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Dispelling EV Myths

Get the Truth About Electric Vehicles

Taking the leap with new technology can be intimidating, especially when we let our emotions take the lead. Social media chatter can also pile on, often highlighting the negatives more than the positives.

This has certainly occurred with electric vehicles (EVs). Let’s correct that by addressing common myths about EVs and misconceptions by using facts and data from vehicles in Washington and around the country.

Myth: Electric Vehicles Lose Range in Cold Temperatures

The Recurrent team performed a comprehensive review of popular EVs to understand range loss in cold weather. The study found that while available range is reduced in very cold conditions, that loss is temporary and doesn’t hurt your car in the long run.

Myth: Electric Cars Can’t Idle Like Combustion Engines

Fears were raised this past winter that EVs can’t idle in cold weather without running down their batteries. In responding to that concern, Recurrent’s Scott Case published the following response: “The real math is that idling a gas car with a full tank, a driver can expect around 30 hours of warmth, while many popular EVs can surpass that. The most popular EV, the Tesla Model 3, has a ‘camp mode’ that allows the car to efficiently maintain cabin temperature even while the vehicle is off. Reports show that it uses about 2% of the battery capacity per hour in freezing temperatures.”

One of our team members also responded by performing an idling test on his Tesla Model 3 to challenge those misguided claims. Spoiler: EVs do just as well as a combustion engine if stuck in traffic.

Myth: EV Batteries Degrade Quickly

Skeptics are quick to make the claim that electric car batteries degrade quickly. That logic is not totally surprising because everyone is used to laptops and mobile phones, which have batteries that degrade quickly and make the device essentially useless.

However, the batteries in electric cars are built to last, according to the data. The two longest running EVs are the Nissan LEAF and the Tesla Model S. Both of these nearly 10-year-old models often still run with their original batteries, despite using much older battery chemistries and engineering than new models.

The limited evidence we have on high-mileage EVs shows they have lost between 5-10% capacity over the first 100,000 miles. Keep in mind that most EVs haven’t been around that long so it is helpful to look at what the battery manufacturers guarantee. Most warranties specify that you’ll keep at least 70% of your battery capacity over the first eight years (or 100,000 miles). Since few batteries are being replaced under warranty, we have to assume that the warranty is a reasonable lower bound (or minimum) for the life expectancy of a used EV.

It’s important to do your homework before buying any used EV, however. That’s why Recurrent started publishing its data on used EV batteries and range. There are 13 models in total, and here are only a few of them to peruse.

We hope that this information is helpful for the EV community and for anyone who wants to dispel the rumors. This is the data — the hard facts — so use it to inform others and drive with confidence.

–Written by Liz Najman
–Top photo from AdobeStock

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