Five things you didn't realise about electric cars... 

Five factoids for you, as air pollution is continuing to damage European citizens' health, latest EU figures show. Here is a pic (with title and author attribution, even) as evidence...

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 12.02.11 AM

So here is my take on why EVs are worth consideration as your transport:

1 EVs reduce air pollution

79,000 people die every year of air pollution in Britain, according to a story on the TV last night. The research was done with a small air monitor, which measured the junk in air it sucked in every few seconds.  Most of that pollution comes from the exhausts of cars and trucks as particulate matter (PM). Sadly, we get most of it whilst driving. Keeping PM out of our lungs is best done by avoiding traffic. Just driving in traffic is much much worse than walking - unless you walk right in the middle of the road! So, keeping away from the centre of a main road (on the footpath is better, apparently, except if you are driving) makes a huge difference.  Other ways are wearing a high quality air filter and not driving where there are lots of trucks or ICE (internal combustion engined) vehicles. Driving near EVs is no problem at all, of course. 

2 EVs cost less to run

A surprising factoid, perhaps obvious when you think about it. Electricity costs a lot more in small country towns where the electricity is generated by fossil-fuel-powered generators. This is simply a reflection on the cost of using petrol or diesel to produce electricity. Solar panels, hydro-electric and even (sadly) coal power stations cost less. That is why my running costs have dropped from ~20c/km to ~2c/km since putting PVs on our roof and an electric motor in the place of the old ICE motor.

3 Second hand EVs don't have old petrol or diesel motors to worry about

I used to think: 'Hmm, and old car - that won't be worth much, I'll bet its motor is worn out'. Convert it to electric, and suddenly you have a motor with one moving part and a 2 yearly service cost of two brushes in its commutator. About $6 each. I've been driving mine for three years and the electric motor is still silent, just like it was on day 1. If the car's not rusty, still looks good and is great to drive, then age means a lot less than it used to!

4 Traction battery packs are easy to replace

Swapping a battery that is playing up requires disconnecting it, withdrawing from the battery box and slipping a replacement in. It requires no special tools, isn't greasy or dirty and is simple to do. Mechanics will love servicing EVs.

5 EVs wreck the (still profitable) business model of petrol companies 

Just in case you forgot there is a political angle to much of the important stuff in this world, this simple realisation helps us to understand why some people want to spread porkies about EVs, even when they lack solid foundation. Remember the old one: 'EVs cost more to make than ICE vehicles'? And: 'EVs cause more pollution that ICE vehicles'?  What about: 'Counting Whole Life Cycle costs, ICE vehicles are cheaper than Electric'; and one I saw today, 'Air conditioners: EVs' dirty little secret. Oh, spare me! Since ALL modern vehicles use the same refrigerant, it is a little disingenuous to argue that EVs are hiding any secret that ICEs share in spades or, by implication that EVs are the problem and not the solution. All these  tatements' might sound a bit too hard to believe, and you would be right. I'm not saying that the petrol companies are the source of ALL the misinformation; just that they're not the right people to champion the development of EVs.

© bdc 2014