Edmunds separates fact from fiction about green cars

With all the developments in the auto industry you might think your next car will be electric, including a new federal target that means half of all new vehicles sold within a decade will have zero emissions. This will be a dramatic change, and perhaps even a troubling one, for car buyers. With the future scenario in mind, experts at Edmonds have cut down on the misinformation and examined some of the most prevalent EV myths.

Hybrids and EVs are too expensive

Hybrid and fully electric vehicles are initially more expensive to buy than comparable gasoline-engined cars. But there is more to the story. After your purchase, you’ll pay less to keep it running. For example, consider the front-wheel-drive 2021 Honda Passport SUV and the rear-wheel-drive electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. The EPA estimates that an average American driver will pay $2,050 per year to gas the Passport versus only $650 in electricity to drive the Mach-E for a year.

Some estimates say that it could take up to eight years to recover the increased cost of a battery electric vehicle compared to a gas-powered electric vehicle, but this does not take into account the available financial incentives that would take that time significantly. can reduce. Many vehicles are eligible for tax credits, and the amount varies depending on your location. There is an additional cost to set up a home charging station, but incentives can come in handy here as well.

EVs also have fewer moving parts than internal combustion vehicles and are less expensive to maintain. Regular oil changes will be a thing of the past, and thanks to regenerative braking — using deceleration to generate electricity to recharge the battery — you won’t need to replace your brake pads as often.

Overall, it’s a good idea to do your EV research and determine your savings before making the leap to electric.

EV batteries are as bad for the environment as gasoline engines

The answer is more subtle than the right or wrong answer. Current battery chemistry relies on lithium. Lithium is typically mined from the earth in giant pits or extracted from the earth by pumping a saline solution into a borehole and evaporating the solution in above-ground ponds. Neither option is eco-friendly. Additionally, lithium mining will need to be expanded in lockstep to meet the demand for EVs. But the mining sites of the future could improve a lot. One example is the planned mine site in the Salton Sea, California, which its proponents promote as one of the least disruptive lithium prospects in the United States.

Oil extraction and transportation has its issues, as high-profile events such as BP’s Deepwater Horizon and the Exxon Valdez spill have demonstrated. Refining crude oil into gasoline and other petroleum products brings its own environmental hazards in terms of both soil contamination and harmful emissions.

You Can’t Recycle EV Batteries

Actually, yes, it is possible to recycle lithium-ion batteries. It is not financially beneficial to do so right now. Several projects are underway to make battery recycling more affordable, and it is highly likely that the company that pioneers this technology will be rewarded heavily. In the event that lithium becomes scarce, the limits of economic viability will also drop.

What about the charging infrastructure?

Charging stations are becoming more common, and over the past decade it has become much easier to install a charger in your home or business as well. With the development of DC fast charging, many new EVs can offset a range of over 200 miles in just 20 minutes. The hidden component of worrying is where that energy comes from. More than 60% of electricity in the US is generated using fossil fuels. But the share of renewable energy has doubled since the 1980s, and trends suggest that the pace will accelerate.

With the expected increase in EV sales, power consumption will also increase significantly, putting pressure on the old power grid. In energy-challenged California, that could spell disaster during the summer months when rolling blackouts are already common. For now, it looks like solar on every roof may be the most viable solution.

Edmonds says:

In terms of both financial and environmental impact, it is best to compare electric vehicles with the idea of ​​paying more upfront and reaping benefits after a year or two of ownership. The main takeaway is that over the life of a gasoline-powered vehicle – including manufacturing – it will produce far more greenhouse gases than an electric vehicle, even in areas where oil and gas power generation is dominant. Is.

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This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.

Mark Takahashi is a senior review editor at Edmonds. Twitter: @mark_takahashi

Related links: Electric car range and consumption; The right price to power an electric car

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