Globally, electric vehicle (EV) uptake is booming, thanks to the huge progress in EV innovation, range and affordability in recent years.
In Australia the revolution is also underway, but slower to take hold. While EV technology and infrastructure is now at a point where mass uptake is possible, myths around EVs still persist and muddy the waters for consumers.
Below, we’ve gathered the top 10 EV myths and uncovered some surprising truths, using facts and figures to help ensure Australians can make a more informed choice around EV ownership.
Myth #1: Not enough driving range
The average driving distance from a single charge of an EV currently available in Australia, is more than five hours of continuous driving per day. The average Australian household owns more than two cars, and completes about one hour of continuous driving – or 38kms – per day. This means EV driving ranges are more than enough to fulfil our everyday driving needs, assuming drivers are recharging vehicles overnight.
EV technology is continually improving, along with vehicle range. The minimum range available from a pure EV in the Australian market today is estimated to be between 130km and 160km. At the other end of the spectrum, the Tesla Model S can travel 632kms on a single charge.
For those wanting to travel even longer distances (and charge less), plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) might be a suitable option. PHEVs combine a petrol engine with electric motors and a rechargeable battery.
The Mitsubishi Outlander, which is available in Australia, is a PHEV which automatically selects a drive mode based on your driving conditions. This gives you the best of both worlds: allowing your short range driving to use pure EV, and long range driving to use hybrid technology.
An alternative to pure EVs and plug-in hybrids and pure EVs is range-extended EVs, which are pure EVs with a back-up petrol generator. The BMW i3 has a 200km range on a standard battery and a 350km range when used with a range extender.
Myth #2: Charging takes too long
With EV technology continually improving, charging times are falling rapidly. From empty battery to fully charged now takes most EVs between six to 10 hours (using residential AC charging), making overnight charging ideal. For non-fully depleted batteries, charging times are much shorter.
Pro tip: The key to efficient EV charging is to top up the battery every day or two, rather than waiting for the battery to be fully depleted.
For those needing to top-up batteries on the go, DC fast charging is a gamechanger. At DC fast charging stations EVs can be charged to 80 percent capacity in around 20 minutes. There are currently 29 public fast charging stations around Australia. Tesla also offer superchargers which can add 270 kms of range to Tesla vehicles in only 30 minutes.
Power levels is one reason charging times may differ. Commercial chargers often run on higher kilowatts than residential chargers, delivering a faster charge. But EV owners can also speed up home charging times by installing a dedicated charging unit connected to a higher kilowatt power supply.
Myth #3: Too few places to charge EVs
EV owners are discovering that charging during non-use periods (ie. overnight or while at work) is sufficient for everyday driving needs.
However, as EV uptake increases globally, charging infrastructure is also making its own quiet revolution. Check out this interactive map by Plugshare which tracks the expanding public and private charging stations around the world, including in Australia.
An ever expanding network of public charging infrastructure also ensures those without access to home or work charging can own an EV, as well as offering convenience and road trip charging to all EV driver.