Here at Charged, we don’t devote much time to debunking anti-EV misinformation—the enemies of the future flood the zone with FUD 24/7, and responding to even a fraction of it might leave no time for anything else. However, a recent article in Carbon Brief is so comprehensive and well-researched that we just had to bring it to your attention.
In “Factcheck: 21 misleading myths about electric vehicles,” author Simon Evans addresses some of the most common myths about EVs. His article is lengthy, comprehensive, well-researched and absolutely loaded with links to relevant recent studies. This kind of journalism isn’t for those with short attention spans (which is of course what the anti-EV pundits count on), but for anyone considering spending 50 or 60 thousand bucks on a new vehicle, the investment of time to read this article will be well worth it.
The flood of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that bubbles up from the sewers of social media, and infects respectable news outlets, automakers and politicians, isn’t aimed at EV-haters. It’s aimed at environmentally conscious consumers who are interested in EVs, but haven’t yet made up their minds to buy. That’s why the articles always begin with a phrase like “Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for EVs, but…” and why they harp on a hundred variations of the “Are EVs really green?” theme.
The repertoire of myths, canards, urban legends and lies that are concocted to sabotage EV purchases is well-known to the white knights who graciously give of their time to debunk them. Several are so shopworn that they’ve acquired names, like the Legend of the Long Tailpipe and the Battery Backpack Bugaboo. These two and many others are based on grains of truth—but the FUD merchants cherry-pick, exaggerate and misrepresent in order to make temporary technical challenges sound like EV deal-killers.
Disproving these tall tales does nothing to slow their propagation—for example, the Long Tailpipe has been definitively debunked by dozens of studies, but new versions of it pop up every hour of every day, and we continue to hear educated people, who should know better than to take social media posts at face value, repeating it. The only way to fight the FUD is to address these people, and to point them to a source where they can find the facts.
I’ve done my bit to educate the EV-curious masses, in a series of articles entitled Handy links to debunk common anti-EV myths, parts one, two and three; and in a humorous piece dubbed Snarky answers to stupid EV questions. However, since these pieces were written, many more studies have come out, and the Carbon Brief article includes more up-to-date research.
Mr. Evans addresses several (but by no means all) of the mendacious and misleading claims out there, including the Long Tailpipe (sounds logical until you read one of the dozens of studies that have disproved it); the Battery Backpack (a real issue, but egregiously exaggerated); synthetic fuels and hydrogen (beloved by politicians, ridiculed by scientists); the EV Sales are Slowing routine (automakers’ official figures say otherwise); the environmental impacts of raw materials extraction (a real issue, but small potatoes compared with the impacts of fossil fuel extraction); the EVs Break the Grid scenario (not an issue, if you ask utility execs); and the Disintegrating EV Tires scam (last time I checked, my tires hadn’t worn away).
Source: Carbon Brief