Despite persistent concerns about charge-point availability, range, and charging times, many young people are eager to own an electric vehicle (EV), according to a new report.
The report from the UK’s Automobile Association (AA) is based on an AA-Populus poll of over 10,000 drivers in June and provides a fascinating insight into public perceptions of EVs,
Of those surveyed, 50 percent of those aged 25-34 said they would like to own an electric vehicle. Forty percent of those aged 35-44 felt similarly, while only a quarter of those aged over 64 agreed.
Interestingly, only 40 percent of those aged 18-24 expressed a desire to own an electric vehicle, despite their greater familiarity with new technologies, implying that there is a need to improve public perceptions about EVs among the youngest drivers.
Bringing the charge
However, a number of obstacles are preventing wider adoption, according to the survey.
Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said that there aren’t enough public charging points for EVs, while three-quarters (76 percent) felt that EVs are lacking in range. Long charging times compound these issues, according to 67 percent of respondents.
Two-thirds of participants (67 percent) believe there isn’t enough choice when it comes to electric vehicle models, while 76 percent said that EVs are too expensive.
However, when asked when they expected to own an EV, 35 percent anticipate this to be within ten years.
This suggests that the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ ambition to see between 50 and 70 percent of new car sales being ultra-low emission by 2030 may be attainable, but only if manufacturers deliver vehicles that meet drivers’ needs at affordable prices. Meanwhile, the government needs to push harder for a national charging infrastructure.
AA president Edmund King discussed the survey at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) annual conference this week. The shift to electric travel is a case of education and persuasion, he said:
There needs to be a more concerted effort by us all to sell the benefits of electric vehicles… Ultimately outstanding, affordable, stylish EVs with a decent range will sell themselves.
Internet of Business says
The AA’s own myth-busting guide to electric cars highlights the fact that some public concerns about electric vehicles are groundless. For example, while three-quarters of those surveyed believe that EVs are too expensive, many electric vehicles are similarly priced to their fossil fuel counterparts.
Likewise, there are now dozens of electric vehicles to choose from, with many more in the pipeline. Many models are fast and attractive, which should shake off any lingering perceptions of boxy, slow, or undesirable cars.
Nonetheless, the AA’s guidance misses the point regarding vehicle range on a single charge. EVs may have sufficient juice for the average daily driving distance of 21 miles, but it’s those rare occasions that require people to go beyond the single-charge range of an EV that stop many people from buying one.
Jaguar Land Rover’s presentation at Internet of Business’s Battery and Energy Storage event last year offered some fascinating insights into customers’ vehicle usage patterns.
The vast majority of journeys remained well within the range of an electric vehicle, but a high proportion of people still undertook journeys that would have required them to stop and charge an EV.
It doesn’t matter that the range of most EVs is fine for the daily commute, if they make long journeys more complicated – that’s the big obstacle to wider adoption. Not knowing when a vehicle’s limitations might prevent an essential or emergency journey is a major factor for everyone who drives a car.
Improved battery technology is the key to our EV future, and experts all over the word are reaching for the range threshold that will be the tipping point for universal viability.
If the UK government’s Road to Zero ambition is to be realised, and EVs are to be both long-range and affordable options, the industry will need to make huge strides in this area.
Tesla, meanwhile, has just announced that it will be doubling its electric vehicle production, thanks to plans for a new factory in China.