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Davis, a couple of researchers from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, has addressed the problem of some people buying electric vehicles that rely on gasoline-powered cars as follow-up vehicles. Scott Hardman and Gil Tal, in their article published in Nature Energy magazine, describe the survey they sent out to EV buyers in California and what they learned from those who completed and returned it.
Previous research has shown that around 20% of people who buy or lease a hybrid or fully electric vehicle return to gas-powered vehicles in their follow-up vehicle. In this new effort, Hardman and Tal tried to figure out why this was happening.
To learn more about “discontinuance” as it is known in the auto business, the researchers sent surveys to over 14,000 people who bought or leased an electric vehicle in California between 2012 and 2018. They received responses from 4,167 households, of which 4,167 households responded. Only 1,842 had made a decision about their follow-up vehicle.
They found that 1,458 of those who responded to their request planned to keep a plug-in vehicle – and 1,213 had already bought one. As previous studies found, they also found that around 20% of respondents were going back or planning to return to a gasoline-powered vehicle.
The researchers found that respondents who dropped out of electric vehicles came from smaller households than those who wanted to continue using electric vehicles and had fewer vehicles as a result. They were also younger and had smaller paychecks and were more likely to rent. It was also more likely that they were female.
Among the factors that led some to abandon their EVs, range and ease of charging were the most common reasons. Those who were more willing to give up electric vehicles, the researchers believe, had greater difficulty charging the vehicles. They also found some influence on the brand. For example, those who bought a Tesla were much less likely to give up on electric cars, while those who bought a Fiat were much more likely to return to a gas-powered vehicle.
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Scott Hardman et al. Understanding the Disruption Among California Electric Vehicle Owners, Nature Energy (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41560-021-00814-9
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