BBC The Apprentice’s electric car episode sparks fury – but expert debunks myths

This week’slatest episode of BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ challenged the contestants to create a “creative advertising campaign” for an electric vehicle. Not everyone was happy with how EVs were portrayed in the episode, but Lord Sugar made it clear: “electric vehicles are the future of transport.”

One viewer shared their thoughts on social media about the episode, saying: “I think any advert needs to tackle the untruths frequently shared on social media, such as did you know some cars do 400 miles before charging.

“It doesn’t take hours to top them up.”

Alvin Castillo, Head of Procurement and resident EV expert at Octopus Electric Vehicles, has clarified the most common misconceptions about electric vehicles.

Octopus presents the facts to dispel common EV misunderstandings:.

  1. EVs are expensive.

“Prices are falling all the time, as new, cheaper electric cars enter the market and existing manufacturers battle to compete on cost. We’re racing towards price parity with old school cars, but in the meantime, we need to consider the total cost of running the car, which is far cheaper.

“On average, maintenance and fuel costs are much lower for EVs than petrol or diesel cars, and you could enjoy savings of up to £150 a month on fuelling your car, like many of our drivers do. You also won’t pay any congestion fees or any road tax until 2025.

“Incentives such as salary sacrifice – think ‘cycle to work’ for cars – have made electric vehicles more affordable too. By paying through your gross salary and saving on tax, leasing an EV is normally cheaper than their petrol or diesel equivalents on a monthly basis.

“There’s also much more choice, and a range of price points. Not every electric car is a £50,000 premium model. There are different types of electric vehicles to suit all needs and budgets, with new affordable models launching to the market all the time.”

2. You can’t travel far with an EV battery.

“A typical electric vehicle battery range is anywhere between 100 to 300 miles. The average journey most of us make is under 25 miles. So you can relax, knowing there are more than enough miles in your average EV to make your daily commute and then some.”

3. EV batteries need to be replaced after 5 years.

“There are millions of electric cars already on the roads across the world and there’s no evidence to suggest that EV batteries only last a few years. Most batteries now have a lifespan of a decade or more and this continues to improve as technology advances.

“Plus, most EV batteries come with an 8 to 10 year or 100,000-mile warranty, so you won’t have to worry about replacing your EV battery anytime soon. Some manufacturers are also considering offering lifetime warranties, so it’s clear that batteries last.”

4. There aren’t enough EV charge points in the UK.

“There are over 50,000 public charge points currently available across the UK, with hundreds of new ones being added to the network every month. So there’s plenty of charging capacity.

“Many drivers install a charger at home, making charging their car cheap and convenient. What about the cost of installing an EV charger? On average this will set you back about £1,000 – paid back in a year in a bit through cheaper charging – but government grants can fund up to 75% of the cost. Even better, get one installed for free when you lease your EV from us.”

5. It takes a long time to charge an EV.

“As most people who have a home charger installed charge their cars overnight, this isn’t something most of us need to worry about. But if you’re on the move and need a quick boost, rapid charge points can recharge a battery in as little as 20 minutes.”

6. EVs aren’t ‘greener’, what about emissions from their manufacturing and electricity generation?

“EVs do increase demand for electricity generation, but the significant thing to consider is how the energy is generated. Burning coal to generate electricity isn’t very good for the planet. But currently, 43% of the UK’s electricity generation comes from renewable and low-carbon sources. Tariffs like ‘Intelligent Octopus Go’ use green electricity to charge your EV with the added bonus of low rates between 11.30pm-5.30am.

“There are over 50,000 public charge points currently available across the UK, with hundreds of new ones being added to the network every month. So there’s plenty of charging capacity.

“If we look at alternatives, we burn fossil fuels to manufacture and power regular vehicles. Recent analysis from BloombergNEF concluded EVs had lower emissions, stating: ‘EVs made today are cleaner than gas cars. By 2030, the difference will be even more stark, as we continue to move towards renewable energy sources and more environmentally friendly power generation overall, EVs will continue to be the greener and more sustainable option.”

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