With the possible prohibition to the registration of combustion cars for the year 2040 and the consequent prohibition to circulate on the road in 2050, a new panorama opens up for the electric car. Are they the future?
The draft of the future Law of Climate Change and Energy Transition , of which we echoed last Tuesday, the 13th, in AUTOPISTA, foresees the complete decarburization of the Spanish economy for the second half of this century. This text proposes that, as of the year 2040, the brands will no longer be able to register vehicles that emit the slightest particle of carbon dioxide. This includes diesel, gasoline, hybrid and gas cars. Not only that, but also, 10 years later, in 2050, none of these cars can travel on Spanish roads.
Given this scenario, if approved, a specific technology will gain an absolute prominence: that of electric cars. These future bans also open the range to fuel cell cars, which use hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to move, and others with technology that, as we said, does not emit any direct pollution to the atmosphere.
Is the electric car really the future of the automotive industry? Let's review its advantages and disadvantages in the current scenario. Much has to change this if we want to think, really, that electric cars are the only ones allowed to circulate on our roads.
The Advantages of the Electric Car
Zero emissions: No pollutant emission from its mechanics during its conduction (neither CO2 carbon dioxide nor NOX nitrogen oxides, like combustion cars), there is no doubt that electric vehicles are the cleanest in this section. Electricity is responsible for driving the car, stored in a battery pack and reaches the wheels through one or more electric motors.
Cost per km lower: An electric motor is much more efficient compared to another internal combustion engine: 90 percent compared to 30 percent; that is, the losses in the transmission of energy from the beginning of the process to the wheels are very low in an electric car. The cost of traveling 100 kilometers is less than half of an electric car compared to a diesel or gasoline (depending on the size of the battery, the electricity rate used for recharging, etc.). According to the tariff, the cost of covering that hundred km in a slow recharge system at home can leave you for just half a euro, which translates into 1.50-2 euros for a full charge of the battery and be able to cover about 300-400 km, compared to 5-6 euros (at least) with a diesel car and 7-8 euros of gasoline.
Parking in cities: Here is the blue label "Zero emissions" of the DGT, with one of its great advantages. In cities with limited parking, electric vehicles do not pay, such as in Madrid.
Access to cities in anti-pollution protocols, central areas and Bus HOV: In the anti-pollution protocols, recently redesigned in the capital, they will not have any type of limitation to access the cities. And in areas specifically specified as "emission-free", such as "Central Madrid", they will not have any restrictions either. In addition, in the Bus VAO lanes can circulate without the need to bring a passenger.
Tax benefits: Some taxes go more to the driver's account when buying an electric car. For example, it is exempt from the Registration Tax , it has significant discounts with the Circulation Tax (up to 75 percent in some municipalities) and benefits when applying its acquisition by companies for the transfer to their employees in the IRPF. Some tolls also have specific discounts for electric cars.
Pleasure driving: The first time you try an electric car, the first thing that catches your attention is its acceleration. Its electrical mechanics provide instant torque just step on the accelerator, without gears (except for allowing you to advance and reverse). The silence and smoothness are two of its main features, raising the ride comfort of a vehicle type that does not lose one iota of sensations (except for sound) for combustion vehicles.
More economic maintenance: The presence of many less mechanical components compared to a combustion car (clutch, filters, timing belt), would allow us to save up to 25 percent in the maintenance of an electric vehicle, with equal power and estimating a useful life of 200,000 kilometers.
Aid to your purchase: At present there is no type of state aid in Spain for the purchase of the electric vehicle, as it was in its day the Movele Plan, MOVEA or the MOVALT . The brands usually apply a significant discount on these vehicles. It is expected that government aid will return in the coming months, and more if they want to pass a law that truly encourages the use of electric cars to the detriment of combustion cars and contribute to the renewal of the car fleet.
Lack of infrastructure: The electric car needs a minimum infrastructure necessary to recharge its batteries. Unless you have a house with your own garage, where you can plug your car into a household outlet at your whim, today it is a problem that throws back -and much- potential buyers. In neighboring communities we do not have all the facilities, and outside we do not have so many facilities to find the recharging points. Of course, in the global calculation of countries with more charging stations for electric kids Ride on Cars. Spain is in the Top 5, slightly exceeding the 5,000 loading stations, of which 168 are fast recharge. The forecast - and the need - is for the electric companies, as well as the respective political powers, to bet seriously on the creation of more recharging stations.
Electrical network: Not only is the problem not being recharged , but also the quality and poor condition of many of the current loading stations. And looking to the future, you need a greater capacity of the power grid to accommodate all electric cars that want to reach the roads and meet the needs of all recharge. The European Commission talks about 220,000 recharging points needed in Spain by 2030.
Recharge times: Starting from the base that the fast recharge points in Spain (those that can charge 80 percent of the batteries in less than an hour) represent 3.36 percent of the total, we have to speak as of something normal 5-6 hours, at least, that requires the full charge of the batteries of a conventional electric car .
Weight of the batteries: Another one of the disadvantages, at present, of the electric cars: the batteries, as well as all the elements around these so that they work optimally (computers, processors, protections ...), have an average weight of about 250-300 kg , exceeding 500 kg in some cars. This affects the behavior of the vehicle and increases the energy consumption in driving. The key is in the development for the next few years, which substantially improve the energy densities of the batteries: while in 2018 we move in terms of 0.280 kWh per kg of lithium ion battery, in 2030 it is expected to reach 0.350 kWh per kg.
Autonomy: It is true that the autonomy of electric cars is more , but it is still insufficient if we want to think about long distance trips without having to stop constantly recharging the batteries, with the consequent loss of time it brings. Today, we find small cars like the Citroën C-Zero or the Smart Fortwo / Forfour ED, with autonomies of 150-60 km; others, the most, reach up to 480-485 km, in the case of the Jaguar i-Pace or the Kia e-Niro. The average is around 300 kilometers.
Prices: Increasingly, the prices of electric cars are more similar to their combustion equivalents, but they are still higher. Everything depends, to a greater extent, on the size of the battery : the larger it is and the more autonomy it delivers in consonance, the price will be higher. Some brands, such as Volkswagen or Renault, have in mind to launch "cheap" electric vehicles to make this technology more accessible to everyone. Without public support, it will be very difficult for drivers to venture out to buy an electric car: a Smart Fortwo ED, for example, located at the bottom of the price catalog, requires an initial outlay of about 23,000 euros.
Extreme climates: The batteries of electric cars suffer significant variations when driving in extreme climates. On the one hand, it implies the excessive use of systems such as air conditioning or heating: more expense. On the other, autonomy can be reduced, suddenly, up to 30 percent with extreme temperatures in the environment.