The time for electric cars seems to have come. But not everybody has the ability or the desire to buy one. Here we will look at a few myths about electric cars.
1. Myth: They Are Just Too Expensive
Fact: They will get cheaper
For people who usually buy cheap, second-hand cars say new electric cars are too expensive. But if they buy new cars, electric cars can be surprisingly affordable.
For example, Renault Zoe costs around N6,300,000 compared to a Tesla, which costs nearly six times’ more. The Smart Fortwo, at N8.9 million, is another affordable model. As more people choose electric cars, the price of a new one will come down and there will be a healthy market in second-hand ones.
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The most important point is – even if the upfront cost seems high, they are much cheaper to run.
2 Myth: They Are Expensive to Own
Fact: Running and maintenance costs are low
In the excitement of buying a car, the new owner may overlook the costs of running it. All cars must be registered and insured, maintained and fueled in some way. This is where electric car wins.
It is only N300 to recharge a car to travel 500 kilometers compared to over N4,000 to fill it up with petrol or diesel. Electric vehicles have no combustion engine or spark plugs, exhausts, fuel and oil filters and radiators. Mechanics need service only the tyre rotation and brake fluid.
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3. Myth: Too Difficult to Charge
Fact: Takes some time but will improve
Many potential buyers are deterred by the fear they will suddenly run out of charge (range anxiety). This is why many countries are rapidly installing charging stations.
However, many electric cars can be charged using normal household sockets. This is not the quickest option, as it takes 8-12 hours to recharge. However, it is better for the electricity grid as most charging happens overnight when demand is low.
Once again, as more people buy electric cars, infrastructure providers will want to invest in charging stations.
4. Myth: They Are Green
Fact: It depends on the power source
In Nigeria, the majority of power is coal-fired and the rest is hydroelectric. This means much of the electricity used by an electric car is “dirty energy”, as in the US and Australia. Until electric cars can run on renewable energy, it is doubtful whether they are any greener than a petrol car.
However, they still have environmental advantages. They do not emit poisonous gases in the street and they are also much quieter than standard cars.
5. Myth: They Are Slow
Fact: They accelerate quickly
Electric motors can generate instant and full torque from a standstill. They are no slower to accelerate than conventional vehicles. Some of the bigger models can also tow heavy loads, such as caravans.
Manufacturers are well aware buyers will not sacrifice performance for social or environmental credentials.
6. Myth: They cost more to insure
Fact: It depends on which insurance you have.
In Nigeria, you have to have third party insurance to drive on the roads. This is the cheapest level of insurance. There is no special insurance cover for electric vehicles. For example, Indian owners of electric vehicles now pay 15% lower premiums on third-party liability insurance.
It may be worth paying for comprehensive or third party fire and theft cover for any brand new vehicle. Comprehensive, in particular, covers all accidental damage to the new car, fire, theft, and accidental damage to the other person’s car, or injuries or death.
The Senate in Nigeria recently voted against a bill to phase out petrol-fuelled vehicles and bring in electric cars before 2025. Perhaps it was too soon to bring in such a bill. But electrification is not a myth and it is coming.