4 Ways You May Be Dead Wrong About Electric Cars


RelayRides blogger Eric Rosenberg shatters four common myths about electric vehicles, proving that they can be great financial investments.

Kelly Blue Book released its list of 2014 cars rated at 40 MPG or more, and it is an impressive list. The combination of electric vehicles and hybrids helps us dream about how much we can save on gas. Only one car on the list is a 100% fuel vehicle.

With so many electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids climbing to the top of the fuel efficiency lists, you might look around when driving and wonder where they are. The answer is that there are not many. A large number of consumers are afraid of buying an electric vehicle because of a handful of common misconceptions.

Misconception 1: EVs Don’t Have Enough Range

This is the big misconception that made me double take when my Dad told me he was buying a new Nissan Leaf. Rated at 126 MPG city, this car is incredibly efficient. However, I was still quick to question the 84 mile range per charge.

What I didn’t think about was that the average commute in the United States is about 16 miles each way, or 32 miles per day. Even if you want to go get lunch a few miles from the office and take a long detour on the way home to go shopping, you’ve still got 52 miles to do so without breaking a sweat.

Want to give it an extended test drive yourself? Check out Noah’s FIAT 500E with a 90 mile range per charge.

Misconception 2: All EVs Are Tiny

EVs are a range of sizes. You can find SUV versions and full size sedan versions. You may give up a little range when you switch to a bigger vehicle, but that isn’t a big problem as there are chargers everywhere (keep reading for more info on charging locations).

If you want to feel the size of an SUV with the fuel efficiency of an EV, a great option is the RAV4 EV, which has a 125 mile range and SUV cargo room. 

Misconception 3: EVs Are Not Safe

Wrong again. EVs get great safety ratings, just like their gas guzzling counterparts.

This misconception became widespread after some EV sports cars caught fire if their bottoms scraped on the ground. While there was big media attention for the problems, there were not many stories about how the problem has been fixed and is long behind us.

But most EVs have never had problems, they have been safe all along. For example, this Ford Focus is safe and reliable like any other Focus model.

Misconception 4: Recharging Is Difficult

Here in Portland, Oregon, there is a block downtown that was renamed “Electric Avenue.” The street is fitted with a variety of different charging stations and is 100% exclusive for electric vehicles.

I know, every city is not Portland, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find places to plug in. Many businesses are adding high speed charging stations that will charge your car to 80% in 30 minutes.

In addition, some stores, like Beau Jo’s famous pizza restaurants in Denver, have added charging stations. Walgreens stores are quickly adding charging stations to nearly all store parking lots. They are quickly being added at restaurants, shopping centers, and parking garages around America.

RelayRides member Lee even suggests charging stations around Seattle in his Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Try It for Yourself

Sure, some EVs are cost prohibitive and very expensive. However, there are lots of EV options that are reasonably priced, and might even save you money.

Still not convinced? Take an EV on an extended test drive with RelayRides. For less than $40, you can rent an EV for a day, or rent one for a few days or even a week.  Once you give it a try, you might decide that you are ready to stop giving the big oil companies your hard earned cash.