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Electric Vehicles: Sorting through Common Myths

by Kelbe Goupil, SLCgreen EV intern

Are you skeptical about electric vehicles? If so, you’re not alone! Many people have questions and worries about driving an electric vehicle. We’ve busted some of the most common myths to ease your mind and encourage you to consider becoming an electric citizen.

Mayor Biskupski unveils new Level 2 charging stations in Salt Lake City on Earth Day, 2019.

Myth #1: I will run out of power and get stranded without a charge.

This is called “range anxiety” and is a common concern. Research shows that on average, drivers in the U.S. travel about 31 miles per day. Any EV on the market can handle well above that on a single charge. Generally speaking, the range of EVs spans 80-230+ miles.

The average EV battery range is projected to reach 300 miles as soon as 2023. The bigger the battery, the more energy it can store and the further you can go without refueling. Additionally, EV drivers do more than 80% of their charging at home!  For those that have long commutes or otherwise drive long distances frequently, a hybrid can eliminate range anxiety, and is cleaner than a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle. Public and workplace charging are also available to help you fuel up as needed.

Check out the ChargePoint app or the charging map on slcgreen.com/ev to find charging stations near you. PlugShare.com is another resource and provides open source listing of EV stations.

Myth #2: EVs are too expensive.

While the initial price point of an electric vehicle is often higher than a conventional vehicle, the lifetime costs are significantly lower. EV drivers will save money in the long run, thanks to fuel and maintenance savings. Driving an EV in Utah is like filling up your gasoline vehicle for 85¢ per gallon! It is estimated that Utahns driving an EV will save at least $843 per year on fuel. When it comes to maintenance, EVs are much more affordable, thanks to the fact that they have fewer moving parts and do not require routine work, such as oil changes.

Don’t forget that there are some incentives that can save EV drivers money, too – such as the federal tax credit and free parking in SLC when you register your electric vehicle!

Myth #3: EVs are dirtier than conventional vehicles.

We’ve addressed this concern in depth in our recent blog post. To summarize: even in a coal-powered state such as Utah, EVs are cleaner than conventional vehicles. EVs produce zero direct emissions, such as nitrogen oxides. EVs, Plug-in hybrids, and hybrids also produce fewer “well-to-wheel” emissions (emissions related to fuel production, processing, distribution, and use) than conventional vehicles. Over the course of the vehicle’s lifetime, including materials sourcing, battery production, and manufacturing, EVs are still a cleaner option than conventional vehicles. In terms of battery recycling, more than 95% of the elements making up an EV battery can be recovered, and many batteries can be repurposed.

Per mile CO2 emissions comparison. Source: Union of Concerned Scientists.

Thanks to the Utah Community Renewable Energy Act, our electric grid is shifting to renewable energy, making EVs an even cleaner option!

Myth #4: EVs are just a trend and will soon be outdated and unpopular.

Electric vehicle sales have been increasing significantly in recent years. Experts project that EVs will cross the chasm into the mainstream by 2028. Due to steadily declining battery prices, EVs will reach cost parity with conventional vehicles in 2024. It is projected that by 2040, 57% of all passenger vehicle sales will be electric. Models with more variety in design, range, and features are rapidly coming onto the market, meeting the needs of a wider range of consumers.

Myth #5: EVs are slow and unsafe.

Electric vehicles are required to meet the same safety standards as any other vehicle on the road in the U.S. Electric vehicle drivers report that their EV is quiet, drives easily and is very responsive in accelerating and braking. EVs are more “high tech” than many gasoline vehicles, and as such come with some nice features that enhance the driving experience.

Myth #6: The electric grid can’t handle the demand for all the EVs coming down the road.

In Utah, we produce more electricity than we use. As transportation is electrified, smart charging will become a useful tool in managing the distribution of electricity and various times throughout the day.Smart charging is used to shift charging based on grid loads and the driver’s needs. Utilities can offer EV drivers benefits for enrolling in a program that controls charging times when grid capacity management is needed. Experts are not worried about the remote possibility that EVs will crash the grid, as they predict that utilities will increase supply to meet the rise in demand. Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are also becoming increasingly important in our regional energy portfolio, which will help us sustain increased demand for electricity into the future

We believe that electrified transportation is a win-win-win for air quality, public health, and our economy.

Share this information with your family, friends and neighbors to dispel common myths about electrified transportation.

Check out our new EV webpage at slcgreen.com/ev!

To find your EV soulmate, check out liveelectric.org.

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