With business and consumer interest in EVs continuously rising, we’ve gone back to basics in this article to answer common misconceptions about EVs.
‘Batteries don’t have enough range yet…’
In the majority of cases, EV batteries have more than enough range for daily use, without needing a top-up charge. Take a mid-market model such as the Hyundai IONIQ 5 as an example. The shortest-range version has a 58kWh battery with a range of more than 200 miles. The average annual mileage for drivers has varied hugely during the pandemic, but in 2019 it was 7,400 – which equates to 20 miles a day.
‘You can’t charge EVs in the rain…’
It is perfectly safe to charge EVs in the rain, as long as there hasn’t been any damage to the connector or socket. Like all electrical items, EVs have an ‘ingress protection rating’ which rates how much protection they have against dirt and water. EVs score a 67, which means they have complete protection against dirt (the 6 bit) and can withstand temporary immersion in water (7). Bear in mind that 66 rated electrical items have ‘complete protection from high pressure jets in all directions’. So even plugging in during a heavy storm will be OK.
‘You can’t tow with an EV…’
EVs are perfectly capable of towing, but there are some things to consider first. The extra weight of the caravan or trailer will almost certainly affect range (just as it does MPG with a traditional car or van), but EVs are heavier too, so just be careful not to exceed the maximum combined vehicle and trailer weight on your driving licence.
‘EVs take too long to charge…’
EVs can charge at various speeds, and it’s usually a case of choosing what you need for each situation. Overnight, from a standard 7kW wallbox, a 50kWh battery would take about six hours to fully charge to around 80%. But public chargers are usually much faster (if more expensive). If the EV can use a 150kW ultra-rapid public charger, that same capacity battery would take 25 minutes. It’s all about using the right charger at the right time: slow overnight, and then topping up during the day if needed to get you to your destination.
‘EVs are too expensive…’
EVs are certainly more expensive to buy outright, mainly because the powertrain is more expensive to manufacture than diesel or petrol engines, with batteries being the main cost. But cost is not just about the sticker price. Strong residual values, lower fuel costs, fewer services and reduced tax bills means that the wholelife costs of EVs can often be lower than that of petrol and diesel equivalents. And that high front end figure can be offset through leasing.
‘Batteries will need replacing…’
Most EV manufacturers offer at least eight-year warranties on batteries, and there is no evidence to suggest that widescale replacement is needed due to degredation in that time. In fact, most batteries (if they have been looked after) will offer plenty of range after that. EV battery life, and range, can be degraded by lots of ultra-rapid speed charging but the energy management systems in them are far more complex than in a mobile phone, for example, and protect the batteries from damage.
‘EVs are not as green as they seem…’
Undoubtedly, there are some environmental concerns about mining for the precious metals needed in EV batteries, and the creation of electricity to power them. But ‘well to wheel’ studies, considering all the effects of production, manufacture and operation, mostly tend to show EVs are cleaner than equivalent petrol and diesel models. An EU study concluded the overall CO2 emissions to run an EV were just under 60g/km, compared to more than 140g/km for petrol and nearly 130g/km for diesel.
‘The electricity EVs use isn’t green…’
You might have seen social posts showing coal-powered stations belching smoke linked to charging EV. But it’s not true: by 2019, zero-carbon electricity production overtook fossil fuels (including gas) for the first time in the UK, while in the last quarter of 2021 wind power contributed more than a quarter of the UK’s total electricity generation, for example. Coal provided only 2% of the UK’s power last year. The National Grid states it is on target to hit for all electricity to come from 100% zero-carbon generation by 2035.
‘The grid can’t cope with millions of EVs charging…’
When the electricity grid struggles with all the kettles switched on at half time in a football match, it might seem unlikely it will cope with millions of EVs. But the National Grid is confident it can, and this is because the way EVs charge is very different. For a start, they won’t all be charging at once. With 2-400 mile range, most will only need to plug in once or twice a week, and use smart charging, often at night when there is lots of spare capacity. And renewable energy is providing a huge boost to capacity: an extra 100 terrawatt hours (TWh) on top of the current 300 TWh consumed.
‘Lots of people can’t charge at home…’
According to research, more than 18 million (65%) British houses have off-street parking, and this figure will only grow as all new homes, as well as those undergoing major renovation, are required to have charge points installed from this year. There are an increasing number of on-street residential charge points too, either installed in lamp posts or using dedicated chargepoints. Funding for more than 6,500 has been approved. However, those who can’t charge at home may be able to do so at work: by the start of this year, the Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme had funded the installation of 22,977 sockets since 2016.
Find chargepoints near you using Allstar’s partnership with Zap Map.
‘Energy bills will soar…’
Certainly, you will see a rise in your electricity bill if you charge an EV at home. But it also depends on your tariff, and when you charge. An EV-specific tariff could see electricity cost only 5p per KWh for a few hours at night, meaning a 50kWh EV would only cost £2.50 to recharge. Standard off-peak is around 19p, so the same charge would cost £9.50. At peak times, around 30p, it would rise to £15.
You can manage these costs using Allstar Homecharge.
‘There are not enough chargepoints…’
There are currently around 55,000 connectors on UK roads for around 750,000 vehicles with plug-in capability, and the Government plans for 300,000 public charging points by 2030. With 30 million vehicles on UK roads, all eventually to be electrified, that might not seem enough. But the combination of increasing range, and more home and work charging and public charging will eventually become a useful top up, rather than the main solution.
Click here to find out how many chargepoints there are in your area.
‘Lots of connectors that don’t fit…’
When EVs were in their infancy, there were a number of different, confusing, charging connectors, including the CHAdeMO system favoured by some Japanese brands. But there are now very few EVs and chargepoints that don’t use the Type 2 and Combined Charging System connector. A Type 2 socket will enable charge at lower speeds, while CCS uses the same upper socket but adds two pins below for fast charging. So most chargepoints and connectors can be used by all vehicles now.
‘Public charging takes too long…’
If you’re in a hurry, you need to find the right chargepoint offering enough speed to not hold you up. You can search online for active chargepoints near you, and indicated speeds, and even pay for it using ZapPay and Allstar. The trick is to only take what you need. Work out how far you can go per every kWh and plan charging accordingly. For example, there’s no point sitting for an hour to get 60kWh and 200 mile range, when 15 minutes to get 15kWh of charge will provide 50 miles, and get you home where you can charge overnight.
At the start an EV can seem confusing, but once you’re up and running it can be surprisingly simple if you plan accordingly. And at Allstar, we’re here to make that change as easy as possible, from managing a fleet and helping employees make the change, to finding chargers and paying for electricity.