6 EV myths, debunked

The straight facts about EV safety, costs, and benefits


Hey team, and welcome back to one5c. One of my greatest hopes for this newsletter is that y’all feel inspired to talk about and share what you read here with the people in your lives. I get that it’s not always easy to do—because some folks are harder to engage on these issues than others, and because not every saving-the-planet proposition is perfectly cut-and-dry. Take the transition to electric vehicles: Passenger vehicles contribute 15.5% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so ridding ourselves of those dirty tailpipes is priority-one, no-brainer kinda stuff. 

But there’s also gray area there—lots of questions, lots of pending infrastructure, lots of supply chain murkiness to wade through—and uncertainty is the denier’s playground. That’s why I asked one of our go-to auto contributors, Kristin Shaw, to confront EV skepticism head on and arm y’all with a roster of rebuttals for the most-common anti-electric talking points. 

Star this one in your inbox, and don’t forget to check out our last debunker, which smacks down myths about extreme weather.Corinne

One-liners tend to catch fire during major elections. This cycle has served up a healthy ration of anti-EV rhetoric, including claims that battery-powered cars are unreliable, unaffordable, and impractical. Most of it doesn’t hold up, but these jabs can stoke existing worries for drivers considering an EV—and even current owners.  

“I think the challenge with EVs is that it’s not always immediately obvious why they could be a better solution,” says Rebecca Lindland, Senior Director of Industry Data and Insights for Cars.com. “For the majority of people, it probably suits 90% of their daily driving needs.”

That knowledge gap puts EV advocates on the defensive. We don’t have to pretend that this isn’t a complex issue or that there aren’t real environmental challenges (mostly on the supply chain and manufacturing side) that automakers, battery companies, and recyclers need to work out. But many of the go-to “gotchas” about EVs are becoming less and less true by the day. 

Here’s a script you can use to rebut them quickly and effectively.

If they say: EVs are expensive

You say: Let’s get one thing straight: New cars are never “cheap.” The average fresh-off-the-lot ride in the U.S. of any type is about $48,000. There are plenty of EVs with stickers well below that mark: A Tesla Model 3 starts at $38,990, and even shiny new models like Volvo’s EX30 start in the mid-30s. The average price of a used EV is $27,800—only $800 higher than a pre-loved gas-powered car. Topping off an EV is also cheaper: An e-gallon costs $1.41 on average, compared to $3.15 for an equivalent amount of gasoline.

If they say: An EV will leave me stranded

You say: How often are you road tripping? Be honest. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration says Americans drive 1,125 miles a month, or about 37 miles per day on average. Even the 2013 Fiat 500e’s relatively measly 87-mile range can handle that—and change. Range is constantly on the rise, too: In 2023, the average was 300 miles, up from 291 miles the year before. 

If they say: There’s nowhere to charge

You say: This is a work in progress, absolutely. By the end of last year, the U.S. Department of Energy tallied around 140,000 public charging ports in the U.S., which is about one-third of what the government says we need. But consider this: An EV can get a little extra range from a standard 120-volt outlet. Not everyone has off-street parking and the ability to run a cord to their car, but local advocacy could charge that very quickly

If they say: What good’s an EV plugged into a dirty grid? 

You say: The notion that an EV is only as green as the power grid it’s connected to is valid, but even on the filthiest energy mix, electrons beat out petrol. In Mississippi, the state with the fewest renewable inputs, powering up an EV produces about one-quarter of the emissions of a gas-powered equivalent. Essentially, internal combustion cars are generating emissions twice: once in the production and distribution of fuel, and once burning it up to go vroom.

If they say: EVs are ugly

You say: In the past, EVs were quirky, strange little vehicles that purposely signaled their eco-presence. Aside from the occasional oddity—Tesla Cybertruck, we’re looking at you—that has fallen out of fashion. Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 has Porsche-like style, and the new BMW i4 M50 is as sleek as any other car in the automaker’s lineup. Porsche Cars North America’s new CEO has even said it’s time to ditch EV identifiers in both name and style, making the green machines the new normal instead of the outlier. 

If they say: EVs are unsafe

You say: There’s no reason an EV would be any less safe than a traditional car. All passenger vehicles go through stringent testing, whether they’re gas-powered, hybrid, or electric. On top of that, EV batteries are subject to their own set of testing standards to prove they’re safe in the cases of overcharge, vibration, extreme temperatures, short circuit, humidity, fire, collision, and water immersion. Several EVs, like Rivian’s R1T pickup, have earned top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. EVs built today also include the latest safety features, like cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. 

Kristin Shaw is a freelance writer specializing in anything with wheels. She’s contributed to Popular Science, The Drive, Edmunds, and The Washington Post, among others. Currently living in her sixth state, she does most of her work in coffee shops around Austin.

In the news this week

  • Pandora, which sells more jewelry than any other company, has announced it will only use recycled gold and silver in its products. The swap will cut about 58,000 metric tons of CO2 from the company’s supply chain—equivalent to nearly 13,000 cars. 
  • FEMA will now fund the rebuilding of solar panels, heat pumps, and other net-zero energy projects on community buildings after disasters. It’s an important move: Clean infrastructure buildouts are advancing alongside an increase in billion-dollar disasters, which have averaged more than 20 a year since 2019.
  • Environmentalists and politicians are urging the Securities and Exchange Commission not to allow JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, to list on the New York Stock Exchange. The Brazilian company has been connected with severe deforestation. 
  • The largest offshore wind project in the U.S. has moved into the construction phase. Built by utility Dominion Energy, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind farm will generate 2.6 gigawatts of power, which is enough to supply some 660,000 homes. 
  • The Department of Energy finalized updated efficiency standards for new cooktops that do not include an all-out ban of gas stoves. The rules, which are a compromise with appliance manufacturers, require a 30% dip in energy usage on electric stoves and a 7% for gas ones.