When it comes to new car registrations, electric vehicles are leading the charge, and the growth of the EV market is expected to accelerate in the coming years as the UK prepares itself for the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales.
However, as with any new technology, it takes a while to shake off outdated and inaccurate perceptions.
We’ve unpicked 10 common misconceptions to help you make an informed choice…
Myth 1: Electric cars cannot meet people’s travel needs
Reality: Most new EVs have ranges of between 200-300 miles. The average daily UK commuting distance is around 25 miles in total, while 99% of car journeys in England are under 100 miles.
Myth 2: Electric cars cannot be driven or charged in the rain
Reality: Just like petrol and diesel cars, EVs have to comply with tough technical rules prior to entering the market, including crash and electrical safety. This means they are safe to drive and charge in a wide range of weather conditions. Drivers should take the usual precautions by following the manufacturer’s instructions, only using the correct charging cable and ensuring the EV and cable are not damaged. As with any vehicle, drivers should also consult the owner manual for guidance on the maximum depth of water a car is safe to drive through.
Myth 3: EVs take too long to charge
Reality: The latest generation of electric vehicles, like the Kia EV6, have an 800-volt system, which enables the car to recharge from 10-80% charge in just 18 minutes using an ultra rapid 350kW charger. The more affordable Volkswagen ID.3 has a charge time of 35 minutes (5-80%) using a 100kW fast charger
Myth 4: Electric cars are too expensive
Reality: Starting at just over £20,000, EVs are more expensive than their ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) counterparts, but the gap is narrowing as the choice of electric vehicles grows, there’s more competition and increased economies of scale. If you’re buying using a finance deal such as PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) the gap between ICE cars and EV is relatively small on a monthly basis. The used EV market is also taking off with second-hand Nissan Leafs available for less than £10,000. Finally, unlike traditional cars, EVs are currently completely exempt from Road Tax and they can cost as little as a third to run, so the upfront cost is greater, but the overall total cost of ownership is lower.
Myth 5: There’s hardly any choice of new EVs
Reality: Most manufacturers now have at least one pure EV in their range (Kia has three) and they come in all shapes and sizes. In all there are more than 60 models available in the UK and the choice is growing fast as car makers rush to meet demand.
Myth 6: Electric vehicles can’t tow a caravan
Reality: Some EVs have manufacturer-type approval for towing caravans, horseboxes and trailers. Examples of EVs with a 1,500kg limit for a braked trailer (ie capable of towing most caravans) include the Tesla Model X, Polestar 2, SsangYong Korando e-Motion, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Myth 7: Electric cars are dull to drive
Reality: Most EVs accelerate as fast as the supercars and hot hatches of yesteryear, and while some are more focused on comfort, others like the MINI Electric, Polestar 2, Kia EV6, BMW i4 and the Porsche Taycan offer serious amounts of dynamism and driver engagement.
Myth 8: There aren’t many places to charge an electric vehicle
Reality: At the end of June 2022, there were 32,663 charging points in the UK, across 19,960 charging locations. That’s 829 more than the previous month and a 34% increase in the number of charges since June 2021. These figures do not include the many charge points installed at home or at workplace locations, which are estimated to be more than 400,000.
Myth 9: Electric cars are not as safe as conventional cars
Reality: EVs are some of the safest cars on the road. Most new electric vehicles have a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating – the highest safety award available in Europe. In fact, Euro NCAP’s 2021 Best in Class awards was dominated by EVs including Polestar 2, Volkswagen ID.4, BMW iX and Skoda Enyaq iV.
Myth 10: EV batteries lose range fast
Reality: Most electric vehicles have an eight-year/100.000-mile battery warranty. EV batteries are generally expected to retain 70% to 80% of their capacity over 10 years. So, unless you’re planning to hold onto your electric car for 20 years or so, battery degradation should not pose a problem for you.