A study by the the Institute of Transport Economics, which is part of the Norwegian Center For Transport Research, gives an in depth look at EV drivers in Norway and how they use their cars. The study separates the drivers into two groups — those who drive battery electric cars and those who drive plug-in hybrids. The study is important because Norway has some of the most aggressive EV incentives in the world. As a result, it has a higher percentage of electric cars on its roads than most other countries. Where it is today in the green car revolution is where other nations will be 10 or more years from now.
The study reveals that drivers of battery electric cars like a Nissan LEAF or Volkswagen e-Golf are younger, have more children, and drive longer distances to work than plug-in drivers. They also are more likely to own one or more other vehicles, typically one with a gasoline engine that can be used for longer trips. Plug-in drivers are more likely to have just one vehicle.
Of particular significance is this interesting finding. Both electric and plug-in drivers report they do the vast majority of their charging at home with some also charging at work. Most never use fast chargers away from home or do so only rarely. That information seems contrary to the belief held by many that the key to wider acceptance of electric vehicles is a robust charging infrastructure.
Electric car owners told researchers they got most of the information they needed to make a buying decision from other electric car owners. On the other hand, the typical plug-in drivers got the necessary information from dealers and advertising materials. That should be of interest to manufacturers trying to figure out how to market electric cars.
Battery electric car owners use their cars far less frequently for vacations and other trips away from home than plug-in owners do. Both groups complained that the actual range they experienced with their cars was 20% to 30% less than official estimates. Part of that can be attributed to the very generous testing procedures used within the European Union. US numbers are typically about 30% lower than EU figures, so should be closer to what a driver can actually expect.
Significantly, less than 2% of both groups said they would not buy another electric or plug-in car in the future, an indication that both groups are quite happy with their cars. That’s the statistic that should count most heavily with auto makers. EV owners have good things to say about their cars. That will be one of the keys to wider acceptance of EVs in the future.
For those of you who are visual learners, our colleagues at CleanTechnica have put together all of the relevant charts and graphs from the Norwegian study in one place for convenient viewing.
Source and graphic credit: Norwegian Center For Transportation Research