The transition to electric cars is harder than it seems. Why (carVertical).

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Banning new cars with fossil-fueled internal combustion engines from 2035 is an ambitious plan, but the transition to electric vehicles will be harder than it seems now, analysis shows.

New electric vehicle registrations are on the rise, but eastern markets are lagging behind western markets, according to carVertical. In his analysis, automotive expert Matas Buzelis shows what the problems are that authorities seem to be overlooking.

In 2021, the share of electric cars in the total number of cars checked on the background check platform was just 0.2%. A year later it doubled to 0.4%, and in 2023 it rose to 0.6%. And while these numbers may seem like a drop in the ocean, tens of thousands of electric vehicles are going through background checks.

More and more drivers are looking to switch to electric vehicles. They are being driven to do so by operating and maintenance costs. While the residual value of electric vehicles is a concern, they are easier to own because they are less prone to breakdowns and require less maintenance, not having to replace various fluids and filters every 30,000 kilometers.

Recharging takes some getting used to, but drivers who have successfully mastered battery charging find it much more convenient than refueling. They usually charge their cars at night and only rarely use public charging stations.

The problem lies in the infrastructure.

However, even if a driver can afford an electric car, that doesn’t mean they will be comfortable living with it. People who don’t have chargers or don’t have a charging point to use during business hours will be inconvenienced because using public chargers is not as easy as refueling currently.

Not only does it take much longer than refueling with gasoline or diesel, but it usually requires the installation of special apps that are vital to the chargers. It’s not even close to the usual refueling process that drivers are used to, as there is no “fill up – pay” practice here.

Also, while electric cars are very efficient in cities and environments where constant braking is unavoidable, they are not as efficient on highways and freeways. Speed and drag are directly proportional, i.e. if speed doubles, drag quadruples. This reduces range and noticeably reduces cruising speed, making EVs far from ideal for long trips.

Problems that many people don’t think about.

But the biggest problems are the ones that only a few people talk about. First, some multi-level parking lots were not designed to accommodate heavy vehicles like EVs. Heavy batteries usually mean that electric cars are very heavy, and some facilities such as multi-level parking lots or bridges may need to be reviewed and re-evaluated by authorities.

There is also uncertainty about the safety of electric vehicles. Since batteries absorb large amounts of energy, in the event of a fire, it is extremely difficult to extinguish the flames. So far, firefighters have had difficulty extinguishing electric cars with high-capacity batteries. The situation becomes even more extreme if an electric car catches fire in an underground parking lot, such as under apartment buildings.

There are even more questions about the future of electric cars 20 years after their release. Today, the selection of used electric cars is quite large, but in 10 years there will be older electric cars. How valuable will they be on the used car market with batteries that have already reached their end of life?

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