Industry > Green

A fifth of California EV users did not continue owning electric cars

Citing lack of driving range and scarcity of charging points as factors

Some 20% of California's EV owners called it quits with electric cars. PHOTO FROM CHEVROLET

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of our articles over the past few months have been about electric cars. They are touted as the future of motoring without the environmental guilt, and it has even come to a point where some automakers have actually vowed to produce only EVs starting this decade. In countries (like the US) where such vehicles have been adopted by many, it’s easy to assume that consumers have embraced the same mindset when it comes to battery power. But apparently, that’s not the case at all.

A study conducted by leading international science journal Nature shows that roughly one-fifth of California’s plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners have replaced their cars with either a gasoline-powered one or a regular hybrid. In this analysis, “PEV” refers to both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery-electric vehicles. The data gathered by University of California, Davis, reveals that the discontinuance rate is 20% for PHEV buyers and 18% for BEV users.

Many people will probably buy an EV for the first time. The question is if they will buy one again. PHOTO FROM NISSAN

A deeper dive into the UC Davis survey shows that while customers were essentially satisfied with the performance of their vehicles in terms of safety, reliability and running costs, it was the scarcity of charging stations and the dismal driving range that put them off. Majority of these consumers do not have access to charging docks at their places of work or public parking lots. Of course, one might argue that Tesla has an extensive network of Superchargers dedicated to its EVs, but only 11% of the survey’s respondents owned the automaker’s products.

Now, 20% might be insignificant compared to the overwhelming majority of EV users in California who seem to be content enough with their cars to continue owning them. But it highlights the fact that infrastructure plays a big role in making EV ownership as easy as that of gasoline or diesel cars. This puts a big question mark on the practicality of EV usage in the Philippines. Since we don’t have anything close to a decent charging network, electric cars will continue to be pricey playthings of the wealthy who can afford the vehicles and the required charging devices.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.