1708962889 Myths about electric cars They catch fire take a long

Myths about electric cars: They catch fire, take a long time to charge and are not suitable for long journeys | Climate and environment

“Electric cars catch fire all the time.” “It takes many hours to charge.” “The batteries don't have enough autonomy.” “There's nowhere to charge them.” “You need a diesel for a long trip.” Zero -Emission vehicles generate a lot of false news and exaggerations, also because the majority of the population has not yet tried them: according to the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (Anfac), 54,857 electric vehicles were sold in 2023. In Spain it was 5.7% of all. With the help of industry experts, we analyze the most important myths – some of which have some truth.

“They come out at least minimally burning.”

It's a joke. “Electric vehicle fire rates are lower than those of internal combustion engine vehicles, as NHTSA – the US federal highway safety agency – has shown in its reports,” said David de Diego, electrical engineering legal expert at the Association of Insurance Experts and Breakdown Commissioners (APCAS). ). “These vehicles can burn due to a very strong impact or due to a manufacturing defect.” What is certain is that when they burn they enter an electrochemical spiral and you have to know how to extinguish them because adding water doesn’t work. It is better to use thermal blankets that smother the fire.” In Norway, the country with the largest electric car adoption in the world, there were four to five times more fires in gasoline and diesel cars than in electric cars. Meanwhile, the European Lashfire Project concluded that neither the total energy released nor the toxins released are greater in an electrical fire than in a thermal fire.

“They often break.”

No. “The electric vehicle differs from its combustion mirrors by the simplicity of its mechanics, since it has no elements of friction or wear, requires hardly any repairs and its inspections are very simple,” says Arturo Pérez de Lucia, director of Aedive, the electric vehicle association. Luis ValdesPopularizer for electromobility, third: “Most manufacturers give very high guarantees, of 150,000 or even 200,000 kilometers, because they know that it is very difficult to break down with them.” Alvaro Sauras, vice president of the Association of Electric Vehicle Users (AUVE) and director of Autofácil magazine, adds: “With a gasoline car, after 120,000 kilometers, you assume that parts will need to be replaced.” With an electric car it is very difficult, before 300,000 hours to have a problem. Miguélez, director of the National Association of Vehicle Sellers (Ganvam), counters: “The batteries weigh a lot, so it is likely that the wheels will wear out earlier.” It is true that if there is a blow that affects the battery, the repair will be more expensive than with the combustion battery.

Interior of an electric car at a gas station. Interior of an electric car at a gas station. ALEX ONCIU

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“The battery needs to be changed after seven years.”

Probably not. “LFP type batteries, which are the most common, can last between 2,000 and 5,000 cycles. With a bike length of 500 kilometers, it would be between one and 2.5 million kilometers. The only thing that can happen before that is that it loses a little autonomy (no more than 10%), says Lars Hoffman, tester of these models on the All Electric channel. It is true that a few years ago there was more serious battery degradation, but now that no longer happens and they are also covered by the manufacturer's warranty. Expert De Diego points out: “Batteries continue to evolve every year and respond better than expected.” In addition, electric drivers tend to drive more efficiently to charge the engine, which extends the life of the battery.”

“There are very few charging points.”

Aedive points out that in October 2023 there were already 27,420 publicly accessible charging points in Spain, so the data for the end of the year will be close to 30,000. And another 8,000 are in administrative proceedings. “With current batteries and powerful recharging, the user experience is similar to that of combustion vehicles,” says the manager. True, ultra-fast chargers – more than 150 kilowatts (kWh) – only make up 6% of the total, according to a count by EL PAÍS. In the main corridors there is usually no problem, but in the most remote areas there is a problem. It is advisable to plan the trip and stopovers in advance. Luis Valdes points out: “Traveling with an electric car is easy, the problem is more the lack of slow charging points in the city, for those who don’t have a garage.”

Myths about electric cars They catch fire take a long

“Batteries have little autonomy.”

One of the most widespread myths is that batteries offer little autonomy. “The problem is that there are people who think that it has to last 800 kilometers like a diesel, but the truth is that in everyday life you rarely drive more than 200 or 300 kilometers, and that too.” “The current ranges are enough,” says Félix García, spokesman for the automobile association Anfac. Hoffman from Todos eléctricos adds: “Nowadays, any electric car can cover 300 kilometers on the highway for around 30,000 to 40,000 euros, and even more in the city.” Miguélez from Ganvam emphasizes that with most electric vehicles you can already cover the entire distance in normal use Can move around the city on a single charge for a week. The vehicles with the highest range of 600 to 700 kilometers are already in the highest price range. “There is little mention of the fact that range increases when you slow down or go downhill. “One of the great pleasures of driving an electric car: seeing the battery charge while driving efficiently and taking advantage of the gradients,” says May López of Companies for Sustainable Mobility (EMS).

“It takes a long time to load.”

Depends on. “It must be taken into account that there are two types of charging: the slow one, which is done at home and which can take eight or ten hours, and the fast one, more occasional and when traveling, which can take 15 hours.” to 30 Minutes,” says Hoffman. “But if you think about it, it's normal to stop, have a coffee and go to the toilet, so it doesn't add much to the travel time. And that is largely compensated for by slow charging processes where you just plug the device in and forget it, whereas with an internal combustion engine you would have to drive to the gas station once or twice a week,” he adds. Miguélez from Ganvam, third: “In addition, there are more and more convenience charging devices that can be used in supermarkets or public parking lots while doing another activity.”

Several electric cars at a collective charging station. Several electric cars at a collective charging station. Mario Tama (Getty Images)

“You can’t buy an electric car if you don’t have a garage.”

In this case there is a certain basis. “If you don’t have a regular slow charging point, which could be at home or at work, that’s not the ideal situation,” admits AUVE’s Sauras. This is an obstacle in a country where 65% of the population lives in apartments and 16% rents (INE data), meaning that much of the urban population does not have a garage or parking spaces nearby. “To make it easier, many slow charging points would need to be introduced in cities, as is already happening in the Netherlands or the UK, where almost every street lamp can be converted into one of these points,” he continues. This measure would require the participation of city councilors.

“They’re just for getting around the city.”

Some of the cheapest vehicles are designed for city trips that do not exceed 200 kilometers per day – which is the most common – while the middle class will allow you to cover just over 300 kilometers on the highway. “If you drive with the sole interest of getting there quickly and without stopovers, you will still prefer a combustion car, but for a normal trip with stopovers it will not take longer,” says Hoffman, adding: “I have been driving an electric car. “I have been driving the vehicle for five years and have never had a problem. For example, I drove from Madrid to Warsaw in two days. Miguélez from Ganvam suggests: “Electric cars – car sharing – which are very popular in cities, make a lot of sense in rural areas because they encourage the use of shared vehicles in depopulated areas.” This is what the Vive program does, for example brings vehicles to small towns in empty Spain.

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“You need 25 apps to charge.”

It's a bit exaggerated, but there's some truth to it. “Many electricity users have between eight and ten charging applications, although there are more and more points where you can pay by card,” says Sauras from AUVE. Anfac's García adds: “There are applications that allow you to pay with different companies, but there is still a lack of interoperability between operators.” And he asks to take a look at Portugal, which has a universal payment system at charging stations has introduced. “If we triple our sales of pure electric vehicles, it is clear that there is something we are not doing well with.” You don’t have to invent anything, you just have to copy these countries,” he emphasizes. Luis Valdés, a long-time user, explains: “I travel around Spain with four apps that I trust, but it would require a unified registration that works in real time.” The Ministry of Ecological Transition has not yet created a state registry.

A Tesla driver charges his vehicle on Europastraße in Barcelona.A Tesla driver charges his vehicle on Europastraße in Barcelona. Albert García

“They are much more expensive.”

Yes and no. “There is a price difference for the most fuel-efficient vehicles. For example, the car of the year 2023, the Jeep Avenger, costs 36,000 euros for the electric drive and 22,000 euros for the gasoline engine. But from 40,000 euros they are worth just as much,” says Hoffman, who tests one electric car per week. Sauras from AUVE adds: “Chinese models reduce prices significantly.” With 204 hp and a range of more than 300 kilometers, the BYD Dolphin costs 32,000 euros and is better than combustion cars in this price range. Prices go down every year. And then there's the energy: if you drive around 30,000 kilometers a year, you can save around 2,000 euros in fuel.” In addition, the Moves Plan help can be up to 7,000 euros per vehicle, although with a long delay in getting there Collection.

“They pollute more when they are manufactured.”

Manufacturing batteries requires a lot of energy — which may or may not be renewable — and mining, but the carbon footprint is offset over the life of the car because no fossil fuels are needed, according to various reports from the International Council on Clean Transportation ( ICCT) and Transport & Environment (T&E). The latter company has developed a tool to compare total emissions from cars (manufacture and use) based on many variables. “On average, an electric vehicle emits three times less CO2 than its combustion equivalent when manufactured in Europe, and its footprint is also smaller even when manufactured in China,” concludes Carlos Rico of T&E.

“They’re a passing fad.”

“This myth is based on the fact that many European countries had purchasing aids and have just withdrawn them. In Germany, for example, it was 10,000 euros per unit. But electric vehicles continue to be sold: we estimate it will be 8% this year and 9% next year,” says Ganvam’s Miguélez, who calls for stable and simple subsidies and tax deductions for these vehicles. López from EMS, third: “In June 2023, the registration of 100% electric vehicles (BEVs) in Europe exceeded the share of diesel for the first time (15.1% compared to 13.4%). And although new sales of cars, vans and buses fell, BEVs maintained their growth and increased their share at the expense of diesels, both nationally and in Europe. In addition, the slow pace of sales in Spain should not disconcert us: according to the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA), in Norway they already represent 82% of sales, in Denmark and Sweden they exceed 36% and even in neighboring countries In Portugal it is 18%.

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