Misconceptions about EVs are debunked to help spread the word.
It’s glaringly clear from a quick survey of our urban centers, which span the globe from Berlin to Baghdad, Bangkok to Buenos Aires, and Boston to Baton Rouge. Potentially productive or restful time is lost during rush hours and holidays. A group of people are confined in metal containers weighing more than a ton, and they are forced to crawl forward while breathing in air full with cancer-causing particles. We must be able to improve upon this situation. Luckily, innovative groups are pushing hard to quicken the transition to electric vehicles.
Those hoping to prevent an interruption in mobility, meantime, frequently resort to one of four fallacious strategies:
1. E-cars merely shift the pollution and energy consumption from the vehicle itself to oil, gas, coal or nuclear power stations somewhere else.
2. The production and eventual disposal of e-car batteries are a source of dangerous pollution.
3. Our electricity network would collapse under the increased demand.
4. E-car technology does not enable us to charge our cars as fast as we can at a petrol station (“charging anxiety”), nor does it allow consumers to travel vast distances (“range anxiety”).
Let’s take each of these worries in turn.
Energy consumption of electric cars
Indeed, energy is required for any acceleration or forward movement against air resistance. But, how well we transform fundamental energy sources (such oil and gas) into forward motion is critically important.
The combustion engine must be compact enough to fit within the vehicle, lightweight enough to keep the vehicle in motion, and environmentally friendly enough to be acceptable by people. To keep up with demand, manufacturers must constantly crank out brand-new models of engines. The engine draws power from the primary source and channels it into forward motion by explosions at a rate of up to 6,000 per minute.
Electricity is produced via a totally different pathway than is taken by the conversion from basic energy sources. Power plants may be as big and as heavy as they need to be as long as they’re positioned far from populated areas. Having mobility isn’t necessary for them. There is no need for many power plants to supply power to the world’s millions of vehicles and industrial facilities. Investments in greater environmental management are more cost-effective since pollutants may be filtered at a single source.
Every introductory engineering or physics student can speak to the fact that there are tradeoffs to be made between the efficiency with which a machine converts energy and other constraints. Efficiency drops off quickly if the machine has to be made portable, smaller, lighter, or mass-produced. All these concessions add up to an efficiency ratio of just over 20% for a modern combustion engine found within a car, compared to 70% for a modern power plant. The same ten liters of gas that could go us 100 kilometers would provide enough energy to power an electric vehicle for more than 350 kilometers. When you factor in the time, money, and energy required to refine crude oil into gasoline and ship it to gas stations around the world, you can see just how significant the efficiency gap really is.
Electrical vehicle batteries
Do electric vehicle batteries really harm the environment when manufactured and discarded?
Great innovations in auto battery recycling and reconditioning are developing as a result of heightened research efforts. One such option is to restore battery chemistry. Another example is finding new uses for used automobile batteries. With our current knowledge, it is anticipated that even used batteries can serve a useful purpose for more than 10 years. Additionally, regular autos also require batteries, thus this issue may equally be addressed to them.
How true is the concern that our current electrical infrastructure cannot handle the predicted rise in power use? Let’s take Germany, where there are 40 million cars and each is driven about 10,000 kilometers annually. On average, an electric vehicle uses 20 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 kilometers driven. If all automobiles in Germany were converted to electric vehicles, the country’s annual power usage would rise by 80,000,000,000 kWh, or by 1,000 kWh for each of its citizens. Germany could easily boost its annual per capita consumption from 6,600 kWh to 7,600 kWh. At this rate, German consumption would equal that of Russia, Japan, Belgium, and Switzerland. In comparison to South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand (whose per capita consumption is between 8,000 and 10,000 kWh), this would be significantly lower and around half that of the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Finland (all over 10,000 kWh).
Also, the charging schedule of EVs helps even out consumption peaks and valleys. Electricity use peaks between 6:00 and 9:00 am, then levels out between 6:00 and 9:00 pm, then declines precipitously between 11:00 and midnight. Electric vehicle charging cycles follow the exact opposite schedule, beginning to peak when people return home around 7:00 p.m., maintaining steady all night, and gradually decreasing as automobiles are placed into use about 7:00 a.m.
Musk, founder of Tesla, claims that the electricity needed to process crude oil into gasoline is sufficient to power his vehicles. At the present time, one liter of fuel requires roughly 1.6 kilowatt hours (kWh) to refine. Fuel efficiency is nearly identical to that of an electric vehicle at 10 liters per 100 kilometers (about 20 kWh).
Charging and range anxiety
Finally, we’ll talk about people’s worries that electric cars are impractical because of the time it takes to charge them (so-called “charging anxiety”) and because they don’t allow for long-distance driving (“range anxiety”).
The convenience of not having to go to a gas station is a major perk of electric automobiles.Unlike gas stations, electrical outlets may be found anywhere. Gas stations not only degrade the quality of the air and water around due to leaks and spills, but they also depress the prices of nearby homes by taking up prime real estate in crowded urban areas. Yet, charging stations have a little footprint and may be readily integrated into preexisting parking garage and lot infrastructure. This would allow e-vehicles to be continually charged when they are not in use. In the industrialized world, the average automobile is driven less than five percent of the day, therefore the amount of time it takes to recharge the battery is irrelevant. Unlike with an internal combustion engine, consumers need not hover over their gas station of choice until their tank is nearly empty before filling up. Even though there is still 80% of juice left, they just plug it in whenever they can.
Concerning “range anxiety,” a European Commission poll found that the average distance traveled by individuals on their own during the workweek was between 15 and 35 kilometers across six European nations. The daily average driving distance was somewhere between 40 and 80 kilometers (UK) (Poland). “Such distances may be comfortably traversed by battery electric vehicles that are now commercially available on the market,” the survey concludes.
What a mess this makes regular commutes. On rare occasions, however, consumers will transport their vehicles over great distances to reach a vacation spot. This is the time to take stock and make forecasts about how people will act in the future. Consumers are increasingly opting for quick, inexpensive flights rather than extended hours in the car. From 75 million in 2011–2012 to over 130 million in 2017–2018, Ryanair’s client base has grown exponentially. There will be viable and acceptable options for long-distance travel thanks to the rapid development of fast-charging networks and technology to significantly shorten charging times.
It’s possible that some vacationers may long for the days of stale gas station smell and engine roar that characterized their childhood road trips. But, most of us in the future will be driven to and from work and home in an electric, non-polluting, silent car that can be conveniently charged while not in use. The advancement of technology is unstoppable.