Electric Cars vs. Petrol Vehicles: The Price Debate


Are electric cars too expensive to tempt motorists away from petrol vehicles? This ongoing debate has sparked discussions among car enthusiasts, environmentalists, and everyday drivers. While some argue that electric cars offer numerous benefits and are worth the investment, others raise concerns about charging infrastructure, travel time, and the overall cost.

The Garage and Charging Conundrum

One argument against electric cars is the inconvenience of charging, especially for those without access to a private garage. @Bissness suggests that owning an electric car only makes sense if you have an overnight charging option. However, @bwanab counters this point, sharing personal experience of living in an apartment with street parking and managing to charge their electric car without much difficulty. They mention that the inconvenience of moving the car for street cleaning was more of a hassle than the charging process itself.

Long-Distance Travel Challenges

Another concern raised by @Bissness is the perception that electric cars add extra travel time for longer distances. @tapoxi acknowledges that finding charging stations and waiting for the car to charge can be a time-consuming process. However, @bryanlarsen shares their experience of completing a 3000km trip multiple times and mentions that charging only added 15 minutes to their travel time. They argue that charging time can be utilized for other activities such as eating, sleeping, and bathroom breaks.

On the other hand, @devilbunny challenges the notion that charging only adds 15 minutes to a long-distance trip. They argue that fueling up an ICE vehicle takes a few minutes per stop, while charging an electric vehicle at non-Tesla stations can take significantly longer. @bryanlarsen responds, emphasizing that the 15 minutes mentioned are in addition to the regular stops that would be required regardless of the car type.

Charging Efficiency and Range Anxiety

@TheLoafOfBread shares their own experience of a trip from London, UK to Southern Italy, where charging significantly extended the travel time. They express skepticism towards the 15-minute charging time mentioned by @bryanlarsen. @MilaM questions the charging inefficiency and suggests that the Enyaq model used by @TheLoafOfBread might have had a lower charging rate, leading to the longer charging times. @TheLoafOfBread clarifies that they had the Enyaq iV80, but encountered issues with certain charging stations which affected their journey.

Charging Infrastructure and Reliability

@bryanlarsen brings attention to the Tesla supercharger network, highlighting the reliability and convenience it offers during long trips. @seanmcdirmid agrees, stating that Tesla’s superchargers are the gold standard for EV charging, with other options being less reliable.

The Appeal of Electric Micromobility

@the_snooze suggests that electric micromobility, such as e-bikes and scooters, may be a more sensible choice for many people, especially for short-distance errands and grocery runs. However, @facialwipe adds a humorous remark, pointing out that in areas with frequent rain, electric micromobility may not be the most practical option.

The Financing Factor

@edent highlights an important aspect of car ownership - the financing options. In the UK, many people opt for financing plans where they pay a monthly fee for a specific period, similar to a mobile phone contract. This allows them to upgrade their vehicles regularly without paying the full retail price upfront. They argue that when comparing the monthly costs of electric and petrol vehicles, they can be competitive.

The Perception of Car Upgrades

@highwaylights further emphasizes the common practice of upgrading vehicles regularly, as it is seen as the norm. @padjo raises concerns about the maximum depreciation that comes with this behavior, which can lead to financial strain. However, @edent defends the practice, highlighting the benefits of having a new car with a warranty, avoiding unexpected repair costs, and enjoying the social value of driving a “nice” and efficient vehicle.

Exploring Battery Swapping

@whynotmaybe introduces the concept of battery swapping, where a Chinese company offers a car that allows users to replace the battery instead of charging it. However, @robotcookies mentions the challenges faced by companies attempting battery swapping in the past, with only a few successful examples like Nio in China.

Final Thoughts

The debate between electric cars and petrol vehicles continues, with valid points on both sides. While concerns about charging infrastructure, travel time, and costs remain, advancements in technology and charging networks are improving the feasibility and efficiency of electric cars. As the market evolves, it is crucial to examine individual needs, preferences, and circumstances when considering the switch to electric vehicles. With ongoing developments, perhaps more motorists will be tempted away from petrol vehicles in the future.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/dec/16/are-electric-cars-too-expensive-to-tempt-motorists-away-from-petrol-and-diesel-vehicles

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