Five myths about electric cars busted | Top Gear
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Five myths about electric cars busted

The chat around electric cars is dominated by hot air. Time to set the facts straight

  • It’s been a busy few years in emissions news, and there’s never been a smarter time to switch to an electric car. The great thing is, you don’t even have to be a committed environmentalist to feel the benefits. Like any modern phenomenon, there are a few naysayers to be put right and a bit of fake news that needs correcting. Here, we debunk some of those myths…

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  • Truth: Some of the new breed of 100 per cent electric cars can drive more than 200 miles on a single charge, and this range is increasing all the time. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids, which combine a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor, can take you many hundreds of miles just like a conventional car. The electric motor can be used for most journeys, especially city driving, and the petrol and diesel is ready and waiting for the longer ones, such as on motorways. With 90 per cent of journeys being on average fewer than 15 miles, this is well within the range of an electric car.

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  • Truth: You could pay slightly more up-front for an electric car, compared to petrol and diesel equivalents, but prices are coming down. Plug-in cars and vans also benefit from generous government grants of up to £4,500 and £8,000 respectively, and some cities offer free parking spaces. In London, you don’t even have to pay the congestion charge. And that’s before you save on running costs – a full electric car could cost on average 3p per mile to drive. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

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  • Truth: Many people think that the life of an electric car owner is one spent nervously scouring around for public charging points, and that there are inevitably none to be found when you really need some juice. In reality, research shows that 90 per cent of charging takes place at home with a dedicated charging point, and when you are on the go, you’d be surprised how many charging points there are. There are more than 15,000 charge point connectors across the UK, and this number is growing all the time. What’s more, the UK has one of the largest rapid charging network in Europe, including at 96 per cent of motorway service stations. And if you’re worried about twiddling your thumbs in a service station for hours, don’t – rapid chargers can charge a fully electric car to 80 per cent in as little as half an hour. 

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  • Truth: You are bang wrong. Not only are electric cars a smoother, more comfortable drive over long journeys, but you’ll be surprised by the acceleration, due to instant torque from the motor. The electric car range is a fiercely competitive arms race between manufacturers at the moment, and we the consumers are the winners. Better, faster, more technologically advanced and much more fun cars are being produced all the time. 

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  • Truth: Wrong again. In fact, an electric car’s battery often outlasts the car itself, and is capable of doing hundreds of thousands of miles with almost imperceptible reductions in charging efficiency. If only phones were like that.

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