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A wake up call to the exciting new times

Perhaps it’s just me, but as electric cars slowly become more common, I tend to forget that the Tesla Roadster came about in 2008. True it was impractical, expensive and, ultimately, a non-entity on the EV landscape, but the Model S has been around for 8 years already.

And for all these years, we have been waiting for this electricity revolution to finally kick in. Reality though, is that the electric car is a rarity, and many are Uber/Lyft drivers, utility company vehicles or Tesla. Which so far stand as a class of their own.

Why so few?

Let’s face it, with EVs having been in the market for over one and a half car launch cycles (7 years), logic demands that electric car market share should be much higher than the less than 5% it is now. The answer to this riddle is complex. Here are some potential reasons:

Price

While EVs do cost more on average than internal combustion cars at the time of initial purchase, the price gap between them is decreasing. It is also important to consider the total cost of ownership when purchasing an EV. Several studies have shown that it is slightly lower than that of petrol vehicles, not just because in most of the world, electricity is cheaper than petrol, but also because EV owners spend less money on maintenance and repairs.

Range

As EV battery technology progresses, the distance an EV can drive on a single charge is constantly improving. The newest generation of the 64 kWh battery model of the Kona Electric can drive up to 455 Km on a single charge. This makes it a versatile option for a variety of driving patterns: not just short city trips and daily commutes, but also for longer journeys and distance travel.

However, added to the potential range anxiety, we could also cite the fear of purchasing some electric car that will become outdated with a newer battery technology that, if you follow the news, is always a blink away. Thus, the fear of missing out, or FOMO, also comes into place.

There are not enough places to charge an EV

This is as silly as it is false. You can charge an EV from any plug. Slowly, sure. But you can. Maybe 7-10km per hour of charge, but you can. And if you splurge on a home charger, at less than 2,000$ all in, your charge capacity increases to over 50km per hour. Sure, less than the dedicated charge port, but more than the fuel you generate while parked at home.

The Kona EV has a 10.5-kW three-phase on-board charger, which is compatible with public one-phase or three-phase AC charging stations or with a private compatible wall box at home. This allows for significantly shorter charging times: 100 percent in 4 hours, 50 minutes for the 39 kWh version, or 7 hours 30 minutes for the 64 kWh version. And you should probably set it up for the 80% maximum charge so that your batteries will last for as long as the times it takes to erode the Grand Canyon… End of the day, average commute distance is less than 100km per day, and average congestion delay adds up to about 40 minutes and 10km of range.

That means your car is ALWAYS at max capacity after 2 hours of charge.

There is no EV on the market to fit my needs

Well, this is about the Kona EV. A compact SUV with capacity for 5 and luggage, and with off-road capabilities. It should fit 90% of anyone’s needs. But if you want more luxury there is the Jag and the Audi. Less price you have the Hyundai Ioniq. Bigger you have the Tesla 3. Faster you have the Tesla S and the Taycan. Smaller, you have the Renault Zoe. Daily mid-size car, the Nissan Leaf.

Options abound, and this is not considering the plethora of Chinese EV cars coming online. Incidentally, a country where 20% of sales are electric and where they are planning to tax combustion engines to curtail CO2 emissions… Look at that, there was a plan after all…

EVs are not fun to drive

This is, unfortunately, both true and not true. In general, they are quick off the line, power is always present and there are no gear changes to pause the throttle. But, they are heavy. And you feel that on corners and speed bumps.

Advantage is that the center of gravity is much lower, so they are quite stable. And they are silent, so the fun is perhaps less on the fast driving and more on the lifestyle angle…

End of the day

Unfortunately, EV cars have, overall, one drawback. Price. As it stands right now, the difference between equivalent cars, i.e. the Kona leaves the showroom for anything between 17,000 and 25,000 USD. But the Kona EV is yours for nearly 35,000. That is over 10,000 USD away. And if you play around with our calculator here, you will see it is rather hard to make a financial justification for anything over 5,000USD difference…

It’s getting closer though. Much.

Someone
Fascinated by Big Data, reads statistics for fun, his vacations are factory visits, especially with robots and, at times, writes about stuff.

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