Tuesday, 6 April 2021

What Challenges Do Electric Vehicles Face?

 

Transport is one of the biggest culprits behind carbon dioxide emissions - around one-fifth of global emissions is from transportation! Western governments are encouraging more people into electric vehicles to tackle climate change. However, there are still other challenges and issues where automakers need to overcome before they are broadly adopted.

Limited Driving Range

Limited driving range is a challenge for long-distance drivers. A long-distance trip would require careful planning. Driving range may also be shorter in colder weather.

Electric Vehicle

Driving range on a single charge

Volvo XC40 Recharge

418km

Tesla Model S

663km

BMW i3

260km

Nissan Leaf

322km

 

However, as lithium-ion battery technology improves, this will become less of an issue for electric vehicle owners.

Lack of Charging Infrastructure

Some houses or apartments do not have a garage which allow people to charge their EV at home. They therefore need to rely on public charges in parking lots or shopping centres. As of June 2020, we have more than 300 charging points in Malaysia, but these are mainly on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Charging Time

Even if vehicle chargers are conveniently located, it takes time for an EV to be fully charged. Among the 300+ charging points available in Malaysia, most of them are 3.7kW AC Chargers (>8 hours to full charge) or 22kW AC Chargers (<6 hours to full charge).

What if all the chargers are occupied? You may need to wait for another few hours.

Limited Vehicle Models

Compared to fuel combustion vehicles, there are way fewer models to choose from and even fewer larger vehicles. Hopefully more models will be launched in 2021.

Higher Upfront Cost

Electric cars that are officially sold in Malaysia are the BMW i3s and the Nissan Leaf. Both are selling at RM 278,800 and RM 188,888 respectively. At one point, the Renault Zoe was officially sold at RM 145,888, but the Zoe is no longer officially listed. There is a need for waiver of taxes on electric vehicles, for sales to blossom. Proton could set the pace.




Difficulty in Finding a Mechanic

Recently published studies from the UK’s Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) revealed that as many as 97% of active auto mechanics aren’t qualified to work on electric cars. Worse, of that 3% of auto mechanics who are qualified, many of them are working for dealerships, presenting prospective EV buyers with very limited-service options.

Fortunately, electric vehicles usually visit their mechanics less because they require fewer fluids (like transmission fluid and oil) and have fewer moving parts.

 

Despite the many challenges in driving an electric vehicle, there are a handful of Malaysians who prefer going electric because of the smoother driving experience. Like Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, Malaysia needs clearer milestones towards achieving the green vehicle target. Introducing tax incentives, building more charging stations and training more mechanics are things that should be done. Remember our NxGV (Next-Generation Vehicles) plan? We need not only plan and set policy but need to implement them!

 

Reference:

1.     Sarah Lozanova, 6 Issues Facing Electric Vehicles https://earth911.com/

2.     Nissan LEAF VS BMW i3 – The Battle of the EVs https://www.carsome.my/

3.     97% Of Auto Mechanics Can’t Work On Electric Cars, New Report Concludes https://cleantechnica.com/

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