Fact Check: 5 Things About EVs That People Get Wrong

EVs will likely dominate the roads of the future, but many folks have misconceptions about them. Some complaints about electric cars are valid, while others aren’t true. Here’s a look at the five things about EVs that people tend to get wrong.

1. EVs are too expensive 

A red 2019 Nissan Leaf EV on display at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in March 2019 in Switzerland
2019 Nissan Leaf EV | Robert Hradil/Getty Images

According to The Nature Conservancy, there is some truth to the thought that electric vehicles are too expensive to be practical. Most EVs cost at least $30,000. Even the cheapest new EV on the market right now, the Nissan Leaf, costs just over $27,000. For that price, many families can buy a reliable gas-powered SUV or a luxury sedan. 

But the sticker price isn’t the dollar amount that consumers should consider. Many EVs qualify for tax credits that save buyers thousands. For example, a $7,500 federal tax credit for certain all-electric vehicles, and California residents can get an additional $1,500 off. These incentives make EVs more competitive, but there’s more.

According to the Nature Conservancy, EVs’ cost of ownership is less overall. An owner can save $6,000 to $10,000 over the life of an electric car compared to a gas-powered vehicle.

2.  Electric vehicles don’t have enough cargo space

This assumption is incorrect because EVs typically have comparable amounts of cargo space as gas-combustion cars. The difference is that most EVs on the market right now are smaller than their gas-powered counterparts. Thus, their cargo capacities are naturally small.

However, automakers are already well on their way to sizing up their electric models. Large EVs, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Tesla Cybertruck, are coming soon. They can carry as much cargo as a typical full-size pickup.

3. Producing EVs takes too much energy

The Nature Conservancy admits there’s some truth to this complaint. However, it’s not entirely true. Yes, producing an EV takes more energy and, thus, produces more emissions than making a regular car. However, it doesn’t take long before an electric vehicle produces fewer emissions than a gas-powered car.

For example, after driving a Tesla Model 3 for about 20,600 miles, it will have had the same lifetime emissions as a Toyota RAV4. After 100,000 miles, the RAV4 will have emitted 77% more emissions than the Model 3 did in its entire life, The Nature Conservancy reports. So, for most folks, an EV ends up emitting less over its lifetime.

4. Electricity comes from fossil fuels, so EVs aren’t better than gas-combustion cars

Once again, there’s some truth to this, but it’s not correct, either. A lot of electricity comes from fossil fuels, but many places generate plenty of clean energy too. So, for instance, charging a Tesla in the middle of a hot California day is cleaner than charging a Tesla at night in Florida.

That said, The Nature Conservancy explains that, on average, an EV generates the same emissions as a car that gets 80 mpg. But no regular car gets 80 mpg, so EVs still win here. 

5. There aren’t enough charging stations for electric cars to be practical


What Is the Best Small EV?

The main reason why this complaint isn’t true is that there are more than enough charging stations for drivers to use an electric vehicle in their daily lives.

In fact, according to The Nature Conservancy, EV owners can take a road trip cross-country right now because there are enough charging stations for that.

However, range anxiety is real, and more charging stations are popping up every year. So it won’t be long until charging stations stand on every corner.