle will have water ingress protection. This means that its electrical components are well-sealed and extremely unlikely to provide an electrical hazard.

All electric vehicles come with compliance to an Ingress Protection (IP) as standard. Most of the electric vehicles have an IP67 rating or more; here 67 represents the protection against two elements - dust and water. To give you reference, anything past 67 is generally used for specialized equipment such as submarines. Thus, your electric vehicle will not have any malfunction and will not conduct electricity in and around water if it has not been previously damaged.