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Many EV Drivers Revert To Regular Cars: Study

The brisk uptake of electric vehicles is undoubtedly a good thing for our environment. But while people are counting the amount of EVs purchased, until now, there hasn’t been a study on how many of these EV users end up reverting back to their ol’ gas gusslers.

A study by researchers at the University of California Davis looked into this, as well as the factors that make people ditch their electric vehicles.

The study of Californian EV drivers found around 20 per cent switched back.

Bradley Lane, associate professor of public affairs & administration at the University of Kansas, parsed the study for Nature Energy.

“About one-fifth of people who adopted electric vehicles ditched them. That seems like a lot to me,” Lane wrote, “especially given that these were the people most likely and most incentivised to adopt them.

“Of course, you could also argue that 80 of people kept their EV or got a new one,” he reasons.

“But interestingly, the same things that predicted if people adopted them, if they were dissatisfied with those things, they abandoned their EV.

“There’s a real user experience factor at play here.”

The main reason users reverted was the inconvenience of charging batteries, and the inability to rapidly charge at home. Other reasons included the perceived ‘savings’ in fuel costs weren’t offset by the higher-than-expected electricity costs.

“My hunch is that people who ditched battery electric vehicles are not classic first adopters,” Lane reasoned.

“What we sometimes think of as the typical American household with multiple vehicles and thought an EV would save them money, and it just didn’t do it enough for them.

“That sends signals that these might continue to have a rocky time diffusing into the population without continued improvements in cost and charging access, particularly for multi-family housing structures.”



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