Investigating Electric Car Myths & Facts: Video

JAN 3 2019 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 31

Let’s work together to disseminate the truth about electric cars.

If you follow the EV segment, you’re likely aware that there’s a ton of misinformation out there. We were just talking the other day about the internet and social media’s ridiculous level of falsities. Clearly, people post much of the information to mislead the public and push agendas. On the other side of the coin, we can bank on this amazing ability to instantly put the correct information in front of millions of eyes.

YouTuber and tech enthusiast Matt Farrell takes advantage of the above concept by using his “Undecided” channel to help people make informed tech-buying decisions. So, what does he have to say about electric car myths and realities? Matt provides a solid list of the most common myths. While he admits the list is not exhaustive, he clearly spent a respectable amount of time and research on the following myths.

Electric car myths:

  • EVs take too long to charge
  • You can’t drive and EV in a blackout
  • Electric car batteries don’t last
  • Electric vehicles aren’t as clean as you think
  • EVs don’t have enough range
  • Electric cars are expensive
  • EVs are a fire hazard

Check out the video above for Matt’s in-depth take on the facts surrounding these potential concerns. Then, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Video Description via Undecided with Matt Ferrell on YouTube:

Electric Cars Myths vs Facts

Electric Cars Myths vs Facts. I dive into some of the most common arguments I hear about why electric vehicles are bad. Things like taking too long to charge, batteries not lasting, not being as clean as you think and being worse for CO2 emissions, and not enough range.

All citations are included in my writeup here: https://undecidedmf.com/episodes/2019…

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31 Comments on "Investigating Electric Car Myths & Facts: Video"

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I read the article instead of watching, but it’s pretty well balanced.

Just once I’d like to see an EV fan go beyond the flawed UCS co2 study and look at some of the others. Things can be done to reduce upfront co2, but for the most part they aren’t being done yet because people sweep it under the rug.

Nice, but the one thing that gets missed in any pollution comparison is the amount of electricity that is used to produce 1 liter of gasoline, which if I remember correctly is about 8 x higher that the cost equivalent of running an EV for the same distance of an ICE car. Just that on its own is enough to kill any discussion on EV polluting.

This is a myth (I even subscribed to it for a while) that started because gasoline is a higher quality fuel than crude oil, but contains less energy than the crude. This loss of energy was converted to a kWh equivalent figure by someone and got misinterpreted as the electricity expenditure in creating the fuel (not a loss of energy associated with making gasoline).

If you look at the product that comes from a barrel of oil, about 20 gallons of gas, 11 gallons of diesel, and some other stuff, you will see that if they really were putting in 6 kWh of electricity per gallon they wouldn’t be profitable. The wholesale prices of all these products is easily available. They do use a lot of electricity, but nowhere near what it takes to power an electric car for a gallon of gas. The amount of electricity is small compared to the energy in the fuel they are processing.

+1 to Viking79 on this one. I subscribed to it as well. Kudos to Nix for setting me straight a long time ago. We need to be about the facts for, in the end, they are on our side.

Thanks! I give all the credit to the folks at the EIA, who publishes the hard primary source data:

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pnp_capfuel_dcu_nus_a.htm

The original confusion came when someone did a study that totaled up all the different energy inputs to refineries listed by the EIA (from coal to NG to electricity, etc) and standardized how much energy each of them provided in terms of the number of “joules” of energy. The joules of energy from all these energy sources were then stated in the equivalent number of kWh’s of electricity.

But this is all technical mumbo-jumbo that doesn’t make for happy readers except in technical/scientific forums. And unfortunately, as the story was simplified for a broader audience, all the complexity of all the different sources of energy was dropped, and all that was left was the kWh’s of electricity. Without the explanation of how the kWh equivalency was calculated from all these base fuels, the meme grew….

Come on, Nix….just give us the number….140 characters max like the president.

LOL!!

Somewhat off-topic, but peripherally related to the charging speed issue:
I have scheduled an installation of Tesla’s wall charging unit and it ain’t cheap (a panel upgrade is adding $500). Now I’m wondering if I should just cancel – the 120 V charging cable supplied with the Model 3 only charges at ~5 mi/hour, but I really don’t drive 50 miles a day anyway. Anyone here get the wall connector and later decide it wasn’t necessary?

You have a 240V adapter with your Model 3 as well so you can charge much faster using the portable unit. Just get an electrician to install the necessary outlet and you are good to go.

It is totally up to you, I see 120 V charging as good for about 20-40 miles per day (20 in cold winter areas). Closer to 4 miles range per hour is probably more reasonable. The Model 3 has enough range you can go multiple days without charging fully, but I like a fully charged and ready car whenever I go. When buying an electric car I ask myself: – does it have 4x range of my commute (cold winter, you need that much overhead)? – if not, I would buy a PHEV – does it recharge completely overnight? – if not, does it charge at least my commute in worst conditions? – does it recharge at least at a rate of about 150 miles in 30 minutes? – if not, is it for local driving? No? I would buy a PHEV Model 3 checks all the boxes for me, but I would want at least an L2 charge so you can recharge after weekend trips. However, you could hit a supercharger for 30 minutes if you depleted the battery to get it recovered to finish with L1. I won’t ever go back to L1 charger, but it can work,… Read more »

Another to consider is efficiency. L1 must step up from 120V to about 400V whereas L2 is half that. I measured L1 to be bit under 80% efficient while L2 was bit over 85%. It’s small in terms of money, but hey, penny pinched is another to get lost in couch cushion somewhere.

L1 could be as efficient as L2, but L1 is normally supplied with the car and I assume that manufacturers want to keep the cost as low as possible.

For L2, you have to purchase the adaptor, so they can come up with a better design. Power conversion could be over 90%

L1 cannot be as efficient as L2 given the same circuitry (ie, onboard charger). You need double the current in L1 to achieve same output power. Power loss = I^2 * R, double the current means 4 times the loss. L1 typically runs at lower power, but the charging circuitry has to be powered on for longer time (more loss). Net is still more loss for L1.

Sorry that’s pretty simplistic. Tesla car chargers traditionally took 30% more juice to charge up at 110 vs 190-250. GM products conversely are only a few % less efficient at 110, with 12 amps being superior to 8.

Was trying to find out if someone has done an efficiency test with the ‘3’, as my info was from the “S, X, and (newer Rav4EV)” . The roadster was even worse at 110, but then, that car is an exception since the drive motor was an integral part of the battery charging arrangement.

That I^2 * R comment was dopey – no offense. Since when do Level One charging facilities have more current than Level Two? The other thing is that you haven’t specified where the resistance is.

Looking at your comment, do you mean L2 “adaptor” has some power conversion circuit? No “power conversion” is done with L1 or L2 EVSE, both are just wires in a box (and a relay). All power conversion is done with vehicle’s on-board charger.

Your comment makes as much sense as someone saying since P = E^2 / R, then doubling the voltage must quadruple the losses.

You will absolutely not regret adding L2 charging in your own garage, ever. Your electrical panel probably needs an upgrade anyways and $500 for that is the cheapest I have ever heard of. I expect L2 charging will be a positive selling point for your house when the time comes. I would recommend getting a second opinion from a local (non-Tesla related) electrician for just installing a NEMA 14-50 outlet on a 50 amp supply breaker. Charging rate will be pretty close on the TM3 with the EVSE supplied with the car and at least you save the $$ on the HPWC itself. You can always plug in a stationary charger (such as the HPWC) later if you want to keep the mobile connector in the car. Recidivism rates for EV ownership are incredibly high and you are an early adopter. This will likely not be your last BEV and your next BEV will have an even bigger battery. It very well may be less efficient too, like the day a BEV F-150 happens. Not installing a big beefy L2 charger today is only delaying the inevitable and you will suffer the whole time in between. You are going to… Read more »

Thank you all for the helpful replies – sorry, moderators – after I posted I realized that this really belongs in the forum.

No worries!

If you can afford to have a 240 V outlet for your stove or dryer, you can readily afford an outlet for your car. Then you just use the mobile charger that comes with most EVs, or is available for them at much less cost than a “smart” wall charger unit. But of course, you get what you pay for.

I enjoyed L2 charging for eight months on my Model 3. With my new house, I’m temporarily forced to use L1 and it’s not fun. I find that I have to be constantly plugged in which can be a hassle in the winter with rain and snow. Hopefully my new garage (and requisite NEMA 14-50) in the Spring will be built sooner than later.

So, to ask again – is there an efficiency ‘hit’ at 110? Please disregard any existing loss in the house wiring, since not everyone would have a substantial loss there.

I’m not able to tell since the Tesla doesn’t show enough granular detail while charging. I set the Amps anywhere from 5 to 10 and it shows the same “1kW” rate. So it’s rounding and I can’t determine actual usage. Maybe it’s possible to use a Kill-a-watt device, but they sometimes burn up with the high continuous amperage.

They burn up at 10 amperes?

For my Volt, we installed a 50-amp RV outlet (NEMA 14-50) in a weather tight receptacle. (Don’t have a garage, it was converted into a bedroom) and bought a JuiceBox 40.

My electrician brother helped me wire up the outlet correctly and the JuiceBox was $400. Probably spent about $600 in total.

When we move, we can say that we have an RV outlet as a plus and the JuiceBox will just move with us. I consider it a win-win!

Keep in mind how much pre-conditioning of the interior you plan on doing. The electricity for pre-heating and pre-cooling the vehicle has to come through that same 120v wall plug. This will reduce how much electricity is left to charge your battery.

These issues have been my passion for years. Kudos to Matt Ferrel for a brilliant video. I would like to see the state-by-state graph provided by The Union for Concerned Scientist that he references, but other than that I give it two thumbs up!

Yes, he does a really nice job. Makes it clear he does his homework.

One issue that’s rarely, if ever, covered in “EV myth” is the cost to charge compared to gasser. Many people think MPGe translates directly to money savings compared to MPG gasser. They think they’ll pay 1/4 of 30 MPG gasser in electricity with 120 MPGe EV, not even considering that charging prices vary by as much as factor of 10 in some cases and EV efficiency varying by factor of 2 (or more!). This myth should be covered in more detail by someone somewhere somehow.

I only drive electrics but I cringe at some of the perfunctory statements here. But this is preaching to the echo chamber.

Seems to me a different tack is needed, as Jay Cole used to realize.