5 Serious Problems With Electric Vehicles To Be Aware Of
We’re into 2022 and the electric vehicles revolution isn’t just on the horizon, it’s here. The effects of climate change and our need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel-burning cars is something environmentalists have been talking about for decades. Even governments around the world are passing legislation to limit or ban petrol and diesel cars within the next decade.
With huge names like Tesla, Polestar, and Lucid Motors coming out with the best in battery range and luxury, the growth of electric vehicles is clear to see. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant challenges in the industry from high maintenance fees and range anxiety to potential security issues. These are some of the biggest issues electric cars face today.
Yet, there are still a lot of problems and limitations stopping electric vehicles from going mainstream that electric car companies need to solve, and we are going to discuss them one by one.
Too Much Tech in Cars
There can be such a thing as too much technology. Although EVs aren’t the only cars that can be hacked, they are more vulnerable to attacks.
Electric cars are increasingly high tech which leaves more opportunities for hackers. As more they are connected to the internet, these types of vehicles get easier and easier to discover an attack. And it’s not just a data breach or getting your car stolen you need to worry about, we’re talking about tons of metal that can be steered remotely and potentially cause massive destruction to public property.
This isn’t a far-fetched idea, it was shown to be possible when a Chinese company had to hack Tesla Model S in 2016. Well, Tesla has fixed that problem now but for how long? The continuous clash between the hackers and manufacturers means the risk of being hacked will always be there.
Let’s keep costs aside for a minute, how many mechanics in your area deal with electric cars? Although EVs generally require less maintenance. But if your EV has been caught in an accident you’ll probably need to visit a workshop and, likely, you won’t be able to tow your car to your neighborhood garage.
Well, if you live in a place where everything comes right to your doorstep like Dubai that’s not such a problem, but then there’s the matter of exorbitant fees.
EVs require less maintenance because they have fewer moving parts. If a gas-powered car has 2000 pieces, an electric car will probably have about only 200 parts. But fewer mechanical parts don’t mean fewer problems!
Electric vehicles have complex electrical components like Power Steering Motors, High Voltage Relay Banks, not to mention the giant battery packs sitting below your feet. The battery pack is the most important part of the vehicle and it’s more expensive than the motor itself, the state of the battery determines everything about your car. If you keep it out when it’s too hot or too cold it can get damaged, and also If you charge it too much the battery can die.
An electric car battery also has a lower temperature operation range of 59 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 45 degrees Celsius) as opposed to an internal combustion engine which ranges from -30 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (-35 to 50 degrees Celsius).
The components of an EV battery are also highly flammable and it can start a fire at almost any time. Manufacturers have tried to fix the issue by separating the battery into smaller cells with firewalls to prevent thermal runaways from occurring.
Typically an EV battery should last 10 years, it loses its capacity by about 2.3 percent every year. So you could still drive the car normally but you’d have less and less range as years go by.
Replacing a Tesla Model 3 battery is about 13,500$ for a 75 Kilowatt/Hour Battery Pack. And that’s not including the fee for the person who will replace it for you. We’re not saying you have to learn to dismantle a car and do it yourself, but for 13,500$ you might have to.
range anxiety and battery charging
It’s a problem electric cars have had from the start, and it won’t go away until General Motors comes out with a battery that is rated for a million miles.
When swapping to an electric vehicle your range is usually cut down by half or even more and it doesn’t help that cheaper EVs have a significantly lower range which most drivers would struggle to get used to.
In the past, shockingly bad charging times and ranges have made EVs unsuitable for anything other than trips to work and back. To get more range you’d have to upgrade to a more expensive model. Luckily the Tesla Supercharger Network has made it possible to charge up to 80% in less than 40 minutes but other EV companies continue to struggle.
The thought of running out of charge mid-journey and being stuck somewhere for hours is what’s coming to be known as range anxiety. More people are now installing EV chargers in their homes, offices, and malls but range anxiety is hard to overcome when you’re planning a road trip.
A 45-minute break for coffee and stretching while your electric car charges up during a long journey doesn’t sound so bad. But that’s just in the United States. What about the rest of the world?
There is still a problem with public charging in most countries and the number of charges is only a small part of the story. In the United Kingdom, a lot of the public charging network in key-highway locations is run by Ecotricity’s electric highway and a large percentage of that is either AC which is equal to level 2 charging in America, or CHADEMO DC which is great if you have something like a Nissan Leaf but useless with most modern EVs.
There might be a lot of chargers everywhere but they might not be very good for topping up your car on a long journey, and a lot of them often don’t work either.
Charge times and charging stations are two of the biggest challenges electric car companies face right now. Access to high-speed charging is improving but if we’re hoping to turn all-electric by 2030, there need to be enough charging points to cure range anxiety and charging problems.
lack of choice
Looking for a new car is no problem, you can find a good one that’s within your budget. Sometimes you have to haggle the price at a dealership and drive away in your brand new car, that’s if we’re talking about an internal combustion engine car.
Electric cars on the other hand are disproportionately aimed at the higher end of the market. There are only a few EVs you can get at a decent price, but even those don’t give you the range you need. A new Tesla will cost you nothing less than 40,000$ and it will give you a range of 263 miles (425 km).
Prices could fall in the future with tesla finding better ways to refine their manufacturing, and process, and expand their Giga factories worldwide. But petrol and diesel cars would still come cheaper than EVs.
Living with an EV
The biggest issue with the switch to an electric car is lifestyle change and limited educational resources. Borrowing a friend’s Tesla for a day to check it out won’t give you an idea of how it will be in long term.
Expecting to roll up to a charging station and get 300 miles in five minutes is no longer an option. Driving an EV requires a serious lifestyle shift. If you buy one you need a clear idea of where your main charging station will be.
The best solution here is to get a home charger. So 99% of your journeys will be on home power but that’s not possible for everyone. The truth is every new technology has problems with gaining acceptance and EVs are no different.
Electric vehicles are not just about getting used to a different lifestyle, it has become a topic of political and social debate whether it’s from climate change skeptics, fossil fuel vested interests, or those within the automotive industry.
The concept of electric cars has only recently started to gain serious attention and acceptance. What’s more most of the early attempts at electric cars were so awful that many have forever written them off. In 2019, Dyson famously had to scrap its electric car project because the vehicles were not commercially viable.
In 2013 Fisker automotive went bankrupt after producing the Fisker Karma, one of the best luxury hybrid electric vehicles. There have been many more failures along the way like the GM EV1 and even the old Sinclair C5. Even Tesla face defeat when its collaboration with Toyota for the RAV4 EV failed.
So it might still be some time before we see the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
These five major problems are only the tip of the iceberg. So what should we do? Abandon all hopes! Well, the answer is no. If you have the money to spare to go electric choose an EV with enough range for your everyday needs and create a charging regime. You need to have a much clearer idea of where you can recharge and also how fast those recharging spots are. You can even find apps that will locate the closest station to you and give you that information.
The main thing to understand is it’s not about whether EVs are good or bad overall. But how buyers should do their research first and be ready for the lifestyle electric vehicles demand.
Prepare yourself to charge mostly at home or have a routine of places to go shopping, exercise, or eat that also provide charging. But most importantly learn the best way to maintain your EV. So it doesn’t run into problems and accounts for service costs.