Is it worth buying an electric car today??
electromobility still leads to controversial discussions in our society. There are arguments for and against, above all the environmental thought must be considered here also once more nearer. Demand for electric vehicles has been rising steadily in recent years, with a particular boost in 2020 due to the increase in government and manufacturer subsidies. The economic stimulus package adopted in June 2020 to counter the corona crisis by doubling purchase premiums and reducing value-added tax from 19% to 16% for a limited period encouraged many buyers to switch to an electric vehicle.
13.5 percent (approx.194.000) and thus just under one in seven newly registered cars had a battery drive under the hood in 2020. In the previous year it had been 8.4 percent. VW had the highest share of newly registered e-cars, at just over 17 percent, followed by mercedes (just under 15 percent) and audi (9 percent).
All experts expect the electric boom to continue in 2021. However, in view of all these figures, it should not be forgotten that the share of pure plug-in hybrids in the total number of vehicles purchased is still very low The share of e-cars in the total vehicle population is currently still very low. 2020 it rose from 0.5 to 1.2 percent.
Environmental bonus for the purchase of e-cars and hybrids
|electric car||up to 40.000 €||6.000 €||3.000 €||9.000 €|
|electric car||over 40.000 € up to 65.000 €||5.000 €||2.500 €||7.500 €|
|plug-in hybrid||up to 40.000 €||4.500 €||2.250 €||6.750 €|
|plug-in hybrid||over 40.000 € up to 65.000 €||3.750 €||1.875 €||5.625 €|
source: BAFA. the net list price in germany applies
The so called.the "innovation bonus" is the federal share of the environmental bonus and is valid until the end of 2025.
In addition to these positive purchase incentives, we should now turn our attention to the other advantages and disadvantages of emobility.
Advantages of an electric car
CO2 emissions from e-cars are significantly lower. In urban areas in particular, a local emission-free environment with all-electric cars is a desirable goal in times of air pollution limits. Electric cars can certainly make a major contribution to achieving the CO2 targets that have been set and are still a long way off.
Electric cars are innovative. Owners always rave about the driving pleasure, even without howling engines, which is for many even an advantage, the silent rolling. E-cars have an acceleration that does not have to hide behind the combustibles. It can happen that fast and noisy sports cars have no chance against mid-range cars when sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h.
While the purchase of electric cars can be expensive (see disadvantages), they are comparatively inexpensive to maintain. Electricity costs are generally lower than fuel, and maintenance costs such as transmission, clutch and oil changes are eliminated. The wear and tear on the electric motors is also lower. Also, the exemption from vehicle tax until 2030 should not be forgotten.
Disadvantages of an electric car
High procurement costs
If you look at the purchase costs alone, electric cars are expensive compared to internal combustion vehicles.
Although there are also entry-level variants starting at around 20.000 euros, but in some cases around 10.000 euro you have to pay more, compared to the combustion engine variant. Better batteries and longer ranges increase the price even more, because the battery is still the biggest price driver for an e-car. However, when considering the total operating costs (taxes, insurance, maintenance and energy costs), there are already some e-cars that are cheaper to run than a car with an internal combustion engine of comparable performance and equipment. High annual mileages and favorable prices for charging power are also decisive factors here.
The short range of e-cars has so far been an obstacle for many people to switch to an e-car. In the past, the values for smaller models were around ca. 150 kilometers, with the larger models around 200 kilometers until the next charge. However, a lot has happened here in the past year.
In the meantime, a "hot battle" has developed between the manufacturers as to who has the greatest range!
As a consumer, this seems somehow familiar, wasn’t it similar in the past with the burners and their low consumption figures?? Consumption values determined under conditions that never correspond to reality and the use of the vehicles by the buyers. The situation is similar for the e-vehicles.
In the case of electrically powered vehicles, the actual range depends on many factors, use of the electric consumers, outside temperature and, above all, individual driving behavior. The ADAC has contributed to this with its ecotest vehicles tested under identical conditions. The vehicles are driven with daytime running lights on, air conditioning on, and with a full load in an electric cycle with a shortened highway section.
Electric cars tested according to the current ecotest measurement method achieved an average of approx. 80 percent of the manufacturers’ ranges determined in the WLTP cycle.
WLTP stands for "worldwide harmonized light-duty vehicles test procedure" and is a globally harmonized test procedure for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. It describes a new test procedure that determines the consumption of a vehicle.
For reasons of comparability, all test cycles are carried out at temperatures around 20° celsius. Therefore, it should be noted that in very cold winter months, a loss of range capacity of up to 30 percent can be expected.
Charging station for electric vehicles
Another major disadvantage, especially with regard to the short range of the vehicles. The network of charging stations is still inadequately developed and those who do not have time to charge all night at home at the socket at home will resort to fast-charging stations.
But even there, it takes about half an hour to charge the car. Fact: compared to refueling a combustion engine, you have to bring time with you, and a fuel card or a certain energy supplier may also be a prerequisite. Despite high subsidies, a uniform system is still being developed and must be steadily expanded as the number of electric vehicles grows. In addition, gas stations are easy to find and uncomplicated to use, whereas the network of charging stations is still very sparse and the use of charging stations is unusual and time-consuming. The general network of charging stations is not comparable with conventional filling stations; as of the end of 2020, there are approx. 22.000 charging stations.
"Where it says green on the outside, there’s green in the inside" – that’s not yet the case for emobility today. Although e-cars do not consume any gasoline and do not produce any exhaust gases when driven on the road, there are several components to the life cycle assessment of an e-car.
The cars only produce no CO2 where they are on the road.
The main points of criticism are the environmentally harmful processes involved in battery production and power generation. In addition, there is still a high proportion of fossil fuels in the electricity mix in germany. Only by using 100 percent renewable electricity will it be possible to achieve a significantly better CO2 balance for e-cars as well.
Electric or internal combustion?
The ADAC once determined comparative values between internal combustion engines and electric cars in its ecotest. The evaluation includes values such as energy consumption from the fuel source to the wheel, but also the CO2 emissions generated during the production of the respective vehicle.
Of course, this test also takes into account the pollutants that are produced by a combustor. Toxic substances such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates were measured in the vehicles using PEMS (portable emission measurement). Modern exhaust gas technology in conjunction with highly efficient exhaust gas aftertreatment systems mean that today’s cars with internal combustion engines already achieve values that are well below the current EURO 6 TEMP standard.
It has been shown that e-cars already have a very high CO2 content at the beginning of their use than comparable internal combustion vehicles. This is mainly due to the very energy-intensive production of the battery cells.
In addition raw material factor. The extraction of raw materials for the construction of electric cars is with environmental and social problems connected. These include often very high energy requirements, the possible formation of acid mine drainage, conflicts over limited water resources, and unacceptable working conditions in mines.
If you take all these points into account, an electric car still has a CO2 disadvantage when it comes to starting out. The pure electric car can only show its climate advantage late: compared to the gasoline engine after 127.500 km or 8.5 years of operation, compared to diesel after 219 years.000 km or 14.6 years of operation. (source ADAC)
Frequently asked questions about e-mobility
Who doesn’t know from everyday life that cell phone or laptop batteries have a limited service life and sometimes lose their performance after just a few years?. Basically, every electrochemical energy storage system wears out after a certain time and also over the number of charging cycles.
Many drivers fear that this will also happen to the batteries of electric vehicles after 2-3 years. This deters many from buying an electric vehicle.
However, there have already been studies and endurance tests for several years, e.g., in the field of electric vehicles.B. From the ADAC, proving that the batteries deliver what the manufacturers promise. The losses in storage capacity were within the normal range. As a rule, manufacturers offer guarantees of up to eight years with a service life of at least 100 years.000 kilometers.
In the meantime, cars with purely electric drives have been available for several years, and battery replacement will become increasingly common in the future. It is also possible that a battery defect occurs after the warranty period of.
How does it work in such situations?? Especially since the drive battery is by far the most expensive component of an electric car.
The manufacturers offer the exchange of the complete battery or also of single cell modules, which is again substantially more favorable than the complete exchange. The batteries can be repaired in the rarest cases, also there are very few workshops today, which would be able to do so.
An alternative to the purchased battery is the so-called battery for rent. In such cases there are no costs for the customer.
These batteries have to be charged by the manufacturers or. dealers are taken back. This is special waste and must be disposed of properly.
Recycling processes for lithium-ion batteries are already available, but they are still very expensive. But with the increasing scarcity of raw materials such as cobalt, nickel and copper, as well as improved processes, this will become more and more important and cost-effective in the future.
Actually everywhere where there is a socket…so the easiest at home at the home socket. But what if I am on the road with the car and need to refuel / recharge?
Since 2015, so-called e-roaming networks have been established that regulate and bill access to charging stations. Similar to a prepaid cell phone, i purchase a contract with a card from a provider and can charge my battery at almost 80-90 percent of the charging stations for electric vehicles nationwide. However, just as with the telephone providers, there is a jungle of different price models here, depending on consumption per month, kilowatt hours and the use of fast-charging or normal charging stations. The amount of energy recharged is always billed in kilowatt hours.
For an electric car, the manufacturer indicates the average consumption in kilowatt hours (kwh) per 100 km. The average power consumption z.B. For an e-golf is according to the manufacturer at 12.7 kwh, for the tesla model S according to the manufacturer from 18.5 kwh.
Based on these figures, it is as easy to calculate the monthly consumption costs of an electric car as it is to calculate the consumption costs of a car with an internal combustion engine. With an electricity price of z.B. 29 cents and an electric car with an average power consumption of 15 kwh / 100 km, these 100 km would only cost 4,35 €.
However, as already mentioned, the consumption depends on many factors, driving style (often at top speed) and which consumers are in use.
The storage capacity of batteries today is in the range of 25 kwh to 100 kwh.
If we take the average of approx. 55 kwh, then one "full charge" costs approx. 13 EUR
(residual capacity taken into account). The range at this capacity is approximately 300 kilometers.
If you compare the refueling of a car with an internal combustion engine and an electric car, you need considerably more time for the electric car. It is not possible to make a general statement about charging times, as the charging time of batteries depends on various factors.
The most important factors are the power source, the charging cable used and the charger, but also the battery temperature plays a role here. (hotter or too cold, means less current flows)
Battery management, i.e. the manufacturer’s charging strategy, is also important.
There are manufacturers who, with a fast charger, have "juice" for 120 kilometers available again after only 10 minutes, while others only have capacity for 40 kilometers in this time.
It is also important to know the different charging options. A household socket supplies approx. 2,3 kw electricity. AC-poles (alternating current) in the city give approx. 22 kw off and DC fast charging stations on the highways 50kw and more. The charging time varies accordingly. At the home socket, after 10 hours you have approx. 23 kwh charged. A 55 kwh battery would be just half charged!
Tips for charging an electric vehicle battery
- The better the fast-charging function, the more flexible the use in everyday life and for longer distances
- Purchase decision; often long distances, then a good fast charging function is important
- always order fast charging function, if it is not part of the standard equipment
- Charge the battery only up to 80 percent, beyond that, the charging time is disproportionately long
- For longer distances, an electric car should have a range of at least 300 kilometers according to the ADAC ecotest and approx. have 200 kilometers of recharged range in 30 minutes
- Fast charging only when necessary conserves the drive battery
- Pre-tempering the battery at cold temperatures. Allow for longer charging times
Electric car and diesel/petrol comparison
|acquisition costs||expensive to buy, but as long as they are subsidized, they remain competitive.||Cheaper to buy.|
|Operating costs||currently exempt from tax and also charging is cheaper than petrol and diesel. Defective batteries outside of the warranty can be an expensive surprise.||High operating costs due to gasoline/diesel prices, taxes and maintenance.|
|Driving pleasure||E-cars impress with their go-kart-like driving feel and quiet driving noises||for many enthusiasts, howling engines are still a must.|
|Life cycle assessment||better CO2 balance than an internal combustion engine. Due to the environmentally harmful battery production, but only after several years of use.||Despite state-of-the-art exhaust gas aftertreatment systems, the environmental impact of internal combustion engines is higher.|
|Range||Low range, almost always well below manufacturer’s specifications. Also charging times are significantly higher.||Significantly higher range than e-cars as well as faster refueling.|
|Charging infrastructure||Compared to other countries, the charging infrastructure for e-cars in germany is still meager.||With just under 15.000 gas stations all over germany you can charge your verbenner almost everywhere.|
|Service life/durability||electromobility is still in its infancy and especially the life span of batteries can be critically evaluated.||Combustion engines are based on technologies that have proven themselves over decades and have been continuously improved. One does not buy the cat in the sack.|
From a neutral point of view, the question of whether a modern electric car or a tried-and-tested combustion engine is not so difficult to answer. Once you get over the idea that it always has to be the latest and hippest, as the media likes to suggest, you quickly realize that an electric car has few practical advantages. Apart from the artificially generated advantages such as the reduced tax rate or the purchase premiums, the only actual advantage is the lower operating costs.
Undecided? Why not a little of both, an E-hybrid.
Of course it is not that simple. For short journeys or for people who only travel within the city and can plug their vehicle back into the socket at home in the evening, an electric car can certainly have its charms. Because this way you can avoid the biggest weaknesses of e-cars, the low range and the charging time. Accordingly, it is also often suitable as a second car.
There is still an uneasy feeling about the battery’s lifespan. Everyone who has a cell phone knows what we are talking about.
Who needs his car for more than shopping or for the way to work is better served with a burner in the rule. These are not only well proven and mature, but there is also a model to suit every budget.
Of course, not all that glitters is gold, and especially the image of diesel has suffered enormously, even though it was and still is an important pillar of the German economy for decades. The biggest concern is the issue of driving bans. If you look at the development of the past few years, you can quickly see that this fear is unfounded. As of today, there are no large-scale driving bans outside the city center of stuttgart, and even these only apply to EURO 5 vehicles, i.e. built in 2015 or earlier. The topic has almost disappeared from the media, partly because it has been noticed that the driving bans hardly result in an improvement of the air quality. There are no planned driving bans for EURO 6 vehicles and certainly not for EURO 6d TEMP, the emission standard for modern diesels.
For EURO 5 vehicles, there is now a solution for retrofitting exhaust aftertreatment systems.
It will take many years and a lot of development to reduce today’s 97 percent share of internal combustion engines and eventually to run all vehicles on electricity alone.