UK government publication debunks electric vehicle myths


As consumer interest in electric vehicles has grown, the wave of anti-EV myths and misinformation has turned into a tsunami – false and misleading information is spreading through social media, popular magazines and local newspapers like the tides in the Bay of Fundy.

Here on the EVannex blog, we regularly post accurate information that contradicts much of the common anti-EV cod (see my recent three-part series: Debunking EV Myths, Parts One, Two, and Three, and my article more ironically, Snarky answers silly questions about EVs), and our colleagues at the EV press do the same. We know what we’re talking about – we’ve owned electric vehicles for years and regularly talk to industry experts about the challenges of electric mobility.

However, to some extent we are preaching to the electric choir – our readership is looking to people who are already familiar with EVs. The ‘average driver’ may be more likely to get their information from a ‘Considering to buy an electric vehicle?’ » article in a local newspaper (written by a mainstream journalist who means well, but is not knowledgeable on the subject), or even worse, one of those “dirty little EV secrets” articles (bought and paid for by the oil industry or some even more sinister entity).

Automakers, who (finally) want consumers to buy their electric vehicles, and governments, who are spending taxpayer dollars to promote electric vehicles, need to do a lot more to educate drivers. The UK Department for Transport has taken a step in the right direction with a new publication called Common Misconceptions About Electric Vehicles.

For better or worse, I’ve become something of a professional EV myth buster, and my expert assessment of this post is that it’s pretty good. It covers all the most common ducks, plus a few seemingly UK-specific ones that even I had never heard of before. It briefly introduces the material, in plain language as befitting the intended audience of EV-curious car buyers, and includes links to more detailed information.

Myths to bust (or more accurately objections to overcome) are presented in the correct order, starting with the most common. Item #1 isn’t exactly a myth, and it’s the biggest barrier to wider EV adoption right now: EVs are too expensive. DfT boffins rightly point out that electric vehicles cost more to buy, but offer a lower lifetime cost of ownership, thanks to lower fuel and maintenance costs. UK tax incentives provide an added bonus.

The writers have succinctly no less than 19 common bugaboos. Not enough range? 99% of car journeys in England are under 100 miles, and there are over 20 models available on the UK market with a range of over 200 miles. Does building an EV generate more emissions than it saves? Actually no. “This has been debunked in many highly respected studies.” Do the batteries wear out after five years? Not even a little. “There are well over 10 million electric vehicles on the roads of the world, [and] there is no evidence to suggest that their lifespan is any different from that of a petrol or diesel vehicle.

As we move down the list, the objections get more fanciful. Can electric vehicles be driven or charged in the rain? “Electric vehicles must comply with strict technical rules…including crash and electric safety,” the report’s authors dryly write. “This means they can be safely driven and charged in a wide range of weather conditions.” I was a little disappointed not to see a flash of British ironic humor here, but you can’t always have what you want, can you?

Unlike the previous item, a few of the items in the list are legitimate concerns. Car owners who lack off-street parking are facing charging issues, and the reliability of public charging stations currently leaves much to be desired. The authors of the report acknowledge these problems and highlight the steps taken by government agencies to address them. The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme provides grants to local authorities to increase the availability of on-street charging stations on residential streets where off-street parking is not available. Legislation that will impose a 99% reliability standard for fast-charging stations is due to be introduced in Parliament later this year.

British government publication here: UK Department of Transport, Common Misconceptions About Electric Vehicles

Originally published by EVANNEX.
Written by Charles Morris


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