More Than 71% Of Southern Californians Are “Highly Interested” In Switching To EVs, According To New Survey

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More than 71% of those recently surveyed in Southern California about electric vehicles (EVs) are “highly interested” in switching to an EV, according to a recent press release.

The recent survey — conducted by NRG EVgo — saw hundreds of people, in 5 different locations, queried about their opinions concerning EV ownership, and the reasons for not having embraced EVs yet (presuming they haven’t). The 5 locations in question were spread across San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County. The surveys took place between the months of May and July of this year, and altogether involved over 500 participants answering a set of 10 common questions.

Nissan LEAF

To go over the results in greater detail here, while 71% of the Southern Californians queried stated that they were highly interested in getting an EV, an additional 13% apparently already had one. Not a shabby percentage, all things considered (and a reflection of the relative wealth of those queried, I assume). Only 16% of those asked were not interested in EVs, according to the results.

A recent email to CleanTechnica offers further details:

More than a quarter of the respondents cited that the perceived cost of purchasing an EV as the primary barrier to making the switch. Another 15% reported that the limited number of charging stations available as well as the perceived distance limitations of EVs as their primary factors for not switching. The lack of basic awareness of EVs and how they work was another barrier cited, with some 7% of the respondents choosing this reason.

These barriers are likely even more acute for SoCal residents living in apartment communities or other multi-tenant complexes. In fact, 57% of the EVgo survey respondents said that they lived either in an apartment or in a condominium. Across California, there were more than 6 million apartment renters as of 2013, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.


“Unfortunately, there is one very important location many Californian renters are still not likely to find an EV charging station: their own homes,” stated Terry O’Day, Vice President at NRG EVgo. “This fact threatens to leave many of these citizens unable to take advantage of the numerous cost and environmental benefits of EV ownership, even as EV manufacturers make more and more models available each year.”

This reality may be changing to some degree, though, with Assembly Bill 2565 recently going into effect as law. It requires apartment managers to approve EV charging station installation requests, so long as the tenants involved are willing to pay for the related costs.

NRG EVgo recently launched a new program, known as “Take Charge CA,” with the intent of providing funding + technical expertise to those looking to have charging stations installed at their apartments. This is such an important step for the EV revolution, so it’s nice to see NRG taking the initiative.

Image Credit: Nissan

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

43 thoughts on “More Than 71% Of Southern Californians Are “Highly Interested” In Switching To EVs, According To New Survey

  • The perceived need for a 220 charger at home was one of the misconceptions about EVs that we broke fairly early on. After learning that slower charging is better for the battery, we switched to the 110 charger and have been using just that for primary charging for our mercedes over the last few months with no issues. Given the mercedes’ poor electrical efficiency (only 2.7-2.9miles per kwh), I would expect this to be less of an issue for more efficient EVs (Nissan Leaf is ~4.4-4.7 mi/kwh).

    We will be charging both EVs on 110 with a 220 charger as backup in case we put run one of the cars all the way down and need to get filled up quickly.

    • It turns out that fast-charging (DC Level 3) is actually GOOD for battery longevity! The thing which damages lithium batteries is holding them at a high state-of-charge, and especially at high temperatures. With 110V L1 charging, batteries are likely to spend more time at high cell voltage vs. higher-amperage L2 or L3 charging (when programmed to finish charging near time of departure).

      • Wha….?? More research I need to do… I can see the logic in this but it’s counter to my current plan. Thanks for the words of wisdom…I’ll get back to you on this 🙂

        • You initial logic is correct – the 110 V outlet is the better option.

          While keeping the battery at a lower state-of-charge is better (between 40-70% is ideal), rapid charging creates heat, and the fastest things you can do to kill a lithium battery are 1)Overcharge it, 2)Overheat it or 3)Charge it while hot/excessively cold. Assuming your vehicle is under relatively mild conditions (between 40 and 100F), slow charging is the best way to go.

          • Your initial line about 110V being better than 220V is questionable as Kyle didn’t tell what kind of power each version delivers to his EV.
            And Adrian has got a point with the state of charge of the battery for the slower charging being longer in high levels.
            If 220V charging does increase battery temps to a lesser detrimental effect on lifetime vs. the batteries spending longer in high states of charge for the 110V charging with a worse effect than charging them fast is actually better.
            How much faster is better needs some research and can’t be done by us armchair experts 😉

            All else you wrote I accept.

          • True, but look at the standards. A standard 120V line can supply 15 A for 1.8kw… some go as high as 20A for 2.4kw.

            A 240 V line is typically 20 A, but can be as low as 15A or as high as 50A. So that would supply 3.6 to 12kw… or typically 4.8kw.

            In terms of power that’s 2.6 x higher in the average case.

            As far as state of charge – not really. While it is true, the normal user is going to plug in and leave it. A 240V charger will get you to a full charge faster. This means if you will leave it at a high state of charge for longer. Even if you delay it being plugged in, you may be leaving it at a low state of charge for longer (which is also damaging assuming you’re below 40%, though not as damaging as 100% unless you’re approaching 0%). Anyway, unless you carefully manage your charge profile – such as only charging it up immediately before you leave – this isn’t going to be meaningful. Any other thing you could do to extend the battery you could likely do on 120V as well. In summary, even in the ideal case, the 240V only ‘might’ be better. 120V ‘is’ better in the vast majority of other cases.

            And actually, since the batteries sit at high-state-of-charge for a good portion of the day (and this occurring daily ‘would’ causes more damage than fast charging on occasion) – they optimize for both. The miniscule difference in time at high-state-of-charge would be hard to manage if it even offered a noticeable advantage…

            That said, if you have spare range, setting your car to only charge to 90% capacity (or however low you can comfortably go) will make a noticeable difference in your battery wear… Just don’t push it because going super low (10-20%) also imposes damage to the battery.

            In summary, for the average EV driver, while there are things you can do to optimize battery life, don’t worry about it. Do what makes the EV a practical vehicle as even these ‘damaging’ practices will still give your EV battery enough life to be cheaper and less polluting than a gasoline car…

            (BTW, I’m an Electrical Engineer with ‘non-negligible’ experience with chemistry, batteries and electric vehicles. I won’t claim to have expertise in these areas, but I don’t spout information I’m not confident in/can’t back up)

          • As you should have known with the experience you claim to have, the maximum continuous total draw allowable on a 15 A circuit is 12 A.
            I don’t know of any L1 EVSE going above that; some even default to 8 A, to lessen the chance of overloading a non-dedicated circuit.

            I don’t know what you call “typical 240 V line” either. Most such circuits I have at my house are 30 A (dryer, oven, cooktop); next would be 40 A (solar inverter, EVSE); biggest one is 125 A (to subpanel)…

            And no, L1 charging certainly hasn’t be shown to be “better” the way you assert.
            Minimizing time spent at high SoC is indeed beneficial for Li-ion, and is easily achieved by delaying charging and/or setting an end time or limit below 100%.

          • You sir, are correct. Forgive my oversight. (So rarely deal with 3+ hour loads it didn’t cross my mind…)

            That said, I am not aware of the dedicated chargers EVs use – is there any reason you couldn’t set them to use higher amperage? Assuming you had a circuit that could support it?

            And yes, there are much bigger 240V lines, but most of the ones I am aware of are 20A… My washer/dryer and welder are on 20A I believe… (I’d check, but I’m currently away from home.)

            And I don’t assert that L1 charging is better in and of itself, but rather that it is the better option as it is, at the very least, no worse than faster charging. Delaying charging is difficult to delay enough to make a meaningful difference in time-at-charge and you can just as easily set an end timer/battery charge limit for the 110V charging option too, negating that benefit.

            I still stand by the statement that, from a battery longevity perspective, I see no reason to believe faster charging to be beneficial while there is a moderate chance that the slower charging puts less stress on the batteries.

      • Not keeping Li-ion battery at high SoC indeed helps, but so does keeping them cool, and quick-charging does the opposite, especially for passively-cooled EVs (Leaf, i-MiEV, e-Golf, Soul EV, e6…).

        Anyway, it’s not like people have L3 / quick-chargers at home, and I’m not aware of quick-chargers allowing delayed charging, so the point is rather moot.

    • A 220v charging station is a nice convenience. However I think your assumption that 220v charging is bad for the battery is probably another misconception.

      Not sure where you live but if you want to moderate your batteries temperature 220v is the way to go, 110 can’t both charge the car and keep the battery at optimal temperature.

      • My logic was that the 110 charger would generate less heat and thus, not degrade the battery as much as a L2 or Fast charger which do generate quite a bit more heat. We will likely have both – a 110 charger for both cars then a 220 for backup just in case. New Leaf shows up tomorrow…we are currently charging the MB B-Class ED on 110 only.

        • There is a lot of difference between quick-charging and slower charging, but L2 is already so gentle that I don’t think going even slower makes sense.
          On the other hand, at least on the Leaf, charging at 240 V is more efficient. Maybe your B-class’ efficiency would look a little better on L2 too?

          To better illustrate: the Leaf’s battery internal resistance totals about 0.1 ohm. Resistive losses:
          – Cruising on the highway (~50 A): 250 W
          – Flooring it (~220 A): ~5 kW
          – Quick-charging at 120 A: 1400 W
          – L2 charging at 3.6 or 6.6 kW: 10 or 40 W

          Imagine trying to warm up an engine block with a electronics soldering iron. That’s how insignificant 40 W into a 300+ kg battery looks like.

        • The Mercedes uses a Tesla EV drivetrain, so I am going to guess it uses active cooling (very little on the web about this). If so, 220v will help keep the battery at the right temperature. 110v can’t do that and charge the car as well. If the Merc uses active cooling you are sabotaging the engineers thermal management by eschewing 220v charging.

          The LEAF uses passive cooling, plugging in to 220 won’t help it keep cool. I have found through experience that a full charge appears to add 6 degrees F to the pack temperature. Rapid charge, adds 6F. 220V charge adds 6F. Never done a full charge on 110. It doesn’t matter how fast the battery reaches a specific temperature, the only thing that matters is how hot is it and for how long?

          I used to wait until going to bed before plugging in on the assumption the battery would cool off. Once I got LeafSpyPro it was clear that waiting 3-4 hours allowed the pack to cool less than 1F, It doesn’t matter. So now I plug-in when I get home to reduce the chance of forgetting. Another Myth busted.

          The passive cooling on the LEAF is mild. I find on a cool morning where the ambient temp is at least 20F cooler than the pack the pack will gradually cool for the first 20 miles of driving, cooling off about 3F. Then it starts to warm up again as I continue to drive. So when I get to work another 20 miles later its back to the temperature I started at 🙂 Then I rapid charge it which adds another 6F over the days starting point. If you live within 20 miles of work the battery will cool on the way to work.

          • sounds like 220 is the way to go. I’ll get that setup and back online for at least one of our cars…and do some research about adding another outdoor, curbside unit for our leaf. thanks for the detail…this is very intriguing.

  • One of the reasons cited by people is the supposed higher cost of ownership, but once people find out that the cost can/will be lower than owning an ICE, then people will want to switch.
    The only problem with that , what I can see, could be that there may not be enough EV’s to be had.
    The article that compared the Ford model T and Tesla, in the production numbers, did not state if Ford was production limited, like Tesla is currently.

    • “but once people find out that the cost can/will be lower than owning an ICE, then people will want to switch.”

      You might want to read the excellent work of Mr. Kahneman, where he proves that, among other things, most people intuitively fail to value large future savings higher than much smaller savings today.

      A Yale study applied this to cars and found that even with lifetime savings in excess of 30%, people still chose the car that was cheapest upfront ( ).

      All that suggests that lowering the sticker price should be carmakers number one priority rather than lowering total cost of ownership. Nissan and Renault have the right idea with their battery lease.

      • I never stated that humans in general are smart, as a race, but in my opinion rather the opposite.
        I for myself like long term savings over lower cost at the start, after all that is why I build a net zero place and live in it. 🙂

        • You’re not Joe Average, not even close 😉

    • TCO is dependent on:
      (1) miles driven per year,
      (2) years for which car is kept,
      (3) depreciation.

      This is pretty hard to figure out, actually. I suspect my Tesla will last well over 10 years, maybe even 20. But I don’t drive that much per year… anyway, for people who drive a LOT per year, electric cars have a very good TCO.

  • More models from more manufacturers would definitely help. Surveys like this in conjunction with dropping battery costs, tightening emission regulation and Tesla moving downmarket should increase the pressure to deliver on automakers.

    If Subaru could deliver a price-competitve 240-mile EV Crosstrek with access to nation-wide L3 charging, I’d trade my Volt like, yesterday. Subaru being partnered with Toyota though, I’m anticipating Tesla will serve that segment before them…

    • Man no kidding! We own a Forester and a Leaf, and since we’ve purchased the Leaf, my wife’s most common lament about the Forester is the fact that we couldn’t get an electric one.

      • 🙂

    • Quick and off-topic question: I’m under the impression that Subaru is (was?) fairly popular with American greenies/granola eaters.

      Here in Europe, the brand is small and has always been known for inefficient off-road monsters that hunters and such like use. Why is Subaru America so different?

      • Our market is very different, yes. The alternative to a Subaru here, until recently, was a pickup truck or SUV. Part of the popularity is they are the only reasonably-priced non-luxury wagon/estate available (VW Passat wagon being the only other non-luxe choice). Part of it is the standard AWD, again at a reasonable price. They are very popular in mountainous snowy states, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, Washington and Colorado.

        And while Subaru was in the WRC the 20-somethings came to love the WRX and STI, of course.

        I had a 1st-generation Forester for many years and loved it (aside from the fuel economy). Fabulous winter vehicle which only was stopped by snow on me once when the drifts were breaking over the hood. The current one is too big now, IMO, the XV is around the right size for me.

        I’d go back to the brand in a flash if they would just get on with proper electrification, they showed hybrid, PHEV and BEV concepts years ago but never released anything until this year’s (lackluster) XV Hybrid.

      • relatively speaking an AWD Subaru is an “inefficient off-road monster” compared to the competition in Europe and in the US and OZ it’s a rather small not-so-thirsty AWD SUV.

        • Okay. Whenever I saw a Forester, I thought “so this is what an American drives”. Turns out it’s even worse than I thought :p

      • History. Subaru’s fan base dates back to the 1970s, when its cars were really small. It was the first Japanese company to really commit to front drive, and those cars got a rough-terrain rep in the states that Adrian mentions below with a distinct fan base that made it like a Japanese SAAB. That encouraged it to be an early adopter of 4WD. That led to the rally stuff and the SUVs.

  • They will also have to get solar to maximize both the EV and solar.

  • All of those “refinery problems” are getting people angry at gasoline. Despite low oil prices, Southern California has very high gasoline prices due to various refinery shutdowns.

    I’m sure glad I drive electric. 🙂

    • Sounds like some Ed Abbey style tactics near refineries could go a long way towards electrifying the US…

  • Its all about 2018.

    End of travel provision
    Next gen leaf
    Model 3

  • so the people on the coast are in favor of electric vehicles. That is NOT a clear representation of the rest of the state, not of the people who cannot afford one, who are in poverty or are unemployed. GO to Imperial, Inyo, Riverside, East San Diego, areas of HIGH unemployment and see what they think about the whole “green push” EV’s have their place and are a viable technology, but using a loaded survery to push an agenda is not honest

    • I wonder what those people will think once affordable used EVs start to appear at the car lots where they shop?

      • in areas of 27 – 30% unemployment? In area where people are being raped by the costs of living to start with. wake up, the “green” agenda is not a cost saver to the average person. Use technology where it makes sense instead of pushing an agenda on others.

        • So someone who is working hard to make ends meet would not be well served by a <$10k EV that would allow them to commute to work for a few dollars a month?

          They'd be better off, you think, by spending $5k for a used gasmobile then spending more than $5k on repairs and fuel over the next 3-4 years by your way of thinking?

          How about replacing a burned out incandescent bulb with a $4 LED that will pay for itself in months and the keep cutting their monthly electricity cost?

          How about a solar panel lease or PPA that cuts their monthly electricity bill? No value to people who are struggling?

          How about spending a few dollars on weatherstripping doors and windows in order to save lots of dollars on heating and AC. Bad idea?

          • reality check bob they do the small things and there are NOT cheap ev’s for sale now. Tomorrow will get here but in its own course, let them decide how to live their lives. They do not need or want your advise or control over them.

          • There are used Leafs for sale at <$8k.

            Someone with a 30 mile RT commute is likely to drive about 13k a year. Do that in a used ICEV that gets 30 MPG using $3/gallon fuel and you'll spend about $1,300 per year on gas. Add in oil changes, engine repairs and you're over $1,500.

            After 3 years the Leaf will have saved a driver over half its purchase price and paid for itself in about 6 years. Can't do that with a gasmobile.

            Your "advise" is for people with the lowest incomes to waste their money?

          • Thanks Bob. Love logic that is hard to refute and your comment saved me the time and effort to do the same 🙂 We sold out last gasmobile (my scooter) on Saturday and our second EV – my leaf – arrives tomorrow. I’m a bit excited 😀 😀

          • How is it going to matter when California runs out of fresh water? The coasts will be all that’s left and the people whose freedom to barely survive you defend will migrate, or die.

          • desalination, ground water, water efficiency, ag efficiency.

        • Technology is never agenda-free, and costs are always diverted and distorted. Poor people live very differently in other countries because they’re so numerous that infrastructure still has to be built around their needs, not the needs of a McMansion voter who can decree cuts in social programs and mass transit so that a trillion dollars can be spent on military needs and obligations. 80 years ago our poor could use trains and streetcars to get to the good jobs. Now, they’d need a 747. That served someone’s agenda.

    • Lower-income areas are the places most in need of cheap-to-operate EVs. What needs more work is the initial price, however that is coming down fast, and used vehicles are starting to come available at parity or even cheaper than equivalent gassers. (Leaf vs. Versa, for instance).

      • The poor will probably have to turn to improved Chinese-built electric bikes, which is not a viable solution since that means we won’t have any jobs left.

Comments are closed.