carbonMay 1, 2024by admin0

Debunking the Top 11 Myths About Electric Vehicles

As the world transitions towards more sustainable transportation options, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a leading contender to replace traditional gas-powered cars. Electric vehicles (EVs) have become a focal point in discussions about combating climate change and transitioning to a sustainable transportation system. However, amidst their rising popularity, several myths and misconceptions persist, hindering their widespread adoption. Let’s take a look at 15 of the most common myths about electric vehicles and debunk them one by one:

11 Myths About Electric Vehicles Debunked

Myth #1: Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline cars because of power plant emissions.

Myth #2: Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline cars because of battery manufacturing.

Myth #3: The increase in electric vehicles entering the market will collapse the power grid.

Myth #4: Electric vehicles don’t have enough range to handle daily travel demands.

Myth #5: Electric vehicles are not as safe as comparable gasoline vehicles.

Myth #6: Electric cars pollute 1,850 times as much as gas cars.

Myth #7: Electric cars are fire hazards.

Myth #8: EVs offer little to no climate benefit compared to conventional cars

Myth #9: Hydrogen cars are more sustainable than EVs

Myth #10: ‘Electric vehicles can explode – petrol ones only do it in movies’

Myth #11: Britain’s creaking power grid cannot cope with charging electric cars.[JE1]

Myth #1: Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline cars because of power plant emissions.

FACT: At first glance, the notion that EVs might be worse for the climate than gasoline cars due to power plant emissions seems plausible. After all, EVs draw their energy from the electricity grid, which relies on a mix of energy sources, some of which emit greenhouse gases during electricity generation. However, when scrutinised through a holistic life cycle analysis, the environmental benefits of EVs become evident.

Diverse Electricity Generation:

One critical aspect to consider is the diverse mix of electricity generation sources. While coal and natural gas power plants contribute to carbon emissions, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power are playing an increasingly significant role in the energy landscape. As nations worldwide strive to meet climate targets and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources continues to rise. This shift toward cleaner energy production directly benefits EVs by reducing their overall carbon footprint.

Lifecycle Emissions:

When evaluating the lifecycle emissions of vehicles, EVs consistently demonstrate superiority over their gasoline counterparts. While EVs may indirectly contribute to emissions through electricity generation, they produce zero tailpipe emissions during operation. On the other hand, internal combustion engine vehicles emit pollutants directly into the atmosphere during driving. Studies consistently show that when accounting for both manufacturing and operational emissions, EVs come out ahead in terms of overall environmental impact. Additionally, advancements in battery technology and energy efficiency further enhance the sustainability of EVs, driving down their lifecycle emissions over time.

Continual Improvement:

As renewable energy technologies mature and become more cost-effective, the environmental benefits of EVs are poised to grow even further. Governments, businesses, and individuals are increasingly investing in renewable energy infrastructure, accelerating the transition toward a cleaner and more sustainable energy system. This ongoing shift toward renewable electricity generation not only reduces the carbon intensity of EVs but also contributes to broader efforts to combat climate change.

Myth #2: Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline cars because of battery manufacturing.

FACT: While it’s true that manufacturing electric vehicle (EV) batteries can be energy-intensive and generate carbon emissions, it’s essential to look at the broader lifecycle analysis to understand the environmental impact of EVs compared to gasoline cars. When assessing the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of vehicles, including manufacturing, operation, and end-of-life considerations, EVs consistently demonstrate lower emissions than their gasoline counterparts.

Manufacturing Phase:

The production of lithium-ion batteries, which power most EVs, does require significant energy inputs and resources. Processes such as mining for raw materials, refining, and manufacturing battery cells contribute to carbon emissions. However, advancements in manufacturing techniques, such as improvements in energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources, are reducing the carbon footprint of battery production. Moreover, economies of scale and technological innovations are driving down the environmental impact of battery manufacturing. As the EV market expands, manufacturers are investing in research and development to optimise battery production processes, leading to more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing practices.

Operational Phase:

One of the most significant advantages of EVs is their zero tailpipe emissions during operation. Traditional gasoline cars emit pollutants directly into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, EVs rely on electric motors powered by batteries, producing no emissions while driving. The environmental benefits of EVs are further amplified when considering the energy sources used for electricity generation. As renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower become more prevalent in the electricity grid, the overall carbon intensity of charging EVs decreases. Therefore, EVs charged with renewable energy sources effectively have zero greenhouse gas emissions during operation.

End-of-Life Phase:

Concerns about the disposal and recycling of EV batteries are often raised regarding their environmental impact. However, advancements in battery recycling technologies are addressing these concerns. Recycling programs can recover valuable materials from spent EV batteries, reducing the need for raw material extraction and lowering the overall environmental footprint of EVs. Additionally, second-life applications for EV batteries, such as energy storage systems, prolong their usefulness and reduce waste. By extending the lifespan of batteries beyond automotive applications, the environmental benefits of EVs are further enhanced.

Myth #3: The increase in electric vehicles entering the market will collapse the power grid.

FACT: The concern that the rise in electric vehicles (EVs) will overwhelm current power grids is often exaggerated. While it’s true that the increased adoption of EVs will lead to higher electricity demand, proactive measures can mitigate potential grid strain. Strategic charging practices, such as encouraging off-peak charging when electricity demand is lower, and leveraging vehicle-to-grid capabilities, where EVs can supply power back to the grid during peak demand periods, play pivotal roles in managing grid loads. Studies consistently show that existing grid infrastructure has the capacity to accommodate the growing number of EVs, especially with the integration of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. As renewable energy becomes more prevalent, the environmental benefits of EVs are further enhanced, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable transportation ecosystem.

Moreover, investments in grid modernization initiatives are underway to bolster the resilience and efficiency of the power grid, aligning with the transition to electric transportation. These initiatives focus on upgrading ageing infrastructure, implementing smart grid technologies, and optimising grid operations to handle increased electricity demand from EVs effectively.

Myth #4: Electric vehicles don’t have enough range to handle daily travel demands.

FACT: The misconception that electric vehicles lack the range to meet daily travel demands is increasingly outdated. Modern EVs offer ample range for typical daily use, making them well-suited for the majority of driving scenarios. Electric vehicles have made significant strides in range capabilities in recent years, thanks to advancements in battery technology and vehicle efficiency. Many EV models now boast ranges exceeding 200 miles on a single charge, with some surpassing 300 miles. These ranges comfortably cover the average household’s daily travel needs, which typically fall well below 100 miles per day.

Moreover, the proliferation of fast-charging infrastructure means that even for longer journeys, EV drivers can recharge quickly at public charging stations along their route. The availability of high-speed chargers allows EVs to replenish a significant portion of their battery capacity in a relatively short amount of time, offering convenience and flexibility for drivers undertaking longer trips. It’s essential to note that the driving range of an EV can be influenced by various factors, including driving habits, weather conditions, and terrain. However, ongoing developments in battery technology aim to mitigate these limitations by improving energy density, charging speed, and overall battery performance.

Automakers are continuously investing in research and development to enhance the range and efficiency of electric vehicles. This commitment to innovation is driving the emergence of next-generation EVs with even greater range capabilities, further cementing their suitability for everyday use. Furthermore, as governments around the world implement policies to incentivize electric vehicle adoption and curb emissions from transportation, the EV market is expected to expand rapidly. This growth will likely spur further advancements in battery technology and infrastructure, ensuring that electric vehicles remain a practical and sustainable solution for meeting daily travel demands.

Myth #5: Electric vehicles are not as safe as comparable gasoline vehicles.

FACT: Electric vehicles (EVs) undergo rigorous safety testing and adhere to the same stringent standards as conventional gasoline vehicles, ensuring that occupants are protected in the event of a crash. When it comes to safety, the automotive industry prioritises the well-being of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, irrespective of the vehicle’s power source. Most national safety standards mandate that all vehicles, including EVs, meet specific criteria regarding crashworthiness, occupant protection, and performance in various collision scenarios.

EV manufacturers invest substantial resources in testing and development to ensure their vehicles meet or exceed these safety standards. From rigorous crash tests to simulations of various collision scenarios, EVs undergo comprehensive evaluations to validate their structural integrity and safety features. Furthermore, EVs incorporate specific safety measures tailored to their unique characteristics.

One such feature is the automatic system shutdown, designed to mitigate risks associated with electrical faults or collisions. In the event of a crash or detected electrical anomaly, EVs are equipped to promptly deactivate high-voltage systems, minimising the potential for post-crash hazards such as fires or electric shock. Moreover, advancements in EV technology have facilitated the integration of innovative safety features aimed at enhancing overall vehicle safety. From advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) to sophisticated battery management systems, EVs boast a suite of safety technologies designed to mitigate risks and protect occupants.

The misconception that EVs are less safe than gasoline vehicles often stems from unfamiliarity with electric propulsion systems. However, extensive testing and ongoing research demonstrate that EVs not only meet but often surpass safety standards, providing drivers with peace of mind regarding their safety on the road.

Myth #6: Electric cars pollute 1,850 times as much as gas cars

FACT: Recently, a social media post (Instagram) circulated, claiming that electric vehicles (EVs) emit 1,850 times more pollutants than gas-powered vehicles during a 1,000-mile journey. This assertion, purportedly based on a 2022 study by U.K.-based research group Emissions Analytics, has sparked controversy and misinformation.

In reality, the study in question did not compare gas vehicles to electric vehicles. Instead, it focused on particulate pollution emissions from gas car tailpipes versus emissions from tyres. Electric vehicles were not part of the study at all. The study found that tyres shed 1,850 times more particulate pollution than the tailpipes of new gas-powered vehicles under specific conditions. It should however be noted that while the study did not analyse pollution from EVs, the transition to electric transportation could exacerbate tire pollution. Factors such as increased torque applied to tyres and the added weight of EV batteries may contribute to tyre wear.

However, potential solutions such as reducing EV size, weight, and acceleration ability, as well as utilising special wear-resistant tyres, could help mitigate this issue. It’s crucial to recognise that despite challenges like tyre pollution, the environmental benefits of electric vehicles remain significant. Numerous studies have confirmed that EVs produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions over their life cycle compared to traditional gasoline cars, even when factoring in manufacturing processes.

Myth #7: Electric cars are fire hazards

FACT: Concerns about electric vehicles (EVs) being fire hazards have arisen due to incidents such as Chevrolet’s recall of over 140,000 Bolt electric vehicles due to a potential fire hazard caused by a manufacturing defect in its LG battery. Additionally, a parking garage in Germany banned all EVs and hybrid cars this year over fears of fires. While it’s true that some automakers have faced challenges with EV fires, it’s essential to examine the evidence objectively. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that electric cars are more prone to catching fire than their internal combustion counterparts when comparing fires per vehicle mile travelled.

EV fires can result from various factors, including manufacturing defects, software glitches, or severe crashes that damage the battery. Notably, fires often occur while the vehicle is charging or parked, although they remain rare occurrences. It’s understandable that the prospect of a car catching fire while parked in a garage is alarming, but it’s essential to recognize that gasoline cars also pose fire risks, particularly in accidents or due to issues like fuel or oil leaks onto hot exhaust manifolds.

A 2020 study by the National Fire Protection Association estimated that there were 212,500 vehicle fires in the United States in 2018. While some causes of vehicle fires, such as smoking in the passenger compartment or friction between worn parts, are not specific to EVs, others, like fuel or oil leaks onto hot engine components, are unique to internal combustion vehicles.

Myth #8: ‘EVs offer little to no climate benefit compared to conventional cars

FACT: One of the persistent false claims circulated about electric vehicles (EVs) is that they offer little to no climate benefit compared to conventional cars due to the emissions associated with manufacturing their batteries. This myth often manifests in assertions like the one purported that EV has to travel 50,000+ miles to break even with an ICE [internal combustion engine] car.

In reality, an EV in Europe can pay off its carbon debt after approximately 11,000 miles (18,000km), according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Moreover, the environmental benefits of EVs are increasing over time as electricity grids become cleaner.

A 2021 lifecycle analysis by the ICCT found that when compared to a conventional car, EVs purchased in Europe would reduce emissions by 66-69%. With a potential to increase to 74-77% by 2030.

Claims suggesting otherwise often make critical errors that downplay emissions from combustion-engine cars and exaggerate those from EVs. They tend to overstate emissions associated with manufacturing EV batteries, ignore the inefficiencies of vehicle test cycles, and disregard the CO2 emissions linked to fuel production and refining.

Myth #9: Hydrogen cars are more sustainable than EVs

FACT: Hydrogen cars have emerged as a touted alternative to electric vehicles (EVs), drawing attention from sceptics questioning the benefits of EVs. However, despite hypes hailing hydrogen as an “interesting alternative fuel,” the evidence paints a contrasting picture regarding the prospects for hydrogen versus electrified transport and their relative sustainability.

Contrary to the misconception that hydrogen cars are more sustainable than EVs, the lifecycle emissions from hydrogen cars would be significantly higher, even assuming low-carbon hydrogen sources. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a report even labelled EVs as the most attractive option for cars, while hydrogen vehicles may serve as complementary solutions, particularly in heavy-duty transport.

Myth #10: ‘Electric vehicles can explode – petrol ones only do it in movies’

FACT: In a July 2023 article for the Sun, Jeremy Clarkson, a climate-sceptic motoring journalist, made bold claims about the dangers of electric vehicles (EVs), suggesting they were prone to explosions, unlike petrol cars. But contrary to Clarkson’s claims, EV fires rarely involve the battery, and expert opinions suggest that fears of fires in electric cars are vastly overstated.

The Guardian in 2023 reported findings from the Norway Directorate for Social Security and Emergency Preparedness. The report reveals a stark contrast in fire incidents between petrol/diesel cars and electric ones. Specifically, the reports show that there are between four to five times more fires reported in traditional combustion engine vehicles compared to electric cars. Similarly, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency’s findings for 2022 indicate that there were only 3.8 fires per 100,000 electric or hybrid cars, notably lower than the 68 fires per 100,000 cars across all fuel types. It’s important to note that the latter statistics encompass instances of arson, complicating direct comparisons between vehicle types.

Furthermore, an EU-funded research program on reducing the risk of fires on ships, known as LASH FIRE, emphasised that EVs are not more hazardous than conventional cars. While the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries differ from those of conventional fuels, EVs do not pose a greater danger.

Myth #11: Britain’s creaking power grid cannot cope with charging electric cars

FACT: During the summer of 2023, a newspaper propagated a series of arguments against electric vehicles (EVs) as part of its “Give us a brake” campaign. The campaign aimed to deter drivers from adopting net-zero emissions. One such claim, made in an August 2023 article, was that “Britain’s creaking power grid cannot cope with charging electric cars.” However, this assertion is debunked by National Grid, the company responsible for managing the UK’s electricity network, which labelled it as a “myth.”

Similar assertions were made by climate-sceptic motoring lobbyist Howard Cox in a January 2023 comment for the Sun, suggesting that the UK’s grid would struggle to meet the demand for EVs. Cox claimed that without a substantial expansion of the national grid’s capacity, there would be insufficient power to accommodate the proposed growth in electric vehicle ownership. While concerns about the transition from combustion engine cars to EVs are valid due to the significant reconfiguration of global energy demand it entails, the assertion that the UK’s power grid cannot handle charging EVs is misleading. The transition will indeed reshape energy demand and reduce emissions, but it will also create a significant new source of electricity demand.

Contrary to these claims, National Grid ESO highlights the potential for EVs to support the grid by storing excess renewable energy and feeding it back during periods of high demand. Smart-charging initiatives, where EVs are primarily charged during off-peak hours, can further alleviate the impact on peak electricity demand.


In dismantling the top 11 myths surrounding electric vehicles, it becomes evident that these vehicles are not only viable alternatives to traditional gas-powered cars but also essential components of our transition toward sustainable transportation. Electric vehicles not only offer cleaner and safer mobility options but also contribute to global efforts in combating climate change. As technology, infrastructure, and policy advancements continue to drive the EV revolution forward, it is imperative to dispel misinformation and foster informed discussions that accelerate their widespread adoption, thereby paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future.

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