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Published on December 2nd, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan

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10 Charts: Top Electric Car Benefits & Top Misconceptions

December 2nd, 2018 by  


Below is one chapter of our new electric car driver report, Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams.

Top Electric Car Benefits, From Two Angles

There’s nothing like experience. You can read and write about something all day, but until you experience it, it’s just a concept, and you don’t really understand it.

So, with that in mind, it is often interesting and useful to collect feedback from actual EV drivers about what they appreciate about their cars. It’s also often interesting and useful to find out the top misconceptions they discover other people have about electric cars.

We took this exploration a step further as well by asking respondents what most inspired them to go electric and what their three favorite things are about driving electric.

Respondents mostly chose to transition to electric vehicles in order to help protect the environment that we all rely on for a safe and healthy life. That is unlikely to be a driving force in the adoption of EVs going forward, though, as the early majority and late majority join the transition.

Other top reasons — across groups — were “financial savings” and “I love new tech.” Less frequently but also sometimes appearing on the podium were “the fun and/or convenience of instant torque” and “the smooth & quiet drive.”

Unsurprising (given their high cost as well as their high performance and tech leadership), Tesla owners put “environmental benefit” as their #1 reason less than other groups did. In Europe, the percentage that chose that option was 32%. In North America, it was 35%.

In general, North American respondents didn’t choose “environmental benefit” as much either. The percentage of respondents who chose this option in North America equaled 35% among PHEV drivers and 38% among non-Tesla EV drivers.

In the case of non-Tesla EV and PHEV drivers in Europe, the option landed in the 50–57% range.

Financial savings ended up being a much bigger factor among non-Tesla EV and PHEV drivers in North Americans than it was for other groups. That benefit solidly held the #2 position for those North American groups.

Moving on to drivers’ favorite things about electric cars now that they have them, “environmental benefit” didn’t always win the day. Instant torque and the smooth and quiet ride of an electric car were often at or near the top of the charts. The convenience of home charging and low maintenance also sometimes made it onto the podium. Low maintenance was actually the highest scoring benefit among non-Tesla EV drivers in North America.

Compare these results to last year’s report: “Why Electric Car Early Adopters Went Electric, + Best Things About Driving Electric.”

Top Electric Car Misconceptions

With all of those benefits, what is preventing more buyers from jumping into an electric car and driving one home? Often, it’s misconceptions. We asked EV drivers to share the top misconceptions people have about their electric cars in order to better understand what is blocking faster adoption.

The clear “winner” on this matter concerned charging time. In five out of the six groups, “They take too long to charge” was the #1 misconception, according to our EV driving respondents.

“They’re too expensive” and “They’re not clean/environmentally beneficial” were the other top choices.

Compare these results to last year’s report: “Top Misconceptions of Non-EV Drivers (CleanTechnica Report).”

These misconceptions will probably persist for several years, but they should gradually decrease in relevance as awareness rises and also as charging, range, and cost improve.

Of course, electric cars are much cleaner and more environmentally beneficial than their gasoline- and diesel-powered ancestors, but misinformation on this topic is widespread, and likely driven by specific anti-EV campaigns. It’s unclear how understanding around this matter will evolve over time, but it’s unlikely to matter too much for adoption since there are other benefits that will pull in more mainstream buyers and the buyers who really do make purchases based on environmental friendliness are generally more informed about the environmental benefits of electric cars.

For more details on EV drivers, what they want, and what they require in future EVs, buy and read Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams.


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.



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