Due to the massive amount of misinformation touted about electric vehicles online and in some sectors of the mainstream media, coupled with the low rate of adoption worldwide, I’d say they are very poorly rated and coming from that low base, it’s impossible to conclude they’re anything but massively under-rated.I’ve found that the misinformation surrounding EVs comes from these major sources.1: Misunderstanding the regional variability of benefitsI live in Ireland, a country that generates almost none of its electricity from coal and yet I have people, including Irish people, frequently inform me my Nissan leaf is powered by coal. The truth is there are very few places left in the developed world that generate 100% of their electricity from coal, but the environmental benefits do vary from place to place due to the way electricity is sourced.Petrol/Diesel and electricity costs vary by region too, so there is no universal cost-benefit analysis that can be performed. But you will still find people arguing that the cost of ownership of EVs is higher than that of ICE vehicles generally.Up-front vehicle cost also varies massively between regions, due to government subsidies on the vehicle purchase price and other benefits extended to EV drivers.Edit: 07/03/2019:It’s worth noting that, as Paul DeGroot has pointed out in the comments, that it is also myth that EVs are more polluting when running purely on coal generated electricity: Charging An Electric Vehicle Is Far Cleaner Than Driving On Gasoline, Everywhere In America.2: Misunderstanding the personal-situation variability of benefitsI often hear people claim that EVs are only suitable for short urban commutes. This is nonsense. The greatest financial benefit can be found for those with the longest commutes that can be reasonably covered by a short-range EV. If you have an 80km/day commute, you could be running a second hand Nissan leaf for that distance, only charging from home. If you live in a country with high petrol taxes and relatively cheap electricity, you can save a small fortune in fuel costs. Short-distance commuters are much less likely to make fuel savings on the purchase of an EV over an ICE vehicle.The personal situation of the EV owner coupled with the regional differences, means that generalised statements are meaningless.3: Unfair comparisons to ICE vehiclesI’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been told about the environmental impact of building EVs alongside the fact that most EVs run on fossil fuels. Often comparisons are drawn to ICE vehicles with no consideration at all given to the drilling of oil wells, fracking, transport by ship, rail, truck or the 6KWh of electricity required to produce every US gallon of petrol through refinement.The life cycle emissions produced by EVs is generally a lot lower than that of a petrol vehicle. How low depends on where you live. You can read about it here.4: Assumptions ICE drivers make due to having no experience of EV drivingIt is often claimed that the time it takes to charge an EV makes them less convenient than a petrol car. The problem with this is, unlike an ICE vehicle, you don’t have to stand next to your EV while it’s charging. Almost all EV charging occurs when you’re not using the vehicle, almost always at home while the owner is sleeping and enjoying the off-peak electricity rate. Less time is spent waiting for an EV to charge than fueling a petrol car, which you can’t even do at a convenient location (home, work, shopping centres etc.)Particulates from braking are often cited as a reason that EVs are more of a health hazard in cities than ICE vehicles. The argument points out that EVs are much heavier vehicles and thus must emit more particulate matter from brake pads than ICE vehicles. Anyone who has ever driven an EV knows that almost all braking is handled, not by your brake pads, but by the regenerative braking, which uses the electric motor to slow the vehicle, simultaneously generating electricity and returning it to the battery.Hopefully, by now other myths have been erased from the public imagination, such as the assumption that EVs are slower than ICE vehicles.5: The strange assumption that technology cannot improveWe live in a world where we have seen exponential progress in the price-performance efficiency of technology for decades and yet people will argue as if battery technology can never improve in energy density or price-point and as if electricity grids will never get any cleaner.The truth is, on battery tech, we’re only beginning to see a ramping up of production. The price of batteries is only gong to fall and the current state of the art already offers a driving range of over 500km (EPA rating) on a single charge. Grid electricity is getting progressively cleaner over time. So even if you did live in some mythical location where driving an EV on grid electricity was no cleaner than driving on petrol or diesel, it would still likely be better for the environment in the long run to drive an EV.6: Arguing from edge casesThis one is my favourite. Usually the conversation begins with the opponent touting that EVs will never be mainstream, either they’re too expensive or the range isn’t big enough or the charging time is too long. Once these are refuted, the opponent suddenly stops arguing in generalities and switches to talking about his supposed personal situation. Usually that situation isn’t dire enough to warrant a claim that an EV isn’t appropriate for them, so it gets progressively worse until eventually you have to accept that the only acceptable vehicle for this person is a Mac truck. I’ve literally had conversations like this devolve to a point where the opponent is claiming their daily commute is a 200km round trip towing a tonne of bricks up a mountain in the snow.7: Not keeping up to date with the rapidly changing technologyI often hear from people that EVs are no good because turning on the heat or AC drains the battery. This misconception comes from the pre-2013 Nissan Leaf which lost around 30% of its range if you dared to switch on the heat. It used to be true (still is for those early model Leafs), but in more recent models, since Nissan started installing heat pumps, the range loss is something more akin to 2–5%.Two short years ago the longest range EV available for under $35k had a 24kwh battery, now it has a 40kwh battery. Soon it will be 60kwh. Range is improving rapidly and battery costs are falling by 20–30% annually.8: Outright misinformationEV batteries are not big mobile phone or laptop batteries. They have a chemistry suited specifically to powering a vehicle, requiring an ability to draw energy from the battery at a much more rapid rate than a phone or laptop requires. The chemistry even varies between manufacturers as they experiment with ways to increase energy density.Batteries do not have to be replaced every few years. Tesla recently shared their battery degradation data, revealing that the average Tesla battery has a life expectancy of 23 years. Most manufacturers offer 5–8 year warranties, guaranteeing 70% of original capacity and this is very rarely breached.EVs are not more polluting than ICE vehicles, even when charged from grid electricity. Internal combustion engines are incredibly inefficient. You’re talking 15–20% efficiency. Maybe 25% for an efficient Diesel (if you believe the manufacturers). An EV will move around 3 times as far as an ICE vehicle, given the same amount of energy. Even when you deduct losses in powerlines, charging, converting DC to AC, running the electric motor and drivetrain, the EV still comes out at around 45% efficiency (generation to wheels). This only improves as more renewable sources of energy are added to the grid.The claim that if everyone switched to EVs overnight, the electricity grid couldn’t cope is another big one. Of course, this will depend on the region, but three major mistakes are usually made when delivering this argument. First of all, it generally ignores the fact that massive amounts of electricity are used to refine oil. Lets put that directly into car batteries instead! Second of all, they’ll often use the battery capacity as an eof the amount of electricity to be drawn every night. Obviously, it is the average commuting distance that determines the average daily draw on the grid, not the battery capacity. Third and finally, the arguer tends to be unaware that almost all EV charging takes place at night during the off-peak period, when electricity demand is at its lowest and off-peak rates kick in. That’s a big trough to fill.And don’t even get me started on the intentional propaganda publicised by oil industry shills and climate change deniers.Post Edit 24/04/2018Some have questioned the efficiency numbers due to claims made by manufacturers of ICE vehicles.The claim that petrol engines are now capable of 35–40% efficiency comes from the measurements taken in ideal, controlled, laboratory conditions from vehicles stripped down to a point where everything that can be removed, is removed to reduce weight, including seats. These are not real-world figures. You can get real-world MPG ratings for any vehicle sold in the US from the EPA web site.For comparison to EVs, the union of concerned scientists completed a report showing the MPG rating that would have to be achieved in an ICE vehicle to to match EV emission levels. In the US, in 2015 when 37.5% of electricity came from coal according to 2012 grid data (this is released on a 3-year delay), the average EV was emitting at an equivalent of a 68MPG. In the states with the highest proportion of renewable energy, it was as high as 135MPG.The figures take into account full life-cycle emissions of electric and ICE vehicles. This includes emissions from manufacturing, sourcing materials, sourcing and transporting fuel.If you live in the US, you can check the equivalent MPG level in your state in the UoCS report and cross reference that with any ICE vehicle in the EPA web site.That will give a fairly close estimate, though it should be noted that the US power grid has become progressively cleaner since 2012, so the EV equivalent figures should be taken as erring on the pessimistic side.