It is safe to say that electric cars are here to stay. More and more companies are introducing electric vehicles and there are undoubtedly changes afoot in automotive industry. Although there are numerous advantages to owning an electric vehicle, (which of course everyone talks about), there are still some things that suck if you’re an EV owner. I wont mention the usual stuff like high prices or slow charging. Here are the things that no one talks about.
Slow Top Speed
Regardless of the great acceleration figures many EVs have, their top speeds are often stuck at a very disappointing 80 mph or so. Due to the single geared nature of the electric motor, the Volkswagen E-Golf, Kia Soul EV or BMW i3 all have top speeds well below the 100 mph mark. Not really acceptable in todays world. Yes, there are blisteringly fast electric cars like the Rimac Concept S with a top speed of 228 mph, but most ordinary electric cars are quite slow.
Although their top speeds correspond with speed limits in most countries, with the exception of Germany`s Autobahn, a low top speed is still a huge downside. In the case of an emergency, a high top speed can be a useful or even life-saving feature, to avoid an accident or get to the hospital. It also allows police and ambulance forces to actually start buying and using electric cars, something they cannot currently do to any great extent.
An example of this is the Volkswagen Up. The top speed of the current 74 horsepower Volkswagen Up, a tiny city car, is a modest 106 miles per hour, yet its 80 horsepower EV version, the E-Up has a top speed of just 84 miles per hour. 22 miles per hour slower, yet its double the price! Not good.
Small interior space, especially in the rear
Despite the advancements in technology and constant innovation happening in the industry, batteries still take up a significant amount of space. Most manufacturers have settled on mounting them under the floor of the vehicle, in a skateboard type design. This sounds perfect in theory, but in real life, it does mean that the floor has to be much higher than a conventional car, which takes precious space away from passengers, especially in the rear. This can lead to a “crouching” type position where passenger’s knees are not supported. To counter this, seats have to be made higher, but then this leads to less headroom.
If you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle for its spaciousness, whilst they gain in some areas (no engine taking up space), they lose in others. Expensive electric cars like the brand new 2020 Porsche Taycan are fighting this problem with their “foot garage”, an area where part of the battery is cutaway for leg room, but this does eat into the cars range.
Although the most significant concern with electric vehicles is range, most peoples concerns aren’t especially justified. The average driver drives around 30 miles per day. The range aspect that’s more concerning however is the highway range. If you read the fine print, you will notice that quoted range figures are often combined driving or city driving and there’s a good reason for that. Rather unlike combustion engines, electric vehicles do very well in city driving, but perhaps less so on the highway.
All modern EVs use regenerative braking to add power to the batteries. Since there is a lot of braking in city driving, the battery pack gets a lot of power back so less energy is wasted. As well as this, when stationary, the motor is doing absolutely nothing. For highway driving however, there is far less braking or no braking at all, which means the batteries are quickly drained. If you’re planning longer trips with your electric vehicle, make sure to check its real world highway range, particularly at your countries maximum speed limit, ideally when its raining and uphill!
One of the main downsides of electric vehicles is weight, and most EVs are significantly heavier than comparable petrol or diesel-powered cars. The reason is simple, batteries are big and bulky, and there aren’t really many ways around this. For example, a Kia Soul with a 1.6-liter petrol engine weighs around 1.3 tons, but the Kia Soul EV is 200 kilograms heavier at 1.5 tons, despite not having an engine up front. Not too bad, but 200kg does affect driving dynamics, braking, and tire wear. It’s essentially the same as having 3 of your buddies in the car at all times!
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Tesla Model S, which weighs a whopping 2.1 tons! Comparable combustion cars weigh at least 300kg less. In most EV’s, the battery-pack adds around 200 kilograms but for models like the Tesla Model X, the battery pack is over 500 kg! They’ve used aluminum for both the chassis and body panels to keep weight down, but this adds to the cost significantly. When an aluminum chassis is not used, like on the Audi E-tron, weight skyrockets significantly. Audis new electric SUV weighs a whopping 2565kg, and that’s STILL using aluminum body panels!
Also unlike a combustion car which becomes MORE efficient as the fuel goes down (the car becomes lighter), EV’s are the opposite. The car weight the same at 300 miles range or 3 miles range. This means you’ve still got to lug a big heavy battery around, no matter what. EV’s are still more efficient, but its something to consider.
You probably never thought about it but owning an electric vehicle, especially some of the more advanced models could actually be putting your privacy or even safety at risk! Paranoid? You should be. With all those sensors, autonomous driving systems, cameras, permanent 4G connection and computer systems that memorize when and where you’ve charged your car, your daily activity is tracked and there’s potential for it to fall into the wrong hands. Currently in our combustion cars, they’re dumb. Leave your phone at home and your privacy will be preserved. Not so for EV’s.
Do you really want corporation’s and governments knowing everywhere you go? Ok, before things get all conspiratorial, you might not mind personally, but you don’t have to be a criminal to have concerns. What if this information was hacked and leaked to the public? Large companies have been hacked before and will be hacked again, especially as this data is extremely valuable. Knowing where people have been, with video and GPS data, backdated for years would not only violate peoples privacy but could reveal company secrets, put famous people at risk or even reveal peoples driving habits to car thieves or burglers. No one ever talks about this with electric vehicles but to some, its scary stuff!
So, there you are. 5 things that suck about electric cars that no one talks about. Did I miss any other things that suck? Let me know in the comments.