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Top 5 facts about electric cars and myths debunked

Myth busters: there's plenty of misinformation out there around EVs.

Although electric vehicles seem like they’ve only recently popped up out of nowhere to infiltrate any motoring-related conversation, they are far from an overnight sensation, with the development of crude EVs dating all the way back to the mid-19th century. 

If you’re wondering what percentage of cars are electric in terms of global sales, 8.3 per cent of all new light vehicles sales were EVs in 2021 (almost double when compared to 2020) accounting for around 6.75 million electric vehicles.

They’ve definitely been muscling in on the turf of traditional internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicles of late, which has a lot to do with more than 50 countries setting dates to ban the sale of new fossil-fuel-burning cars, including 2025 in Norway; 2030 in the UK, Germany, Iceland and Denmark; 2035 in Canada, Chile, Japan and Thailand; 2050 for Costa Rica and Indonesia (no such date has been set in Australia yet, outside of the ACT, which has gone for 2035). 

Several car manufacturers - including Volvo, Mazda and Jaguar Land Rover - have pledged to go fully electric within the next decade, meaning we’ll see a whole lot more EVs on the roads in coming years (it’s projected that EV sales will be 14 million a year globally by 2025). 

With any new technology comes a wealth of new information to get your head around, and, sadly, occasionally what makes its way online needs to be whacked with a fat ‘FAKE NEWS’ stamp. 

When it comes to electric cars, information is far more helpful when it’s actually correct, so we’ve sorted through a few of the important facts for kids and parents alike, as well as addressing the prevailing myths around EVs, in an attempt to set the record straight. 

Myth: They don’t have enough driving range

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Fact: The modern world is chock full of things to be worried about, and one of them - at least for those unsure about buying an electric vehicle - is concern over whether or not an EV can go far enough to be practical between charges (or ‘range anxiety’, as it’s commonly called). 

Let’s take a look at a couple of EVs that are available in Australia: the Tesla Model 3, the world’s highest-selling EV, and the MG ZS EV, Australia’s cheapest electric car. 

The former has a driving range between 491 and 602km, depending on the variant, and the latter has a range of 320km. 

Considering the average Australian drives 36.4 km per day, it’s clear that you’ll likely get multiple journeys out of your EV before it runs out of charge, so the scenario in which you conk out of juice and are stranded waiting for someone with a very large battery to turn up is highly unlikely, (EVs are very good at reminding you of when the battery needs powering up, too). 

Myth: They take too long to charge

Fact: There are a few variables involved with this one: the size of the EV’s battery, what charging speeds it can handle, where you’re charging it (at home, or on a public charger) and how powerful the charger is (AC, or DC, which is capable of delivering truly rapid fast-charging). 

All that aside, you’ll easily be able to fully charge the average EV overnight on a domestic wallbox charger, where typically you’ll get a battery from empty to full in approximately six to eight hours. If you have access to a DC fast-charger and your EV is compatible with high-voltage DC charging, you can add up to 300km of range in 30 minutes. 

Car manufacturers are constantly working on battery technology, with batteries that can fully charge in as little as five minutes currently under development. 

Myth: There’s nowhere to charge EVs

Fact: Globally, around 70 to 80 per cent of people charge their EVs at home, which is unsurprising, since pretty much everyone would have a wall socket at home. 

In terms of public EV-charging infrastructure, Australia has started catching up over the last few years after a sluggish start. We currently have 291 public fast-charging locations and 1580 regular AC-charging locations in the country, with the Labor government stating it wants to create a $500 million investment in a national EV charging network, with a plan to build charging stations at an interval of 150 kilometres on major roads across Australia. 

Australian state and territory governments are also putting funding towards charging infrastructure, with the NSW government alone committing $131 million to co-fund 1000 fast-charging bays across 250 sites.

Myth: They’re too expensive

Fact: It’s true that the upfront costs for EVs are currently quite high, but what needs to be taken into account is the money you’ll save over the entire life-cycle of the car. 

Firstly, you’ll never have to pay for fuel again, and will only have to shell out a comparatively small amount for electricity (or nothing at all, if you’re able to pull the electricity from solar energy, rather than the grid). 

EVs also require far less in the way of regular maintenance, since they have far fewer moving parts (around 200, compared to the 2000 or so you’ll find in an ICE vehicle). 

An increase in demand for EVs and a decrease in the cost of manufacturing batteries will also see prices drop, with EVs expected to reach price parity with ICE vehicles as soon as 2025. 

Myth: EVs are just as bad for the environment as traditional cars

Fact: Not true. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, and thus create no pollution while in motion, which already puts them ahead of ICE vehicles, even if greenhouse gases are still created in the manufacturing of the EV, or the generating of the electricity needed to power them. 

With several car manufacturers pledging to become carbon neutral in the near future and programs emerging to recycle EV batteries, the “greenness” of EVs is only going to get better, or greener, as time goes by.

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