Busting The Myths On Electric Cars

Despite the revolutionary technology going into electric and hybrid cars, there certainly seems to be a stigma around them. For some reason, they come across as not being as “manly” as a traditional fuel car. Who could forget the famous scene in The Other Guys when Allen chauffeurs a highly unimpressed Terry around in his Prius?

Although hilarious, it signifies society’s view on electric cars. We all envision the average electric driver to be the stay-at-home mom who carts the kids from school to extramurals. Or even the earth-loving free spirit who is living off the grid on the remote ends of Kommetjie, only using the car to make the occasional trip into town.

But, we wonder, what is the actual difference between the electric car and its fuel alternative? Is there actually less power? Is it really more efficient? And what about these rumours of them still leaving a significant carbon footprint in its dust? We thought we would take a closer look.  

Basic Functioning

So, the first big difference between the fuel and the electric car is the latter’s lack of tailpipe or exhaust. The second, which is vitally important in this article, is that electric cars only have one moving part. A fuel car has hundreds of moving parts that have to all work together to make the car move. In the electric, however, it is only the shaft that moves. It has a charger, controller, and battery, all of which do not move.

What does this mean for the car? Well, with only one moving car, so much less can go wrong! Maintenance is also a fraction of the price! Think about it. With fuel cars, every moving bit is slowly wearing down. But, in an electric, there will only need to be one part of the car that will be slowly damaged by common wear and tear.

Speed And Power Differences

There certainly is the popular belief that electric cars fall incredibly short when it comes to performance. Who could forget Clarkson’s comments on Top Gear stating that the performance was “a bit rubbish”. Since these comments in 2011, and Nissan’s comeback at the driving star, the industry has taken radical steps. Take Tesla, for example. The Roadster, which is a fully battery electric sports car produced until 2012, blew the electric myth out of the water. It boasted 248 hp (185 kW), and a 0-100km / hr speed of 3.9 seconds. This is comparable to any fuel-based sports car out there.

What about a normal, non-sports model you ask? Look at how the Tesla Model S (although not available in SA yet) compares to its sedan counterparts! The lowest in the range, with 40KW, reaches 100kms / hr in under seven seconds, has a top speed of 180kms / hr, and has a range of 224kms on a single charge.

Carbon Emissions

There are certainly myths going around that electric cars are not as environmentally friendly as they claim to be. Rumour has it that most actually produce as much as the basic fuel car. This is, however, grossly inaccurate. Electric cars produce less than half of the carbon emissions than their fuel counterparts do. This is even true in the case of the higher emission electric cars taken into consideration.

The Main Challenges Of Electric Cars

So, these revolutionary wonders, despite being as wonderful as they are, still come with some basic challenges. Firstly, the battery technology is still somewhat in its primitive stage. This is, however, being frantically worked on by the industry, and we can guarantee that in a few years, this won’t even feature in the cons of the car.

Professional car technicians and engineers are still somewhat few and far between. Let’s face it, it is easier for you to find a garage that will be able to assist you with your run of the mill car than with the Leaf. Especially if you are a bit of a bargain hunter, and prefer finding the cheaper garages to take your car to. You will also probably find that you will end up paying slightly more for the expertise of someone who deals with electric cars, as the training programmes are more expensive too.

Lastly, the recharging infrastructure is not that great. With Shells and BP’s dotted on almost every corner, you are more likely to choose the sheer convenience of a thirsty car! But, as with point one, in a few years, this should be somewhat of a distant memory.

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