Transport & Parking

Electric Vehicle Myth-buster

Our 2019 Travel Survey revealed the 3 biggest reasons University staff and students were concerned about switching to electric vehicles. Here, we run through these reservations and bust some myths.

Myth 1: “Electric Vehicles ('EVs') are expensive”

Whilst it is true that the upfront cost of an electric vehicle is usually more than a fossil-fuel powered one, upfront costs are not the only thing to think about. You will spend a lot less on ongoing running costs with an EV than a traditional car, as charging an EV is about a quarter of the cost of buying fuel. For example:

For a petrol engine with an efficiency of 40mpg, and a petrol price of 165p per litre, driving 200 miles will cost you £37.71 in fuel.

Meanwhile, an EV with a 50kWh battery and a range of 200 miles will cost about £10.50 to fully recharge, assuming an electricity cost of 21p per kWh.

So in this example (based on energy prices on the 17th March 2022), driving the EV costs 5p per mile, whilst the petrol car costs 19p per mile. This difference will add up to thousands of pounds of savings in even just one year of driving.

Plus, upfront costs are coming down all the time, as the technology develops and the market rapidly re-orientates itself towards EVs. Servicing costs are often less too, as maintenance is simpler and less frequent because EVs have fewer moving parts to go wrong.1

Finally, even if the upfront cost of buying an electric vehicle outright is too high, you could look to the second-hand market or leasing as options.

Myth 2: “An EV would run out of power before I reach my destination”

The range anxiety of early EV adopters is no longer a major problem. Battery technology has improved a lot in the past decade, and is continuing to improve. The average range of a pure electric vehicle is now 197 miles on a single charge, with many managing more than that.2 So if you are going on a long road trip, you will need to recharge every few hundred miles – but you should be stopping for a rest that frequently anyway, so that you can stay focused on the road.

In normal usage though, the vast majority of journeys will not challenge an EV’s battery range. You could commute from anywhere in the Central Belt to Edinburgh without worrying about running out of power. And most people don’t even travel that far on a day-to-day basis: 70% of all journeys made in Scotland are less than 10 kilometres.3

Myth 3: “I don’t have anywhere to recharge”

Even if you don’t have a private driveway in which to install your own fast charger, you can still use an electric vehicle. There are EV chargers at most University of Edinburgh campuses (you can view them on our campus map, here), as well as a public network of over 25,000 charging points across the UK.4 This network is expanding rapidly, and it is easier than ever to find somewhere to recharge. For comparison, in the 9 years since 2013, the number of charge points in Scotland has grown from 55 to over 1,700.5 You can view a map of public charging points on the Chargeplace Scotland website.

Sources and further reading:

  1. 6 myths about electric vehicles busted – National Grid
  2. Electric vehicles: debunking the myths – Energy Saving Trust
  3. Transport and Travel in Scotland 2019: Results from the Scottish Household Survey
  4. Common misconceptions about electric vehicles – UK Government
  5. Chargeplace Scotland website