INNOVATION: Does an EV owner either stuck with it or returned to gas?

Surprising number of EV owners switch back to gas power, study says
The study looked at owners in California specifically and found home charging was a huge factor in people dropping the EV lifestyle.
Sean Szymkowski
May 4, 2021 9:14 a.m. PT

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As so much of the world works to pivot away from fossil fuels and the internal-combustion engine, a new study from the University of California, Davis, published in the journal Nature Energy last week, showed some concerning signs for what the auto industry still needs to get right. According to this study, which looked at California EV owners specifically between 2015-2019, 18% of electric vehicle owners switched back to a gas-powered car. For plug-in hybrid owners, 20% of them flipped back to a car solely powered by an engine.

The major takeaway from the EV flip-flopping lands in the lap of charging — specifically at-home charging. The lack of reliable Level 2 charging at home (that’s a 240-volt plug) was a major factor leading to EV “discontinuance,” as the researchers called it. That makes sense. If you don’t have a place to charge reliably, it makes it a lot harder to enjoy the benefits associated with an EV, including an overall lower cost of ownership. Public charging infrastructure remains just OK, with many stations down for maintenance, or simply not close enough to drivers, even in California, where chargers are more common than the rest of the US. And charging times at a public station still aren’t on par with gassing up a car.

According to the research, about half of the respondents who bought another EV had access to Level 2 charging, compared to the 30% who dumped the electric lifestyle, but had a proper plug at home. The research found owners were 53% less likely to buy another EV if they did not have access to convenient, at-home charging. Essentially, it was a coin toss over whether an EV owner either stuck with it or returned to gas pumps.

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It’s hard to imagine without HUGE tax subsidies, a major oil disruption, or a Gooferment diktat, that “We, The Sheeple” will give up the cheap reliable option of a gas powered car.


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