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“There’s not enough electricity for everyone to drive electric”: just one of the many preconceptions surrounding e-mobility

Limited range, few charging options – and not even very environmentally friendly: some preconceptions surrounding e-mobility are still common currency. We reveal whether there’s any evidence to support them.

Text   Daniel Schriber


  • Sustainability

Myth no. 1

“Electric cars are only suited to short distances – if at all!”

This is a preconception that won’t go away. It’s true that the ranges of electric cars still vary a great deal. The fact is, though, that ranges have gone up across all brands and vehicle types in recent years. The VW e-up!, for example, the least expensive e-car in Mobility’s portfolio, boasts a range of up to 260 kilometres. The Tesla Model 3, also available to our customers, can go more than twice that distance on a single charge. Bearing in mind that private individuals travel an average of 38 kilometres per day, this should be more than enough.

Myth no. 2

“Climate-friendly? As if! E-cars produce more CO2 than those with internal combustion engines!”

Critics of e-mobility like to point out that manufacturing e-batteries pollutes the environment. The process is indeed energy and resource intensive. But CO2 emissions from electric vehicles on the road are lower than those of petrol or diesel cars – especially if they’re powered by electricity from renewable energy sources. As the proportion of “clean energy” is likely to increase significantly going forward, this positive trend will continue to grow. In short: the cleaner the electricity used for manufacturing and driving, the cleaner the e-mobility sector.

Myth no. 3

“Switzerland hardly has any charge points!”

As we saw under Myth 1, you’ll rarely need to charge your e-car while out and about. And if you do, you can rest easy knowing that the charging network in Switzerland has been massively expanded in recent years. There are now more than 12’000 public charge points in the country – including an increasing number of rapid charge points. And because this expansion looks set to continue, you won’t have any worries about coming to a standstill in the future either.

Myth no. 4

“There’s not enough electricity for everyone to drive electric”

If all petrol-powered vehicles were replaced by electric cars today, the demand for electricity would rise by around a fifth of current demand. However, this scenario makes little sense, since full electrification on Switzerland’s roads will take years, even decades, by which time the energy transition will have made further advances. Another argument in favour of e-mobility is that stationary electric cars could, in future, be used as mobile power banks that feed electricity back into the grid. Our V2X Suisse project gives a clear idea as to how this can work.

Myth no. 5

“Raw materials for electric cars are (too) scarce”

Electric cars are generally considered to be resource-intensive. There’s some truth in that. In addition to the mining for lithium, a light metal, the mining for copper and cobalt poses a particular challenge. In order to find more sustainable solutions, battery manufacturers are working on developing low-cobalt or cobalt-free battery technologies. Also, a great deal has been happening in the area of battery recycling: it means that more and more pre-used raw materials can be returned to the manufacturing market.

Myth no. 6

“Electric cars catch fire (more) easily!”

Fake news! Because electric vehicles contain no flammable or explosive liquids, they are (at least) as safe as their fossil­ fuel-powered cousins. The biggest challenge in terms of safety is that emergency services must clarify whether a vehicle fire involves a lithium-ion battery or not. Incidentally, electric cars score particularly well in the event of a collision. One of the reasons for this is that the heavy battery under the passenger compartment floor minimises the risk of tipping over.

Myth no. 7

“Too quiet – e-cars are a danger to cyclists and pedestrians!”

It’s certainly the case that battery-powered cars are quieter than those powered by fossil fuels. But this is surely good news. It means that e-cars help reduce traffic noise and improve general health. That said, the criticism is not entirely unjustified. To ensure that e-cars can be heard by other road users when driving at low speed, they have to be fitted with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System.

Source: Swiss eMobility 

Do you have any preconceptions regarding e-cars? Or is there anything you’d like to know more about? Let us know in the comments. We’ll be busting more myths at a later date.

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