Electric car myths busted

Electric car myths

Electric cars spend a lot of time doing this. That and other myths explained. (Picture © Nissan)

New research from the Government and Britain’s car industry claims 62 per cent of potential car buyers believe the electric car myths that surround battery powered and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The survey by Go Ultra Low reviews drivers’ attitudes to electric or Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs). It claims a third have considered purchasing a ULEV, while nearly a third believe it’s more expensive to buy, own and run a ULEV over five years compared to a conventional car. Here we bust some of the more popular electric car myths. 

Electric car myths: They’re more expensive to own than normal cars
It depends on the car, your mileage and the costs you consider. Electric cars can be dramatically cheaper to run than conventionally fuelled equivalents if you do a low mileage and live in a city.

Go Ultra Low says drivers could save £860 a year in fuel and tax by switching to an electric vehicle. It claims electric vehicles cost 2p per mile to fuel while a combustion-engined car would cost 12p. This assumes the conventional car is doing 40mpg; many are more efficient than that now. Go Ultra Low’s road tax calculations assume the conventional car has a relatively high 141g/km CO2 emissions. Again, many new non-electric cars have sub 100g/km CO2 emissions which makes them road tax exempt.

Where electric cars really lose out is in holding their value. Car valuation expert CAP Automotive claims the Nissan Leaf will lose 82 per cent of its new value over three years and 60,000 miles. Over the same time and miles, the electric Ford Focus will lose 81 per cent of its new value. CAP believes the total cost of ownership of the electric Focus will be 47p per mile; a regular 1.6 petrol Focus is just 29p per mile.

Electric car myths: They take hours to charge up
It depends on where you charge them. If you need to charge up an electric car at home and its battery is flat, it could take up to eight hours. However, if you use a fast charger, you can get an 80 per cent refill in around 40 minutes.

Electric car myths: They cannot be charged at home
False. Although nearly 10 per cent of drivers don’t think you can charge electric cars at home, you can. You can refill one wherever you have a regular three-pin plug socket.

Electric car myths: They can’t be driven on the motorway
False. You can drive any car on the motorway as long as it can exceed the legal minimum speed limit of 30mph. Electric models by major manufacturers such as Nissan, Audi and Renault can easily match the 70mph legal limit. Drivers of the Reva G-Wiz have even taken their two-seat tiddlers on the motorway. But on an owners’ forum the majority said they’d never do it and the next highest vote was from drivers who had done it and would never do it again!

Electric car myths: They won’t do more than 200 miles per charge
It depends on the vehicle. The ground-breaking Tesla Model S, a luxury saloon, claims a range of 265 miles on a single charge. Other cheaper models such as the electric Smart or Renault Zoe can manage around 120 miles. The real-life range is dependent on the kind of driving you do: the speed you’re doing, how hilly the route is, wind direction and whether you use functions such as air-con and windscreen wipers which all draw charge. In some cases it can be as low as 80 miles.

Electric car myths: It’s dangerous to drive them in the rain
False. You can drive them in any conditions.

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