General Motors is pouring resources into electric vehicle development, with plans to launch 30 new EV models globally by 2025. However, according to one recent study, some EV customers may choose to return to a gasoline-powered vehicle due to the inconvenience of charging up.
In a study titled “Discontinuance Among California’s Electric Vehicle Buyers: Why are Some Consumers Abandoning Electric Vehicles?”, researchers surveyed electric vehicle owners in California on their future EV purchase plans and decision-making. According to the study, roughly one out of five survey respondents who reached a decision point on plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) ownership were most likely to discontinue due to the way in which EVs are charged.
“Range isn’t correlated with discontinuance in PHEVs or BEVs but satisfaction with and access to charging is,” the study states. “This intuitively makes sense since the way in which a PEV is charged has not yet changed whereas vehicle range is increasing. While some PEV adopters may have been dissatisfied with the range of their vehicle, they have the option to purchase a longer-range vehicle, whereas PHEV and BEV adopters cannot yet purchase a vehicle that is charged differently.”
Of those survey respondents who reached a decision point on plug-in electric vehicle ownership, 20.96 percent discontinued ownership, 24.3 percent of those that discontinued are unlikely to purchase a BEV in the future, 10.5 percent are unsure if they will purchase a BEV in the future, and 65.2 percent are likely to purchase a BEV in the future.
While providing a few interesting insights, there are numerous caveats worth mentioning here. The first is the limited size of the study, with just 4,167 plug-in electric vehicle owners surveyed, all of whom live in California. Among those surveyed, just 1,856 respondents reached a decision point on electric vehicle ownership.
Additionally, the survey was conducted between 2015 and 2019, and was limited to households that purchased an electric vehicle between 2012 and 2018, with the majority of the research focused on the earlier timeframe. That means that the enormous progress made in electric vehicle technology and infrastructure in the last decade, including the construction of additional DC fast charge stations and wider implementation of at-home charge stations, is largely ignored. For example, the study indicates that the majority of EV owners surveyed did not have a Level 2 charger at home, with 28 percent of those studied unable to charge at home at all.
Nevertheless, the study still demonstrates how important charging is to widespread electric vehicle adoption. On a related note, EV charging network company Volta Charging recently announced plans to expand to 3,000-plus stations by the end of 2021. Back in February, GM announced a nationwide campaign for the 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV through the Volta Charging network.
Source: University of California, Davis