Electric vehicle charging costs penalize city drivers

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To live in a suburb with a garage? The good news is that charging an electric car can’t be cheaper. Live in the city center and park on the street? Unfortunately, you may be paying more than the cost of diesel to keep your EV running.

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It’s a small problem now, but it’s getting bigger every day. sales of electric vehicles doubled in the last year and currently account for 8.6 percent of global sales. And although cars often remain buy more expensive than petrol or diesel cars, the high cost of fuel means that they are cheaper to run in the long run. But there is a catch: despite the record fuel prices in US as well as EuropeCharging a battery at a fast charging station can cost up to 80 percent more than charging in a driveway or garage, if you have one at all.

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This high cost is not only bad for people. It could also slow down the deployment of electric vehicles in cities or urban areas suffering from some of the worst air pollution. “It’s not just unfair, it’s a political mistake,” he says. Nana Osei Bonsu, Fellow at the Birmingham Business School, specializing in sustainability issues. “People living in apartments are not participating in the transition to electric vehicles.”

consumer organization Which the? tracks and compares charging costs for specific electric vehicles using a range of methods: home charging costs an average of 28p (34 cents) per kWh, using a slower AC public charging point costs 35p per kWh, and a fast DC charging point costs 50p per kWh. This means that charging a Hyundai Ioniq at home costs 7.3p per mile at current electricity prices compared to 13.1p per mile at the most expensive fast-charging points, a difference of more than £500 ($600) per year. if you drive 9000 miles a year. .

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This gap widens for more inefficient vehicles or those requiring more power, such as SUVs. The Polestar 2, for example, will cost 13.2p per mile when charging at home, compared to 23.5p per mile using fast charging.

The gap gets even bigger when you compare the cost of charging from smart wall chargers, which cost around £900 to install, to the cost of a regular cable. Smart chargers allow you to take advantage of overnight electricity rates that can cut prices by up to a third.

And while electric vehicles tend to remain cheaper to run than their petrol or diesel equivalents, if you only use a DC fast charger, that may not be the case. If you plug in your electric car at home or use outdoor charging points, you are likely to draw AC or AC current. Fast chargers use direct current or direct current, which is faster and more expensive. Charging this Hyundai Ioniq at an AC midpoint will cost £826 per year compared to £1,180 at a 50kW DC charging point and as it is an extremely efficient EV using 16.3kWh per 100km it is the best scenario.

Data from the International Council for Clean Transportation, an environmental nonprofit, shows that fast chargers can cost three to five times more than residential electricity. “By relying on more expensive and probably less convenient charging, you lose one of the main benefits of an electric vehicle: lower running costs for driving,” says senior researcher Dale Hall. “Apartment dwellers, including those with lower incomes, may end up either paying more or simply not buying an electric car and continuing to spend money on fuel.”

Homes in cities are less likely to have off-street parking than homes in rural or suburban areas, and 78 percent of US resident-owned homes have a garage or carport, compared to 37 percent of homes that are rented. according to the US census. “This burden is certainly more felt on those who live in urban areas, as in the US, private garages with access to electricity are almost ubiquitous outside of densely populated urban centers,” says Hall. “Even in U.S. cities, off-street parking is relatively common, but it’s often in communal garages that may not have access to electricity.”

In short, the cities with the greatest need for electric vehicles are the most hostile to them, and the low-income residents who would benefit the most financially by going off gas may end up paying more. Installing a large number of charging stations around cities – on the streets, in parking lots of residential buildings, in retail outlets and offices – can solve the first problem, but ensuring equal charging of electric vehicles is more difficult.

Meanwhile, city dwellers with lower incomes will either pay more for an electric car or not drive one at all. “Either of these options reinforces economic disparities, and could also contribute to the popular perception of electric vehicles as a technology for wealthy people rather than society at large, hindering efforts to accelerate adoption,” says Hall.

To close the gap, electricity rates for electric vehicles could be lowered through regulation or incentives for utilities. The UK should review its Value Added Tax (VAT) as household electricity is subject to 5 percent VAT and electricity sold at charging points is subject to 20 percent VAT.

There are other solutions as well. Bonsu is calling for faster chargers in communities, not just gas stations, while Hall suggests that EV points be required in all new buildings or those undergoing major renovations, be it stores, homes or office buildings . Hall cautions against the assumption that chargers are only for white-collar workers to be installed in industrial parks, retail outlets and wherever people work. “While it will take some time, it can help ensure that once electric vehicles make up the majority of the fleet, many more drivers will have access to affordable and convenient charging,” says Hall.

But the problem is not only the availability of infrastructure – charging networks are too complex, which creates an additional burden in addition to financial ones. There are dozens of providers, each with their own payment application, subscription systems and prices, not to mention connection fees and other additional costs and various chargers. “The user experience associated with using a public charger versus a home charger is different day and night,” says Patrick Reich, CEO and co-founder of the charging and payment aggregation app Bonnet.

Another complaint concerns reliability: drivers arrive at charging stations and find that they are not in use, not working, or not compatible with their car. “People don’t worry about range anymore, but they do worry about the charger—when they come in to charge, they want to be sure it works and is available for use,” says Melanie Shufflebotam, COO and co-founder of Zap-Map.

Apps like Bonnet and Zap-Map help by including reliability and availability data and by pooling payments for as many networks as possible, but not all carriers make this easy. “While we have 70 percent of the charging points on the map with live data, there are still some networks that don’t want to share their market — that’s not good for the market,” says Shufflebotam.

All of this means that people without off-street parking—those who live in cities and have lower incomes—not only face higher costs than their suburban, often wealthier counterparts, but also waste time effort and worry to charge the battery of your electric car. This means they are less likely to switch to electricity, which means they have to pay more and breathe more polluted air. “If we want more people to switch to electric vehicles, especially those who cannot charge electric vehicles at home, charging needs to be easy, affordable and affordable,” says Natalie Hitchins, Head of Home Products and Services at Which.

In addition to reducing the chaos in the charging network, the price of electric vehicles and the tariffs for charging away from home, another solution includes funding public transport systems that benefit everyone. Many people need electric cars because it’s not yet possible to completely replace cars, Hall said, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. “Alternatives to car ownership, including walking, cycling and public transportation, have big benefits in terms of climate, air pollution, safety and social inclusion,” says Hall. “Given the magnitude of the climate crisis, we will need a number of solutions – electric vehicles are part, but certainly not the whole solution.”

Credit: www.wired.com /

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