A study into how false perceptions of electric cars are holding back their adoption by the public.
While the electrification of transport is coming, there are many people who are still unlikely to even consider an electric car for their next vehicle. Often due to preconceptions about electric vehicles that simply aren’t true.
Uncovered by our recent independent national research study, we found that a significant three out of five UK residents (60%) were unlikely to consider an electric vehicle for their next car.
We’ve dug a little deeper into what this group saw as the limitations of electric vehicles, compiling this report to bust the 5 biggest myths and misconceptions people have about electric vehicles.
Busting myth number one – there’s too few charging stations
Almost half (47%) of those who were unlikely to consider an electric vehicle stated that ‘Charging stations are still a little hard to find / few and far in between’ are between.
This has been a common point against the adoption of electric cars since they hit our roads. However, the charging infrastructure has been built up across the world in recent years and the IEA predicts that public EVSE outlets could number as many as 14million globally by 2030.
In the USA, for example, the number of charging stations has increased dramatically since 2018 and has more than doubled since 2013.
Similarly, in the UK, the number of charge points has almost tripled over the same period.
Busting myth two - electric vehicles aren’t good for long journeys
Two out of five people (39%), who wouldn’t consider electric vehicles for their next vehicle, stated that a main limitation was that ‘the slow recharge time meant that they weren’t suitable for long journeys.’
Obviously, this depends somewhat on the model of electric vehicle you choose as different models are made for different lifestyles. But, given the number of charge points now available and the increase in range of new models, this is becoming less of a concern.
Furthermore, regarding electric car range, in 2011, the median range for electric cars was 73 miles. By 2017 this had increased to 114, with some vehicles being able to do as much as 335miles.
If you stick to the recommended guidance of having a 15 minutes break for every two hours driving, you should comfortably be able to manage road trips.
There are also some tips for long distance driving that can help you out (courtesy of pod-point).
1. Don’t rapid charge over 90%
The last 10% often takes the longest on rapid charges
2. Stay above 33% and have a plan B
The last thing you want is to be stuck in a long line of Tesla’s as they wait to charge. By charging once you get down to 33%, and having a comfortable plan B in range, you should be able to minimize charge time.
3. Don’t panic on big hills
Yes, going uphill will cost you power and range. But, you will be able to make it back on the downhill.
Busting myth three - there isn’t enough choice
One in five people (21%) who wouldn’t consider an electric car stated that the limited choice of make and model was a factor.
Again, this is a problem that is becoming less and less true every year. While this is still a comparatively new market, the number of models available is increasing every year as is the variety of those models, as major manufacturers invest billions into vehicle electrification.
One in ten (9%) of people in this group said that the styles and design of electric vehicles were a limitation. If this is still a valid criticism of electric vehicles it will surely cease to be in 2019 with makers as diverse as Mini, Jaguar and Porsche releasing models.
Busting myth four – electric cars are too expensive
One of the more common complaints about electric vehicles has been how expensive they are to buy, a limitation also stated by two out of five people in our study (38%).
While the purchase price of electric vehicles still tends to be more expensive than their traditional fuel counterpart, there are other factors that bring the overall cost of these vehicles down.
To begin with, most countries have tax incentives for electric vehicles. In the US this is federalized, with the best rate being Colorado that offers an additional tax credit of $5,000 on top of the federal subsidy of $2,500 to $7,500. The UK offers up to 35% up to £4,500.
The majority of EU countries also offer incentives.
Then you get the running costs. Running a vehicle on electricity is over 50% more cost-effective that running a car on gas. Meaning that the driver can make back the original expense and then some over the lifetime of the car.
Busting myth five - electric cars aren’t as reliable and have worse performance
A quarter of people (27%) who are resistant to considering an electric car said that the lack of garages that can service or repair electric vehicles was a factor. Similarly, almost one in five (18%) saw the battery performance in hot and cold weather as a limitation.
While the former is a product of the comparative nascency of the technology and will be solved as electric vehicles become more ubiquitous, the latter point is debatable.
While electric vehicles do experience performance loss in very cold weather, they also have some clear advantages over traditionally fueled vehicles. For example:
1) Electronic traction and stability control systems work better with electric motors, due to the precision of the controls.
2) Meaning the Nissan Leaf, for example, will be better at digging itself out of a snowbank
3) You can forget cold cranking and waiting for a cold engine to heat up. Once you press the button, the car is on
4) Many electric vehicles allow you to turn on your heating from an app or the in-dash timer. Meaning that your car heats up before you even get into it. So no more clapping your hands for warmth in a cold car
5) The larger wheel diameter of these cars reduces the chance of fishtailing
This article puts many of the fears people have about electric cars to bed. If you’d like to learn more about electric cars, why not take a look at our articles on the Green Car Revolution, Tesla’s market share or how electric vehicles are helping lower the world’s carbon footprint.