By Linda Margison
As the push for cleaner energy continues to pick up the pace, so too does the interest in electric vehicles.
EVs, as they are known, are being manufactured in an increasing number of shapes, sizes and capabilities.
Unfortunately, misleading information continues to surround electric vehicles. Let’s take the opportunity to bust a few of those myths.
1. Electric vehicles are no better for the climate than gasoline cars.
For many people, the switch from an internal combustion engine (ICE) to an electric vehicle merely represents a switch from oil to coal in the power plants that produce electricity.
While it’s true that there isn’t yet a way to eliminate all pollution, there is a significant advantage over the life of an EV. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electric motors convert 75% of the chemical energy from batteries to power the vehicle. On the other hand, ICEs convert a mere 20% of the energy stored in gasoline. Add in the fact that EVs emit no direct tailpipe pollutants, and the climate myth is busted.
2. Electric vehicles lack the range for daily travel.
According to the latest study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average American drives 40-50 miles per day and nearly 85% of households travel less than 100 miles a day. Most newer EV models can travel more than 200 miles on a fully charged battery.
EV owners also save money in maintenance costs. Consumer Reports estimates the total cost of ownership for an electric vehicle is 50% less than that of an ICE because the drivetrain components have fewer moving parts and don’t require fluid changes.
3. There is nowhere for EVs to charge their battery.
Because many utilities are offering incentives for consumers to either purchase or receive residential Level 2 (240-volt) chargers, EV owners can have their own “gas pump” in the garage and start the day with a full “tank.” EVs can also be charged with the standard Level 1 (120-volt) charger that comes with the vehicle.
To accommodate longer trips, more than 43,000 charging stations — the majority Level 2 — are installed nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In Indiana, funds from the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust are being used to install 61 Level 3 chargers at strategic locations statewide. The Level 3 chargers provide about 50-75 miles of range for every 10-15 minutes of charging, depending upon car and charger variables.
LINDA MARGISON is technical advisor, emerging energy resources for Hoosier Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative, in Bloomington, Indiana