Expensive, boring, slow and not so efficient: these are just some of the urban legends about electric cars. But they’re all false! Here’s why.
“I can’t afford it”
Electric cars are becoming increasingly attractive and affordable. For example, the cost of a battery has fallen by around 80 percent in the last ten years. The new Volkswagen ID.3 will cost the same as an equivalent Golf TDI and buyers can benefit from government grants, which in many cases will make it even cheaper. What’s more, the running costs are lower: electricity costs less than petrol and diesel, there is less tax to pay and the costs of service and maintenance are only about a third of those for vehicles with conventional engines. When you look at the total cost of ownership, electric cars are a worthwhile option for an increasing number of people.
“There are not enough charging stations!”
The number of public charging stations is growing rapidly. In Italy, there are now more than 5,500 public charging points, thanks to the combined efforts of public and private actors/entities. Through the service called Volkswagen We Charge, customers will be able to receive electricity from roughly 100,000 stations all around Europe. Finally, it must be kept in mind that about 70% of all charging processes take place at home or at the workplace, meaning that recharging on the road is often unnecessary.
“Charging takes too long!”
You don’t actually need to quick charge an e-car as often as you might think. A fully charged battery can last for days or even weeks in day-to-day use. On longer journeys, on the other hand, the new ID.3 can be charged with a maximum of 100 to 125 kW of power, meaning that during a 30-minute stop at a service station, this amounts to enough electricity for a range of at least 260 km. The charging process is very simple because the car shows you the way to the nearest charging stations and even provides information on the different socket types available as well as whether they are free or occupied.
“Electric cars are only good for cities”
This was true a long time ago. The latest electric cars have ranges of up to 550 kilometres. Considering that the charging infrastructure around Europe is growing from year to year – IONITY is an excellent example of this – taking on longer trips is not a problem at all.
“E-cars are far too dangerous!”
Electric cars guarantee the highest possible degree of safety, just like traditional vehicles. Special safety systems avoid the risk of fire and electric shock. For example, in case of a crash, the electricity flow from the battery is terminated immediately. Furthermore, the lithium batteries are installed in a crashproof block in the underbody, thus protecting them from deformation. Finally, independent tests conducted by ADAC (General German Automobile Club) have repeatedly shown that the risk of fire is far lower with an e-car than with internal combustion engines.
“E-cars do nothing for the climate"
Nothing could be further from the truth! They do indeed! They make a valuable contribution, as they produce far less CO2 than diesel- and petrol-powered cars, even taking into account the production of the car. Currently, over its life cycle, a Golf TDI produces 140 g of CO2 per kilometre, while the e-Golf produces a mere 119 g (on the EU electricity mix). Over the next few years, this environmental advantage will become more and more significant, as an ever-increasing amount of green electricity is fed into the European electricity grid. The ID.3 will also be the first completely carbon-neutral Volkswagen, thanks to advanced processes and dedicated compensation programmes.
“Too many E-cars will overload the grid!”
The Italian electricity grid could easily support a boom in electric car charging requirements. According to a study at Polytechnic University of Milan, if there were 1 million electric vehicles on Italian roads, the increase in the national energy consumption required to charge them would be around 0.3% per year. In energy terms, the impact of an extensive charging network integrated in the electricity grid, even in a futuristic scenario, would nevertheless be marginal.
"It costs jobs!"
Actually, the Volkswagen electric offensive safeguards employment. With the automotive industry in the midst of a structural transformation, electric cars are fundamental to securing jobs in a sustainable manner. Although producing an electric car requires around 30% less effort than manufacturing one with a combustion engine, thanks to a greater market for electric cars and to the leading position that the Group intends to achieve, new prospects will be created for thousands of employees. Almost all the Volkswagen sites in Germany are already involved in the production of the new ID. family and, at the Zwickau plant alone, around 8,000 people will work on these models.
“E-cars are a danger to pedestrians!”
Electric cars are very quiet (precisely because they do not have an internal combustion engine) and in general this is an advantage. There is no reason for e-cars to be considered a risk to pedestrians: at speeds of up to around 30 km/h, the ID.3 will produce a recognisable, futuristic sound – which, incidentally, will be mandatory for all e-cars as of summer 2019. At higher speeds, the rolling noise generated by the tyres will be enough for pedestrians to hear them.
“They’re no fun!”
This is certainly not true: e-engines have plenty of power, particularly when accelerating. Passengers are pushed back into their seats, almost like being on a plane, because electric engines have access to full torque as soon as the accelerator is pressed. Moreover, the positioning of the batteries in the vehicle floor lowers the centre of gravity of the car and improves handling.
“Electric car design? Boring!”
Today, only a trained eye can tell the difference between an e-Golf and a normal Golf. But all that is changing: the Volkswagen ID. family will have a modern, almost futuristic design. As e-engines take up significantly less space than traditional engines, the proportions of the interior design and space can be completely redesigned to create spacious interiors built around the passengers. In future, there will be an e-car for every taste and every requirement. The ID. family will range from a compact car and SUVs to a lifestyle van.
“There are not enough raw materials”
Currently, there is enough lithium to produce batteries for billions of e-cars – and that is not even taking into account the fact that battery technology is constantly evolving: for example, the amount of cobalt required will be reduced to 6% in the medium term. Moreover, in the long term, a battery-recycling rate of up to 97% will be possible, so rare resources will need to be used less and less.
Sources: Volkswagen; MOTUS-E; Enel Foundation