Behind this provocative title hide the first words of a message posted on social networks, years ago. Surprising fact: it comes back every winter, year after year. What does this message say, and why are we surprised to see it still relayed so much? We take stock.
Well, to tell you the truth, we almost hesitated to talk about it, because it’s such a non-subject. But like a seasonal virus that reappears every year, we had to not take it too lightly, not everyone being immunized in the same way. Also, if you are feeling feverish, here is a little remedy against preconceived ideas and misinformation.
The winter chestnut tree
To begin with, what exactly does this message recently unearthed on a Polish Facebook page tell us, the translation of which is somewhat haphazard? At first glance, it expresses concerns about the inability of electric cars to cope with emergency situations, or extreme weather conditions. In particular, he takes the example of an electric car stuck in traffic jams, without heating and a flat battery.
The same arguments and the same photo are repeated in numerous posts on social networks. This is actually a Hoax. That is to say false, outdated or unverifiable information, propagated by the Internet. Problem: they proliferate, each time with audience records. This one was, for example, shared 131,000 timesand has no less than 21,000 comments. Figures that send shivers down your spine, especially when we know that this disaster scenario does not hold water for a single second. The arguments that support it are simply no longer relevant, unfounded or even completely unrealistic. Let’s look at it point by point.
A battery that melts like snow in the sun?
First argument, the message raises a concern about battery life in cold weather. It is true that electric cars do not have the same efficiency in winter as in summer, with variations of around 20% to 30% on average. However, it is important to note that when stopped, since stuck in traffic jams, the consumption of the electric motor is close to zero, unlike a heat engine which continues to burn fuel. Only accessory equipment such as the radio, headlights or heating then still require energy. If the first two are anecdotal, heating consumes a little more. But what quantity are we talking about exactly?
Do the equipment of an electric car reduce the range?
Warm up Marcel!
First of all, and contrary to popular belief, electric cars have always been equipped with heating. If it is true that a Renault Kangoo ZE from the 2000s was satisfied with an energy-consuming and inefficient resistance, today the vast majority of electric cars on the market are equipped with sophisticated systems which integrate heat pumps (PAC). These extract heat from the ambient air, compress it and transfer it to the interior of the car. This makes the process much more energy efficient since it harnesses existing heat rather than creating it from scratch. In addition, the battery can also be enclosed in a box with circulation of a heat transfer liquid, further optimizing consumption. But that’s not all. Another aspect to consider is that electric cars can precondition the cabin while they are still plugged into the electrical grid. Gold, the consumption of a heat pump decreases considerably once the set temperature is reached. Maintaining it, after the car has been unplugged, will, in fact, consume little energy. To give you an order of magnitude, we are talking here about less than one kWh per hour Operating. In other words, if you find yourself stuck with a Renault Megane EV60 for example, and you only have 50% battery left, you can count on more than 30 hours of heating. It is therefore not the 3 hours mentioned in the message on social networks which are likely to cause the slightest problem. And we’re not even talking here about the windshield wipers, the radio, or the GPS, which consume, so to speak, nothing at all!
Is the heat pump really useful in an electric car? All our exclusive data
What if the battery is really empty?
Okay, but let’s admit that the battery is not at 50%, but that, unluckily, you were just going to a charging station and it only shows 3%. If we take the previous example, in 3 hours, your battery will have completely drained and you will find yourself, as the message points out, “stuck in an electric car with a dead battery”. In this situation, and depending on your model, you may still be able to turn on the heating. For what ? Quite simply because manufacturers generally program their vehicles in such a way as to keep a small reserve of energy, even when the battery indicator shows 0%. This helps protect the battery and ensures certain basic functions, which may include heating. This way, the heat pump can still run until help arrives.
Moreover, in the event of a real emergency, whether it be the police, ambulance or firefighters, the priority is safety. These vehicles will still be able to provide assistance, whether they are electric or not. And even if you are stuck on the highway, they have an emergency lane to let emergency vehicles pass. The argument according to which these axes would be blocked by electric cars therefore does not hold up.
And what about summer?
Change of scenery ! The message discusses traffic jams during the summer holidays, suggesting that electric car batteries could not withstand prolonged use of air conditioning. Except that, incredible but true, heat pumps are often reversible, allowing the electric car to function like an air conditioner during hot periods. The consumption induced by the operation of the air conditioning will then be approximately the same in summer as in winter, depending on the sunshine and the insulation of the car.
Autonomy: in summer, windows open or air conditioning?
Finally, last point mentioned: recharging. If our report this summer shows us that there were no queues at the terminals on the motorway rest areas, the message implicitly questions recharging solutions when you run out of battery. Because even if it only happens very rarely, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. In this case, we simply call a tow truck which will take the car to the first charging station. In this regard, the day when the entire fleet will be electric (we are talking here about a deadline of at least 30 years), the charging solutions will have greatly evolved, just like the batteries. There is therefore no point in reasoning with our current vision of things, it would be like looking at the scene through a mouse hole! No wonder ultimately that the message ends with “No one is talking about it”. Obviously, since there is no debate on this subject! So criticizing the electric car yes, but not with a scenario worthy of a bad thriller. In other words, to say bad things about electric cars, we’re going to have to be a little more serious! Unless the detractors end up running out of arguments? In all cases, it is essential to challenge preconceived ideas spread on the Internet, and stay informed of technological advances.
In conclusion, and to answer the question in the title: no, electric cars are not the “biggest scam the world has ever seen”. Rather, they represent a major evolution towards mobility that emits less CO2 and are increasingly competitive in the automotive market. Their market share continues to increase with a score of 20% in November 2023.
rewrite this content and keep HTML tags