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6 Biggest Problems with Electric Cars

Electric cars solve many problems: they can improve fuel efficiency, lower emission rates, and allow you to power up your car at home (instead of visiting a gas station.) But, like any burgeoning technology, they have their share of issues. Here are six of the biggest problems facing electric car owners.

Issue #1: Battery Problems

One problem EVs have to deal with is issues with their batteries. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery, standard in many electric vehicles, has the potential to combust. Thermal runaway can cause overheating, which causes the cells within the batteries to become compromised. Once the cells fail, there can be a chain reaction, causing a fire. A recent example of this came during Hurricane Ian. According to Fortune Magazine, saltwater damage led to numerous EV vehicles catching fire. Cars that had been submerged formed salt bridges within their battery packs, causing short circuits and ignition problems. If you live in an area with frequent weather-related disasters, an EV may not be the wisest choice for transportation.

Issue #2: Limited Charging Stations

While we have more EV charging stations than ever, there are still far more traditional gas stations. According to U.S. News, there are nearly 8,000 EV non-networked charging stations in the U.S. with 15,000 charging ports, while there are an estimated 145,000 gas stations in the country. In addition to limited availability, there is a lack of compatibility. All chargers don't work with all EVs, and you'll need an adapter if you plan to mix manufacturers. For example, If you have a Tesla supercharger and want to charge a non-Tesla vehicle, you'll need a TPC-to-CCS1 adaptor.

Issue #3: Range Anxiety

Along with limited charging stations comes something that many new EV drivers deal with: range anxiety. When taking your EV for a long trip, you may worry about where exactly you'll be charging up. Plus, if you face extreme hot or cold temperatures that require the AC or heat to run, your range diminishes and could leave you stranded. For internal combustion engine cars, all you would have to do is pull into any of the thousands of gas stations located by every major roadway. But in some states, you may find that charging stations are few and far between. This leads to drivers worrying about running out of energy, and that anxiety can cause them to forgo long trips altogether. Hybrid vehicles can diminish some of these worries as they depend on two separate motors for travel. But if you plan to go all-electric, you may want to wait for charging stations to become more ubiquitous throughout the United States.

Issue #4: Faulty Hardware

Another common complaint EV drivers had, specifically with first-gen models, was with the internal hardware. In-car electronic systems like temperature sensors and display screens would sometimes malfunction, leading to operational difficulties. Climate systems would also struggle to function, meaning that drivers couldn't control the heating and cooling inside of their cars. These issues were not present across all EVs, just with some specific brands. Still, you'll want to ensure you get a vehicle history report before buying any car to ensure there are no issues the seller isn't informing you about.

Issue #5: Electricity Sourcing

One of the biggest reasons drivers switch from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric cars is that it's better for the environment. For the most part, EVs produce no greenhouse emissions, meaning they do not contribute to the compound effects of climate change during travel.

Unfortunately, pollution-producing energy sources may create the electricity they utilize. For example, one significant way we produce electricity is by burning coal, a fossil fuel that generates greenhouse emissions. While renewable forms of energy like solar, wind, and hydroelectricity are becoming more widespread, your car may still be relying (indirectly) on fossil fuels.

Issue #6: Charging Time

Another complaint many EV drivers have is the amount of time it takes to charge their vehicles. While it may take only a few minutes to fuel up an ICE vehicle, charging your vehicle up may take as much as 40 hours. This is especially an issue with level 1 chargers, which most drivers have at home. Home outlets can take almost two full days to fill up your car's battery; if you forget to top off your battery every day, you may be stuck at home with an inoperable vehicle.

Level 2 and level 3 chargers are much faster, with a level 2 charger filling up most batteries overnight. For the fastest charge, you'll need to visit a public level 3 outlet; these super-fast solutions can fill up your battery in as little as 30 minutes. But the fastest option still means half an hour of waiting around before you can get back on the road.

Where Can I Get More Information
about EV and ICE Vehicles?

If you believe the potential positives of an EV outweigh the benefits, or if you decide that the negatives are still worth it, you'll want to research any car before you consider purchasing it. The best way to do this is by using a VIN decoder and getting a vehicle history report. These tools can be invaluable when searching for EVs and ICE vehicles by retrieving any available details about a car. By finding the vehicle's original manufacturer, showing you previous accidents, and letting you know how many previous owners that vehicle had, you can ensure you get exactly the car you want.

Vehicle history reports, in particular, can be great for dealing with the private sale market. Many unscrupulous sellers hide details about a car's past to inflate the price artificially. For example, many scammers will use odometer rollback to change the mileage and make the car appear as though it has barely been driven. A vehicle with fake mileage may require repairs soon after purchase or fail during travel. You can get the proper mileage with a vehicle history report and compare it to what the seller is advertising. If the mileage amounts don't match, you can catch a scam before the purchase is finalized and avoid buying a lemon.