EVs are gaining popularity by the day, but there are a lot of misconceptions about them that might prevent you from considering going electric. Keep reading to learn about how EVs really work, and see why these myths shouldn’t necessarily affect your decision to drive green.
There’s no denying it – electric vehicles are changing the way we drive, and the way we think about cars as a whole. In 2020, electric vehicles accounted for just 4% of all new vehicle sales worldwide. In 2022, that number jumped significantly to 14%1.
Many nations have set goals for reaching net zero emissions in the coming decades, including Australia, which has set a goal for net zero emissions by 20502. One of the major focus areas for these initiatives involves reducing emissions from passenger vehicles – and electric vehicles will lead that charge.
But when it comes to EVs, many people have misconceptions about how they’re made, how many options exist, and how expensive and prohibitive they are to own and maintain. The good news? Many of these common beliefs aren’t totally true.
MYTH: Electric vehicles can’t go very far
One of the most common objections people have when considering an EV is that they simply can’t go far enough without a recharge. For early EVs, this was a valid concern, however, modern EVs usually have a range of 300-600km on a single charge3. That means, for your daily driving, and even many day trips, a typical EV is likely more than up to the challenge.
MYTH: It takes too long to charge an electric vehicle
Charging an EV is not necessarily the same as charging something like a mobile phone – you’ve got options. If you purchase an EV new, it will likely come with a Type 2 home charging system, which can be installed by a licensed electrician. This setup allows you to charge your vehicle at home, and can typically fully recharge the battery overnight.
However, if you’re traveling a longer distance or won’t be at home for a while, there are many publicly accessible fast charging stations across Australia. These stations have Type 3, or ‘fast chargers’ available, which can recharge certain vehicles to full capacity in under half an hour5.
MYTH: Electric vehicles are sluggish
While the earliest EVs may have struggled with power due to tiny batteries, modern EVs are designed to be just as powerful as a traditional petrol vehicle, and in some cases, even more powerful.
Unlike a car with an internal combustion engine, an EV gets the benefit of instant torque7. Torque is the rotational force of an engine or motor that makes the wheels turn7. With instant torque, an electric vehicle has an impressive amount of get-up-and-go. To boot, most electric vehicles have batteries installed along the bottom of the vehicle, which can help lower the car’s centre of gravity, improving handling and zippiness.
MYTH: EVs require more expensive maintenance
One of the most common misconceptions about electric vehicles is that the cost of upkeep – including battery replacement – makes them more expensive to maintain than a traditional car. But with fewer moving parts than a petrol vehicle, there’s simply less to maintain. For example, you’ll never need to replace filters, spark plugs, oil or gaskets in an EV7.
A common concern for prospective buyers is the cost of replacement batteries. However, modern EVs use batteries designed to last as long as the vehicle they're in, and include a solid warranty in most cases. Even better, should you need to replace an EV battery, the cost of batteries has fallen significantly in 2023, and is expected to halve by 20257.
Finally, and possibly most significantly – you’ll never pay for a drop of petrol. By avoiding this expense, the average EV driver saves around $1600 per year9.
MYTH: Battery production is just as bad for the environment
There’s a lot of talk about how building a battery in itself is harmful to the environment. And while it’s true that the production of a lithium ion battery for an EV is more carbon-intensive than the manufacturing of a petrol vehicle, an electric vehicle more than makes up the difference over its lifetime10. An EV’s emissions stop as soon as it’s ready to drive, but petrol vehicles produce tailpipe emissions every time they are driven. Better yet, new extraction processes, battery chemistries and materials are on track to help make the production of EV batteries more sustainable in years to come11.
MYTH: There are only a few EV options
A few years ago, this concern would have been valid. But nowadays, Australians have more than 30 EV options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxury family car, a powerful ute for towing, or just a fun get-around-town car, there’s an EV available. Even if you’re looking for the peak of luxury and speed, you’ve got great options.
MYTH: Electric vehicles will overload the power grid and cause blackouts
Some people have concerns about the stress that will be put on electric grids because of EV charging. In reality, when managed correctly, EVs can actually make grids more reliable. Some new EV models are capable of battery discharging, which means they’re able to put energy back into the connected household or grid during times of peak demand6.
In addition, the Australian government has already begun exploring options for improving energy infrastructure to be capable of handling higher volumes of EV charging13.
The reality? EVs can be a great option
After we put it all together, we've got a fresh perspective on the reality of driving an EV. Contrary to some misconceptions, modern electric vehicles are functional, efficient, powerful and clean, and can be a great choice for drivers who want to do their bit to help the planet, and save on petrol.