MYTH: The grid will crash if millions of plug-ins charge at once.
FACT: Off-peak electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel the daily commutes of 73 percent percent of all cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans on the road today if they were PHEVs, a 2007 study by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found. Also, utilities are upgrading some local distribution systems to accommodate plug-ins, just as they do when residents add more air conditioners and TVs. Plug-ins, which can be seen as energy storage devices on wheels, can actually benefit the grid, making green energies like solar and wind power even more viable.
MYTH: Battery chemicals are bad for the environment and can’t be recycled.
FACT: Ninety-nine percent of batteries in conventional cars are recycled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The metals in newer batteries are more valuable and recycling programs are already being developed for them. Utilities plan to use batteries for energy storage once they are no longer viable in a vehicle.
MYTH: EVs take too long to charge.
FACT: The most convenient place and time to charge is at home while you sleep. Even using the slowest 120-volt outlet, the car can be left to charge overnight, producing about 40 miles of range. Most new BEVs and PHEVs will charge from 240-volt outlets providing double or triple the charge in the same amount of time. Charging stations that reduce charging time even more are beginning to appear.
MYTH: Plug-ins are too expensive for market penetration.
FACT: New technologies are typically costly. Remember when cell phones and DVDs were introduced? Also, the government stimulus package includes a $2,500 to $7,500 tax credit for EVs and PHEVs. Some states are considering additional incentives ($5,000 in California and Texas). And, the purchase and lifetime operating cost of an EV is on par with or less than its gas-powered equivalent because EVs require almost no maintenance or repair: no oil or filter changes, no tune ups, no smog checks.
MYTH: Batteries will cost $15,000 to replace after only a few years.
FACT: The battery is the priciest part of a plug-in, but costs will drop as production increases and the auto industry is expected to be purchasing up to $25 billion in advanced batteries annually by 2015. Some car makers plan to lease their batteries, so replacement won’t be an issue. The Chevy Volt PHEV will have a 10-year battery warranty that would cover battery replacement.