answers to frequently asked questions

From January to August 2021, 38,744 were registered in Italy electric cars, which represents only 3.6% of the total 1,069,875 delivered in the same period. Therefore quite small numbers, which, however, represent 500% more than the 6,455 registered in the same period of 2019. growing market also driven by the many innovations that car manufacturers present. But the doubts and questions are still many: let’s see some answers.

ARE ELECTRIC CARS EXPENSIVE THAN THOSE WITH COMBINATION ENGINE?

Yes, it difference the price is still remarkable compared to conventional cars. To give an example, let’s take a model that is available with both an internal combustion engine and an electric: Hyundai Kona 1.6 CRDI Xtech 48V, which has 136 HP, costs 25,150 euros, while Electric Xtech City with a 39 kWh battery is the same power , costs 35,850 euros. There is therefore more than 10,000 euros in difference due above all to the still high cost of batteries, which is destined to fall in the coming years with the greater prevalence of electric cars. In general incentives state governments reduce the price difference but do not cancel it.

ARE ELECTRIC CARS DIFFICULT TO CHARGE?

In addition to the still high purchase price, uncertainty about charging is one of the most limiting factors in the prevalence of electric cars. Who can Reload to home (or in the office) is preferred, also because the average distance for Italians is a few tens of thousands of km per day. A 3-hour charge of only 2.5 kW allows you to regain about 50 km of autonomy, more than enough for urban use. In any case, it is advisable to have one installed in the garage wallbox (there is from 3.7 up to 22 kW power), which involves installation costs (which can vary from 500 to 1,500 euros approx., also paid in subsequent bills) and a monthly fee, but allows faster and more stable. And how much does it cost to fill up? It is necessary to consider an average price of energy between 0.20 and 0.23 euros for each kWh (in the protected market): then charge a 40 kWh battery it costs about 8-9 eurosfor a range of about 270 km.

Without the possibility of recharging at home (or at work) the difficulties increase because it is necessary to contact public charging stations, already about 12,000 today. And here a world opens up because the problems that can be found are innumerable: the column does not work, our payment system fails, it is already busy, it is not accessible because someone has parked in front and so on. In addition, their distribution is uneven in the various areas of Italy, although the number is constantly increasing, especially in places of usual frequency such as shopping and leisure centers. The charges are definitely variable and are determined by the column type of the operator providing the service and the recharging rate. Charging the car at the public columns costs around € 0.45-0.50 per. kWh delivered. So for a 100% charge of a 40 kWh medium-sized battery, you spend between 19 and 29 euros.

DO ELECTRIC CARS ALLOW YOU TO TRAVEL FAR?

Yes, but as long as you arm yourself with great patience and above all plan your journey with great care. The most modern electric cars now have a decent range, and it is possible to drive even 350-400 km on one charge. The problem arises when you need to refuel and here the big difference will be the installation of charging stations in normal gas stations found on highways and state highways. To date, it is almost always necessary to leave the highway and look for a fast column. Yes, because when traveling, it is unthinkable to let the car charge for hours: the fast bars are therefore essential. So you need to plan your trip in advance to stop in areas with fast recharging. The location is often provided by the same multimedia system as the cars, or there are smartphone apps that help locate the nearest gas station.

And in any case, the inevitable must be budgeted time extensions: each stop for recharging may take a long time depending on the power of the column. The fast ones, which deliver 22 kW of AC power, are capable of recharging a 40 kWh battery to 100% in about two hours. This time is halved if you choose a faster 50 kW column that charges a 40 kWh battery in an hour or less. If you only want to reach up to 80% charge and time can be decidedly lower but never less than 30-40 minutes. And then you have to budget with any unforeseen events, such as out of order column, payment method does not work, space occupied and so on.

IS THE ELECTRIC CAR REALLY CLEANERS?

Other things hot topic even within the industry, it is widely debated that the effective “cleaning” of electric cars is. As the emissions during use are zero, a comparison with conventional cars only makes sense if you look at the CO2 produced in the life cycle. A Transport & Environment (T&A) study concluded that average CO2 emissions of electric cars in Europe in 2020 is about three times lower than comparable petrol / diesel cars: 90 g CO₂eq / km against 234 g CO₂eq / km for a diesel car and 253g CO₂eq / km for a petrol car.

If the electricity used by battery-powered cars becomes “cleaner”, thanks to renewable energy, the benefit will increase further. Emissions are expressed in grams of CO₂ equivalent to standardize the different types of “fuel”. These data are interesting because they also take into account the CO2 emissions generated to build the batteries, a majority of the total emissions to date. The very high efficiency makes it possible to drastically reduce the corresponding emissions in the life cycle, more than to offset the battery construction.

IS CONSTRUCTION AND RECYCLING BATTERIES VERY POLLUTING?

These questions are an inexhaustible source of discussion, but keep in mind that emissions in production and disposal are part of the T&A calculations (see previous questions). The presence of cobalt and lithium raises questions about the ethics of extraction (it is known about child miners enslaved in lithium mines) and the toxicity of cobalt. For these reasons, many manufacturers certify themselves for the use of controlled extraction processes that respect human rights.

Studies to have cobalt-free lithium batteries they are far ahead and those with iron phosphate who do not have them are already in use. In terms of their service life (after use in stationary storage), the initiatives for recycling and reuse of the raw materials used, including the controversial cobalt and lithium, are multiplied. In this sector, however, there is still a lot to do, and certainly the new generation of batteries will allow a more efficient disposal / recycling than the current one.

HOW LONG DO ELECTRIC CAR BATTERIES LAST?

In terms of durability, there are certainly aspects that need to be improved that condemn the fact that these technologies are still a bit immature. However, the standard warranty for battery packs is general 8 years or 160,000 km and it is reassuring, not to mention that concrete cases even report double distances with tolerable decreases in capacity. And it is precisely the drivers who can extend the life of the batteries, never completely discharge them and as far as possible avoid 100% recharging.

Lithium batteries for cars are air-conditioned and are more robust than mobile phone batteries and therefore have a much longer lifespan. In any case, when they are no longer suitable for use in the car, they can be used, for example, as accumulators for photovoltaic systems (pictured above). It means that they want value and then they can be sold to the car manufacturer or third party companies that provide a profit to be used to buy the new batteries.

ARE ELECTRIC CARS LESS SPRING THAN TRADITIONAL CARS?

No, in fact, the opposite is often true: modern electric cars, thanks to powerful and torque-rich motors that already at speeds close to zero rpm. very cheerful. Without bothering sporty models like the Tesla Model S or Porsche Taycan let’s see the comparison between two more normal cars: the Hyundai Kona 1.0 T-GDI with 120 HP accelerates according to the manufacturer from 0 to 100 km / h in 11.5 seconds, while the Hyundai Kona Electric 39 kWh, which has 136 horsepower but weighs more (1,535 kg against 1,237), sprints in 9.7 seconds.

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