Problems With Electric Vehicles: 11 Known Issues (Explained)

Many countries around the world are making and implementing policies banning gas-powered vehicles in the near future as a step to reduce damage to the climate.

Below you’ll find 11 common issues with electric vehicles and how to overcome them.

1. Driving Range

Electric vehicles are getting more efficient motors and quicker charging speeds by the day. But although the future looks bright, it’s not all there yet.

Range anxiety is still a very real problem and a reason people hesitate to get into EVs.

The range of an electric vehicle is reduced when the heater is turned ON, which means, even though there might be a complete fleet turnover in the near future, as for now, electric vehicles are not automobiles for longer journeys just yet.

Especially considering the limited number of charging stations across the U.S.

Once you do find a charging station, the EV won’t recharge as fast as it would take to fill up a vehicle tank with gas.

2. Material Intensity

Electric vehicles require as much as 6 times the critical minerals used in manufacturing conventional vehicles, making them significantly more material-intensive.

The future of EVs as most people see it would require an unreal scale-up of mining operations, bringing countless risks with it, including;

  • Geopolitical issues
  • Challenging rapid expansion
  • The decline in resource quality
  • A broad range of environmental impacts
  • Climate change

This high material intensity highlights a lot of concerns and questions about the sustainability of EVs in general.

The only way for EVs to be sustainable at this point is to establish an efficient recycling industry to prevent serious environmental risks from battery waste.

3. Vehicle Availability

One of the biggest problems with electric vehicles right now doesn’t have anything to do with the vehicle itself, it’s about purchasing and getting one delivered to you.

Many established manufacturers such as KIA, Toyota, and Chevrolet have announced upcoming electric vehicles but not fast enough.

For instance, Ford, which is a major vehicle brand, only expects to manufacture and sell 40,000 units of its new F-150 Lightning electric vehicle, as compared to the 700,000 units built and sold by its gas-powered F-150 last year.

Even the biggest manufacturer of EVs, Tesla, is facing supply chain issues.

Check the most seen issues and problems with Tesla model X here.

Many Tesla vehicle models are completely sold out and won’t make a return until mid-2023.

4. Electrical Grid

We all know fuel isn’t a renewable source of energy, but is using electricity any safer? A common discussion many potential buyers have when it comes to the rise of EVs in recent times is if it could cause problems to the electrical grid.

Some believe the grid could handle it with no issues at all, while others are a bit worried.

There are many instances, usually in summer, where energy companies advise people to keep their ACs off during peak hours.

Now imagine millions of EVs using electricity at the same time. A normal electric vehicle uses about 30-kilowatt hours to travel 100 miles, which is equal to the power an average home uses each day to run air conditioning, lights, heating, etc.

5. Risk of Fire

EV fires are notoriously difficult to fight off, heralded by a highly toxic vapor cloud and most probably followed by an explosion.

The worst part is that they occur seemingly spontaneously and become impossible to put out.

Although there has been some progress, there’s nothing entirely failproof as of yet.

Some EV manufacturers have overcome the risk of a fire by separating the vehicle’s battery and placing it in smaller cells with a firewall to potentially avoid thermal runaway. Another viable technique manufacturers have used is to produce less flammable components.

Solid-state batteries could be the solution to this problem in the near future.

6. Poor Compatibility with Solar

When people think of electric vehicles, they think of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. So it would only seem obvious that if an EV can charge when there’s heavy wind and it’s sunny, it could access cheaper energy and integrate into other renewable sources.

But that’s just not the case.

We have an article here about why solar panels are not ideal for electric cars.

Implementing such types of technology that are heavily dependent on weather would be problematic. People would need to buy vehicles with bigger batteries to be able to reserve a certain excess capacity for that energy.

Depending on solar power to recharge has its own challenges as the prime time for charging vehicles is at night.

7. Autonomous Driving Technology

An auto-driving vehicle had been just a dream for most people up until just a few years ago, but the hype has gone down significantly since then as consumers realize the everlasting list of technical challenges that come with it.

Achieving seamless autonomous driving technology isn’t an easy feat, but it will most certainly become a reality in the not-so-far-away future.

Though when it does become a reality, it will bring with it a few changes:

  • Faster highway speeds
  • Smoother driving
  • High utilization rates

The first two factors will be greatly beneficial for gas-powered vehicles, but EVs could either be positively or negatively affected.

There have specifically been problems with the Tesla Model Y regarding autopilot mode where the brakes suddenly would engage without reason.

8. Charging Time

The lack of range that EVs offer is only worsened by the time it takes to fully recharge. Gas-fueled vehicles can get in and out of a gas station with a completely filled tank in as little as five minutes.

Compared to that, EVs aren’t even close.

The same problems exist with PHEVs (Hybrid Cars).

For EVs, the charging time depends on the vehicle’s battery capacity and the speed of the charger being used.

For instance, an ordinary wall charger typically takes over 8 hours of charging time on an electric vehicle such as the Tesla Model S. For more problems with the Model S from Tesla, check this article.

Using a supercharger can lower the charging time to about 1-2 hours, which is definitely better but doesn’t match the convenience of a gas-fueled vehicle.

9. Charging Station Prices

Public charging stations are crucial if we want to make EVs more common.

EV charging station expenses start with a level two charger that costs $2,500 and moves up to $35,800 for a better and faster DC charger.

Along with that, there are installation costs, and costs for permitting processes, regulations, utilities, etc.

Thankfully, you probably won’t have to take on these costs on your own, as many business owners and energy companies install charging stations to attract electric vehicle owners to pay for the building of charging stations.

However, the public charging stations available right now are mostly free, such as the charging stations in the parking lots of Walmart and other supermarkets.

Some retail stores or shopping malls may ask for a small fee per recharge.

10. Too High-Tech

ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle manufacturers have started introducing tons of new technologies, a lot of which allow you to access many of the vehicle’s functions using your phone.

While it may seem futuristic and exciting, it opens up a lot of vulnerabilities that malicious groups and hackers can take advantage of.

EVs are just like that.

But even worse.

They’ve become increasingly high-tech, making them much more prone to such attacks. Some EVs even provide access to the internet, which is easier to hack into.

There have been some notable instances of hacking in the past, such as the incident of a Chinese company hacking into a Tesla Model S in 2016.

We have much more on Teslas and Internet issues here.

11. Overall Costs

One of the advantages EV owners always boast about is the lower costs that come with owning an electric vehicle, but is that really true?

And if so, then how much of a difference does it really make?

It is considered that EVs cost more than conventional vehicles all because of the costly materials used in battery production.

Fortunately, the price has come down over the last decade.

A new EV typically costs around $30,000 to $40,000. But what about the long run? EVs are expected to save consumers approximately $4,500 to $12000.

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