Alternative Energy EV-benefits

Published on January 27th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan

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What EV Buyers Love About Electric Cars

January 27th, 2016 by  
 

In our 5th article pulled from Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want — a new report from CleanTechnica, EV Obsession, and GAS2 — I’m jumping into some of the best things about electric cars.

Let’s skip and jump through some of the key reasons respondents are interested in EVs, as well as some of the ways greater interest in EVs could be inspired in the masses.

To kick things off, when asked, “What is your favorite thing about your electric vehicle(s)?,” current EV drivers answered with the following breakdown:

  • Climate & air quality benefits (18%)
  • Not supporting oil industry (16.6%)
  • Instant torque / great acceleration (11.9%)
  • Convenient home charging (10.6%)
  • Can drive on sunshine (10%)
  • Financial savings = (9.1%)
EV benefits

(Note that the large majority of the 108 “Other” responses indicated “all of the above.”)

This matches well the assumed profile of initial EV adopters. Many early adopters, aka “pioneers,” are attracted to EVs because they help to combat global warming, reduce pollution, and reduce our dependence on oil. However, right behind those are the two things that I see as being most critical to mass adoption of EVs.

Most of the population is simply not going to buy greener cars like electric cars unless they offer a much better owner experience or save them a lot of money. As I’ve written many times before, the two huge consumer benefits that I think will drive EV adoption among the early majority and later one, and that make this a disruptive technology, are instant torque (which means excellent acceleration from a complete stop) and the tremendous convenience of home charging. Not too far behind these are the large fuel and maintenance financial savings that typically come with EVs.

Regarding instant torque, this is what gives a low-cost, simple Chevy Spark EV more acceleration off the line than a Ferrari 458 Italia. This is what gives a former Camaro enthusiast and owner a more enjoyable driving experience in a Smart Electric Drive. Instant torque is a ton of fun, which one typically realizes right when they test drive their first EV. However, for those who don’t enjoy darting off the line, there’s still great benefit. Such acceleration makes it easier to turn or merge onto a highway, get into a roundabout, and sometimes get out of harm’s way. Anyone from a 17-year-old thrill seeker to a cautious grandma can appreciate this benefit.

Regarding the convenience of home charging, this is a point that seems to be lost on the mass media, but it certainly isn’t lost on anyone who has lived with an EV. Instead of having to spend many minutes, hours, days, or weeks (depending on the timeframe you are considering) finding a gas station, getting off the road, pulling up to the pump, getting out of the car, pumping the gas (in a smelly and unhealthy environment), paying for the gas, getting back in the car, and getting back on the road, an EV driver can typically spend just ~3 seconds plugging in their car when they get home and then another ~3 seconds unplugging it when they leave. You don’t have to wait around while your car charges — you just go inside and enjoy time with your family, eat dinner, relax on the couch, etc. You typically leave your house with a “full tank” (in actuality, a full battery, of course) when you leave in the morning, unless you determine that you don’t really need a full charge every day and charge less frequently or just charge to 80% or so.


 

This convenience is greatest when one has home charging, but even for many who don’t, workplace charging and destination charging can offer a similar convenience.

While most of the population still isn’t aware of these electric car benefits, owners are very well aware of them.

The respondents to our non-owner/lessee survey know a lot more about electric cars than most of the public, but there are still clear differences in what they identify as the key benefits of EVs. This may be due to lack of experience living with an EV, or it may be due to different priorities between early adopters and first followers. When asked to prioritize the same benefits that owners chose from, the ranking came out as follows:

  • Climate & air quality benefits (6.49)
  • Convenient home charging (5.65)
  • Less maintenance (5.62)
  • Financial savings (5.52)
  • Not supporting oil industry (5.29)
  • Instant torque (4.49)
  • Quiet (4.14)
  • Can drive on sunshine (3.95)
  • Interesting “new” tech (3.87)

EV benefits non drivers

It’s interesting to see how the two populations differed in their responses here.

That covers what EV drives and people planning to buy or lease an EV see as the big benefits, but how should we convey those benefits to the broader population? What are the most effective approaches. And what are the big incentives that would get more people to adopt EVs? That’s what follows in Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want, and I’ll share that in a coming article here on CleanTechnica.

You can download the full “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want” report here.

Report sponsors include Cost of SolarPlugless, the Low Voltage Vehicle Electrification Event, and Pono Home.


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Mark Renburke

    Great article, Zachary! Looking forward to the follow-up. The less maintenance is both a time-saving convenience and a long term money saver. Also I think the non-EV owners poll includes folks who have never driven an EV (or at least not for long enough to say try out a Sport mode) and therfore don’t really understand the enjoyments of instant torque (as owners do) having not experienced it. What this says to me is that it’s critical to get “butts in seats”, not just passive promotion rather active and interactive opportunities for consumers to drive or at least ride in an EV. Everywhere.

    • “The less maintenance is both a time-saving convenience and a long term money saver.”
      -Great point.

      ” Also I think the non-EV owners poll includes folks who have never driven an EV (or at least not for long enough to say try out a Sport mode) and therfore don’t really understand the enjoyments of instant torque (as owners do) having not experienced it. What this says to me is that it’s critical to get “butts in seats”, not just passive promotion rather active and interactive opportunities for consumers to drive or at least ride in an EV. Everywhere.”
      -Completely agree. And we’re going to be working directly on that in the coming year.

  • Trey

    In the second graph, it says 1 is the most important and 9 is the least. I think most people tend to assume that 9 is the best, possibly skewing the results. That said I am very sleepy and may be reading something wrong, sorry if that is the case.

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