Should we be afraid to buy an electric car?

The repercussions of the energy crisis are felt everywhere and it is a source of concern for most people, especially for low-income households.

Many people are wondering what they can do to reduce costs. Could electric or hybrid cars come to their aid?

We sat down with Tilmann Vahle and Matthias Ballweg, co-directors of the circular mobility platform SYSTEMIQ, to discuss the issues and “myths that stick to the wheels” of electric vehicles.

What is the autonomy of electric cars compared to thermal cars?

The range of electric vehicles is getting closer and closer to that of thermal vehicles. Hybrid cars have a shorter range in electric mode, about 50 km. Today, 100% electric cars typically have a range of up to 350 kilometers on a single charge. And once the battery is discharged, it can be recharged to 80% in a matter of hours, at home on a conventional electrical outlet. But the latest models are capable of recharging in less than half an hour on ultra-fast terminals, such as cars that have an 800-volt battery, such as the Porsche Taycan, Kia EV6 and other Hyundai Ioniq 5.

A Nissan Leaf is charging at a charging station. – AP Photo / David Zalubowski

Are batteries for electric cars better than before?

This seems to be the case because battery motors in electric vehicles are actually designed to survive the lifetime of the vehicle itself.

Currently, about 80% of battery life is 12-15 years. This number is also constantly increasing and may even reach 20 years in the near future.

Can you buy used electric cars, and is it as easy as for classic vehicles?

Yes and yes. In some markets, however, electric cars are so popular that used cars can actually be more expensive than new cars.

In the same way that you would approach the purchase of a used gasoline vehicle, use technical experts to assess the remaining life of the car to give you a reliable price estimate. For modern batteries, there is sophisticated analysis software that can produce this estimate.

The next European Battery Pass will contain all the necessary information to provide the estimated battery life with minimal effort. In the medium term, it will be even easier, cheaper and more reliable to buy used electric cars than thermal cars.

What does it cost to use electric cars?

Costs vary widely depending on local cost conditions, but electric vehicles are still cheaper today than regular fuel-powered vehicles. Fuel costs are still capricious, while electricity costs are more stable.

In addition, in many EU countries you can benefit from subsidies and exemptions from certain taxes if you buy an electric vehicle. In France, the state has set up an ecological bonus, which can go up to € 6,000, which must be deducted from the purchase of a new electric car.

And since there are fewer moving parts and less strain on the brakes – electric vehicles are equipped with regenerative braking to recover energy to charge the battery – maintenance costs are 60 to 90% lower.

However, electric car insurance policies can be higher as they tend to be more powerful when accelerating and heavier due to their battery. But it’s just one of the many things that are included in the total cost of operating an electric car.

What effect will electric vehicles have on the European economy?

Electric cars will undoubtedly have an impact on the economy. First, they are much cheaper to operate, which will benefit low-income households. But the purchase price of such a vehicle is still far from the reach of all budgets.

Furthermore, an increase in the demand for electric cars means the need for new charging infrastructure. Subsequently, these terminal networks will require investment and will produce a lot of jobs. And the opportunities do not stop there, as people will be needed to develop even better batteries. Without forgetting, of course, the development and manufacture of even more powerful and efficient cars.

Photo by AP / Michael Sohn

Tesla cars are parked at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin, Germany. – Photo from AP / Michael Sohn

This new infrastructure will require new and different production skills. This means new opportunities for countries such as the UK, where the car industry has experienced a major decline in recent decades. But Europe is already facing serious competition, like the American company Tesla. China has also taken the trip to the electric, and its productions have almost nothing to envy compared to the old continent, the cradle of the car.

Granted, there may be fewer car maintenance jobs as a result, but the overall economic outlook appears to be good for both the economy and individuals.

Will electric cars get cheaper before petrol cars are banned in 2035?

Yes, not only because battery technology is evolving dramatically – a cost reduction of around 50% is likely in 2030 – but also because electric vehicles are easier to build. They require far fewer moving parts.

As a result, production costs may fall by 20-40% by 2030, and cars will be cheaper to operate and build than they are today.

Are electric cars safe?

If we look at Tesla, it seems that electric vehicles are safer than thermal vehicles. Teslas are consistently ranked among the safest cars in crash tests. Their battery is also particularly insulated.

Similarly, weather conditions do not appear to have a greater impact on the operation of electric vehicles than on cars with unleaded or diesel. Norway has the most electric cars per. inhabitant. And the extreme cold that can prevail in the country has not scared away buyers who have just noticed a decline in autonomy of a few kilometers.

Safety standards for electric vehicles are increasingly stringent, vital components such as the battery pack are protected by a waterproof box.

Article translated from English

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