Expert Insights

More EV Myths and Misconceptions

Dave Nichols
Jul 2023
Our article on EV Myths was so well received, we thought you might like to hear about a few more. Here, we debunk EV myths about cost, safety, and other controversial topics.
an EV truck being built in the factory

EV Myths and Misconceptions: Part 2

As we all know, the Internet is a great place to spread misconceptions. Our article on EV Myths was so well received, we thought you might like to hear about a few more. You know, like the technology for green cars was actually a gift to our planet involving the reverse engineering of flying saucers from the Roswell crash. Or that the first electric car was designed by Big Foot. We’re still looking into that one, sending a reporter behind the scenes at an obscure company called Sasquatch EV Industries that may be designing a new Ford Bronco EV.

The EV misconceptions that we are dealing with here include such frequently heard myths as that EVs are basically just golf carts, slow and boring. We’ve also heard that some people believe that all-electric cars are unsafe, or that they are too expensive, or no more “green” than the average gasoline-powered car. Well, that kind of talk raises our hackles here at the GreenCars lab. So once again, we offer you five EV Myths that we have busted into tiny bits for your enjoyment.

a green electric car driving on a winding road

EV Myth #1: "EVs are Slow"

This is an easy one to disprove. All you have to do is drive ANY all-electric car and you’ll find that EVs are astonishingly quick, especially from zero to 60 mph. You see, there is no big heavy gasoline engine under the hood. The electric motors in an EV get instant acceleration when you touch the accelerator. There is no gasoline that has to make its way through fuel injection into the motor and then get transferred through the transmission to the wheels. No. In an EV, acceleration happens instantly and can jerk your neck back if you’re not ready for it.

Want to hear some real-world numbers? The Porsche Taycan Turbo S all-electric sedan will rocket you from zero to 60 in 2.6 seconds. That’s faster than the time it takes to read this sentence! It utilizes and astonishing 750 horsepower and has a top speed of 161 miles per hour. The Tesla Model 3 will get you to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 162 miles per hour. Even the more stodgy-looking Model X Plaid will zoom you to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and offer a top speed of 163 miles per hour.

More, you beg with glistening eyes? Very well. The new Lucid Air sedan will blast you from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds with a top speed of 168 mph. But for the ultimate all-electric thrills, automaker Bugatti is working with Rimac to create a supercar called the Nevera. This two-seater will make 1,914 horsepower and 1,740 pound-feet of torque. What that means to the seat of your pants is that you can assault zero to 60 mph in… 1.8 seconds. A quarter mile will blur by in 8 seconds and the car has a top speed of 258 mph. Not too shabby for a golf cart, eh?

an electric Chevrolet in front of a large house

EV Myth #2: "EVs are Too Expensive"

Granted, the high performance EVs we were just talking about are very expensive. On the other hand, a brand-new Nissan Leaf can be had for $28,375. The Mini Cooper SE’s MSRP is $30,750. The newly redesigned Chevy Bolt rolls off the showroom floor at $31,500. And purchasing a new EV comes with many federal, state and local incentives and rebates. Check out our EV Incentives Calculator to see what specific incentives you qualify for.

What is most important to understand about EV prices is that the most expensive component of any all-electric vehicle is the battery pack. This can make up as much as 30 percent of the cost of the EV. The good news is that as consumers adopt EVs, the cost of production continues to drop, and batteries are getting cheaper. New technology and new manufacturing practices contribute to lower the sticker price of EVs. In fact, we have reached that illusive “tipping point” where EVs will soon be no more expensive to purchase than a traditional gasoline-powered car.

At the same time, the residual value of an EV is greater than a conventional vehicle. For instance, A Tesla Model S has the highest residual value of any used car, retaining 9 percent more value after three years than any other brand, with an astounding 58.5 percent retention. Plus, the “running costs” or the cost to actually run and maintain an EV is significantly less than that of a gasoline car.

When charged at home, the average EV will cost you about 3 cents per mile in electricity. Most gasoline cars have 12-to-15-gallon tanks and we don’t have to remind you how much a gallon of regular gas costs today. The average car on the streets gets an EPA-estimated 23 or 24 miles per gallon.. That comes down to an average cost per mile of 10.72 cents per mile for gas cars. Pickup truck owners generally suck more gas, costing 15.81 cents per mile. See the difference?

Besides the cost to fuel your vehicle, electric vehicles really shine when it comes to long-term running costs and maintenance. Think of it this way, so many of the mechanical items you have to replace in a gasoline car, don’t even exist in an EV. An all-electric car is basically a chassis which holds the battery pack, suspension and braking components, and an electric motor at each axle. That’s it. You don’t have to change the engine oil and filter because there isn’t any. The electric motors and battery packs in today’s electric cars are built to last the entire lifetime of the vehicle. We’re talking 20 years.

Electric motor maintenance is limited to changing the coolant every 100,000 miles. Even the regenerative braking systems used in EVs, reduce how often your electric car will need brake rotors or pads. Many EV owners have put 200,000 on their vehicles before needing to change the brakes. You’ll still need to replace the tires as needed, but the overall cost to keep your EV on the road is a fraction of what you are used to with your gas car.

an EV truck being built in the factory

EV Myth #3: "EVs are Unsafe"

The fact is that electric vehicles must meet all the same high safety standards as conventional vehicles. All light duty cars, SUVs, and trucks sold in the United States must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This includes extensive tests of safety equipment, as well as various front and side impact tests under different speeds and conditions performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Separately, EV battery packs must meet their own testing standards. It’s important to know that EVs are designed with additional safety features in place that shut down the electrical system when sensors detect a collision or short circuit. Statistically, battery pack fires are rare. According to a report by AutoinsuranceEZ, all-electric vehicles have just a .03 percent chance of having a battery fire, compared to gasoline-powered cars, that have a 1.5 percent chance of having a fire ignite.

Electric vehicles include battery management systems to maintain the right operating temperature for high voltage batteries inside, and those systems control how fast batteries charge and discharge. Improvements to them as well as the battery cells themselves promise to make EVs even safer.

To make safer battery packs, Tesla is switching from lithium-ion cells to lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Ford and VW are utilizing nickel or cobalt formulas to produce safer batteries. And soon, sold state batteries will replace lithium-ion altogether. Unlike liquid electrolytes present in lithium-ion batteries, the sulfide solid electrolytes used in solid state batteries can withstand extreme temperatures and are much more difficult to catch on fire.

Stay tuned for more EV Myths to be debunked right here at your trusted source on all things EV, GreenCars.