Are you renting or buying an electric vehicle?

“I am in the process of switching vehicles and will definitely go electric. Considering battery technology seems to be changing rapidly, is it better to rent or buy? I wouldn’t want a car that expired prematurely! – Francine Lalande

ANSWER

Hello. This is an excellent question, almost existential in the world of electrification. Rent or buy? I would tell you that there are a number of factors to consider in your assessment to make an informed decision based on your reality.

Autonomy

The first point you need to consider is autonomy. It is important to know your driving habits well and be able to project them over time. Currently, most electric vehicles have an average summer range of between 350 and 450 kilometers; in winter, this average drops to between 200 and 350 kilometers, again depending on the make and model. If this reality meets your needs without being restrictive, the purchase perspective takes on all its meaning. If this is not the case, that you have to constantly recharge in order to reach your destination, renting is ideal. Why ? It’s quite simple, battery life is constantly increasing. At the end of your lease, in 4 or 5 years, the standard range will probably no longer be between 350 and 450 kilometers, but between 450 and 600 kilometers. You would be happy to switch to limiting refills.

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In addition to gross battery life, recharge times are also an extremely important factor to consider. Increasingly, manufacturers are offering products capable of accepting up to 350 kilowatts, at least on paper and subject to certain conditions. For those who remain low on energy, the recharge time may be longer. However, we noticed that manufacturers are still looking for a way to stabilize charging at full power and in the shortest possible time. Although several manufacturers say that it is possible to recover up to 80% of autonomy in 30 minutes in different types of terminals, the reality is usually quite different, especially in a context such as the climate of Quebec. Here again, evolution is very rapid. We’re talking more and more 400 volts and even 800 volts, which will improve charging time accordingly. Again, not all manufacturers are at this level. Over the years, we will see more and more compliance in the industry. In that sense, manufacturers still seem to be in “discovery” mode. So again, if you want to always be on the latest tech page, you’re better off renting.

the batteries

Batteries are the big issue. Where are equipment manufacturers and suppliers going and with what technologies? For now, electric cars mostly rely on lithium-ion batteries, a relatively basic technology. However, we increasingly see evolution with a collection of other chemical elements from the periodic table, such as nickel, aluminum, phosphate, manganese or even cobalt. Here, too, evolution is happening at high speed. Although we are still only in the prototype stage, Mercedes-Benz has recently demonstrated the energetic qualities of the lithium-iron-phosphate blend with the EQXX. In addition to the automakers, we also have a set of equipment manufacturers who are working to find the winning recipe that will offer the best autonomy, which will take up less space, which will be the lightest and which will recharge the fastest. Solid state battery optics also go in this direction, but appear to present many stability challenges for these designers. Many speak of a possible commercialization by 2025.

few recommendations

If you want to be always up to date when it comes to technology, rental optics are the best option for you. However, if you don’t want to have a car payment constantly on hand and you’re satisfied with the current average range of electric vehicles, the purchase might be considered. However, considering the collection of novelties on the market today, there are very few products that we recommend in all electrical segments.

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