Misconceptions regarding electric cars
EU's Fit for 55 plan includes quite ambitious emissions reduction targets for the car industry and this has initiated a big discussion in the industry and among thought-leaders. I would like to point out two topics where our thinking tends to go wrong and where looking at the wider picture makes sense
Let's think wider than just switching the power source from internal combustion to battery-electric.
Here is a photo of one of the first cars made. It is a 1896 Arnold Benz, whose driver Walter Arnold received the worlds first speeding ticket for driving 13km/h with it. As you can see the car looks like a horse carriage minus the horse. It was only a few decades later that cars were considered to be cars and not horse carriages with engines and could therefore be designed differently.
At present day we have a similar problem and are stuck in the thinking that an electric vehicle must be a car where everything must be otherwise the same only the engine to be a battery powered electric engine.
But this conception misses one fundamental problem. That is that for electric battery powered cars range is expensive, weighs a lot and takes a lot of space. For a gasoline engine adding range means just a bigger tank, so for 100km of range you need:
- 8 litres of space
- 5,7kg of extra weight
- a few euros for the extra plastic of the tank.
For an electric battery powered car an extra 100km of range (rough calculation based on 2 models of Hyundai Kona) means:
- 75kg of extra weight
- Almost 3000euros for the bigger and more energy dense battery and more powerful engine.
The fundamental reason for this is the difference in energy density of batteries and gasoline:
- Big expensive (rental) cars for the trips to the countryside.
or maybe we will do all the short-range travelling with e-bikes, e-scooters and Vok Bikes
Substituting trips not (just) the vehicles
- If instead of driving to the office every day you would work from home 2 days a week then you have would cut your work-trip emitions by 40%. A huge shift! Use an e-bike for the 3 other days and you cut work-trip emissions by 100%. Wohoo!
- If cities would plan school, daycare, hobby possibilities so that children and adults could walk or bike to them then we could cut tens of percents of "school-trip" emissions.
- Online meetings instead of travelling to the customer office.