Here are the things you should know before you buy or lease an Electric Vehicle – News

Consider these factors to take advantage of the benefits of an EV

By George Kuruvilla

Published: Thursday 2 February 2023, 9:38 PM

The whole phenomenon of climate change has been thrust upon us through our textbooks, newspapers, and social media, and for good reason. Every industry has taken one or several ways to combat the issue. In the automotive industry, however, most of the burden of saving the planet has somehow fallen on the wheels of Electric Vehicles. For many who support this, the crux of their argument is that EVs have zero tailpipe emissions, which is the truth, but not the whole truth. They come with a few negatives. Some of these are obvious, while others are disguised by promotional marketing campaigns.

So, whether you want to take advantage of fossil fuel-free travel or really care about the environment, here are some things you should know before you buy or let an EV.

Rage about range

Perhaps one of the main concerns of EV skeptics has to do with range or the lack of it. But know that today’s EVs are different, they have evolved to meet our driving needs. The Audi e-tron Sportback, for example, has an estimated range of 444km, while the Tesla Model Y has a range of 533km. Both numbers are respectable. In comparison, Internal Combustion Engine or ICE vehicles have a range of 400km to 700km, and some go up to 1,000 km. Also, with petrol or diesel powered vehicles, you travel in the comfort of knowing there is a fuel station around the corner. But this is not the case with the EV charging network. There are few charging points and they are mostly mapped in large public areas such as shopping centres, which can be viewed via downloadable apps.

The nature of batteries is temperature-sensitive

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EV batteries are prone to range variations depending on the ambient temperatures. Elevated mercury levels can reduce EV battery life, but cold can have a very negative effect on a vehicle’s range. It helps to live in a region of moderate climate, quite unlike the Middle East, where we have to deal with the sizzling climate.

EV fires

If you ignore the amazing stories of EVs, especially Teslas catching fire, and get some legitimate statistics, EVs are less likely to catch fire than ICE vehicles. In fact, Tesla released a statement reading, “From 2012 – 2021, approximately one Tesla vehicle fire occurred for every 210 million miles traveled. In comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the US Department of Transportation show that there is a vehicle fire in the United States for every 19 million miles traveled.” This implies that ICE vehicles are 11 times more more to catch fire than an EV, which is significant.Also, it takes longer to catch fire alone, giving passengers more time to escape from the damaged or defective vehicle.

But the real issue is turning it off. An EV fire is more difficult to put out compared to fires in ICE vehicles. Large amounts of water or a powder or C02 extinguisher, one specifically designed to put out electrical fires, may be required.

That said, automakers are racing to manufacture a new type of solid-state battery that is non-flammable. This should eliminate the risk of battery fire altogether.

Time to charge, time to wait

The other downside to EVs is the time it takes to charge them. It only takes a few minutes to fill your normal petrol engine vehicle to the top, but with EVs, it is different and very different. It takes anywhere from 15 minutes (for a small bump in range) to up to a day (for full juice) depending on the type of charger you’re using. The Level 1 charger, which refers to the domestic AC socket, is the slowest. The Level 2 type is the fast-charging AC socket that operates at a higher voltage and is the most common thing you’ll find at charging stations. And finally, Level 3 chargers that use DC charge batteries are the fastest, but they are rare. Also, if you get stuck in a queue, you might have to break out a camper sleeping bag if you’re on the outskirts or if you’re in Dubai it’s a sign to visit the centre.

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The charging plugs are not standardized

No matter which fuel station you visit, you always get the same nozzle at each station, which means any car can be served. In the case of EVs, as well as finding out which charger is compatible with your vehicle, you also need to figure out which cables and adapters you might need. And you would have to carry these cables and adapters in your trunk, which eats up luggage space. But eventually, you will find the best and closest charging point(s), even if it is an additional task of learning and time.

It is expected that manufacturers as well as the help of governments will choose to standardize the whole arrangement soon.

They do not make a sound

While there is a lot of noise about EVs, they don’t make sound. They are silent machines. They don’t have the mechanical sound of a petrol/diesel engine and the associated exhaust sounds that have turned a small section of the motoring community into haters. These are the guys who love the smell of gasoline and the guttural sound of a V8, even after being beaten in a drag race by someone in an electric family sedan.

EVs can be silent killers and by that, I mean you won’t hear one coming towards you which could result in pedestrian casualties. Fortunately, to combat this, most companies have sounds that sound like an airplane or a vehicle from a sci-fi movie.

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The electricity available at these charging stations is not necessarily drawn from sustainable sources. It is important that the electricity comes from renewable sources such as tidal, wind and solar power to keep the cycle clean, from production to transmission to consumption. Otherwise, you are forced to draw electricity from a grid fed by coal or natural gas power plants that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases such as CO2, which defeats the purpose. Ironically, this would make EVs, vehicles with External Combustion Engines. So EVs are not necessarily as green as you might think.

The price of sustainability

Currently, EVs are relatively expensive, for two main reasons. For one thing, they’re a novelty, the ‘it’ thing of the season, a garage ornament you’d leave in your driveway. And the other reason is that a lot of capital goes into the research and development of these vehicles and understandably so. None of this had been done before, at least not on this scale. But if EVs are to be a truly sustainable solution to Climate Change, they must be a financially viable option for the billions in the working middle class who must drive to and from work on a daily basis. But don’t worry, the price war hasn’t really hit the EV market yet and when it does, we’ll be seeing an EV in possibly every household.

The next step

So you see in the grand scheme of things if ideas like the EVs are not thought through carefully they can end up being part of the problem or add new ones.

But ultimately, the blame game doesn’t help anyone. In fact, consider this a status update, a chapter on the collective effort to combat climate change. The road to a greener, cleaner future is long, one that we must travel side by side.

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