The UK recently put 349 drivers into electric vehicles and set them loose for a whole year in a trial to study how EVs work for drivers. Some 276,989 trips and over a million and a half miles were driven, leading most drivers to conclude that range anxiety… wasn’t as big a deal as detractors anticipated.
The study tried to give multiple kinds of drivers exposure to cars. This was in part to assess varying attitudes both before and after driving, and to also see how various use-case scenarios for driving fit with drivers. It also allowed the study chances to monitor different kinds of charging profiles and driving needs. They also wanted to study user concerns about both vehicles and the ability to charge them.
The biggest reaction from drivers? According to the report “the view that EVs are the domain of those who are solely environmentally motivated was shown to be outdated.” Drivers did not want to have to change their lifestyles to adapt to an electric vehicle’s limitations, but wanted the cars to fit in their. And, according to this report, that’s what electric vehicles did. The average potential EV driver was, in the UK, a car enthusiast interested in advancing driving technology who had higher than average income, often male, in their mid 40s, married, and sometimes concerned with the environment.
Drivers’ worry about having to plan their trips supposedly evaporated after daily use of the vehicle, and drivers’ perception of EV ease of use increased after exposure. It’s one thing to know that most people only use a car to go roughly 25 miles a day, and another to realize that means an EV can handle most daily needs.
The most encouraging sign of the report is that initial fears regarding EVs tend to fade after drivers have a chance to actually use the vehicles in their day to day life. This means that EV manufacturers can start to hope that the more people are exposed to EVs, the more the public will begin to adapt to the idea and stop worrying about range anxiety, one of the largest negatives detractors continue pointing out about EVs.