Educate The EV Masses — Encore!

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Last month at CleanTechnica we published an article titled, “If We Want To See More EV Adoption, We Need To Educate The Masses.” We discussed how key barriers to EV adoption include strongly held ideas about infrastructure and higher costs — mostly due to a lack of education about EVs.

Russell Kearney, who headed up the study on which much of that article was grounded, checked out CleanTechnica, read our article, and contacted us from his gig at advertising specialist Encore Digital Media. He offered some additional commentary for CleanTechnica which builds upon the original research around electric vehicle technology in cities, towns, and villages, including a comparison between urban vs. rural living.

Kearney emphasizes:

  • The perception is that EV only makes sense in towns and cities (52% of the survey agree with this statement).
  • However, appetite for EV in villages is comparable to the amount of appetite there is for EV in cities. When asking whether EV was of interest, 62% agreed in cities and 55% in village. Less than 10% difference.
  • This indicates that there is demand for EV outside of cities, and this present brands with an opportunity to change perception and broaden their customer base to take EV mass market.
  • This actually makes sense from a business strategy perspective — people living in towns and villages generally will do more mileage that people in cities, so value of ownership is higher.
  • They’re also much more likely to have the infrastructure in their home (e.g driveway) to accommodate EVs and have their own point installed at home.
  • There are numerous incentive schemes from the government for businesses to install charge points in their car parks.
  • People living in towns and cities are also much more likely to commute to work in a car so, again, this is another opportunity to make owning an EV much easier for people in these areas.



The Encore Continues: US Feds Chime In

It’s not just Kearney who is spreading the word about the need for educating the average Joe or Jane about electric vehicles. The US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy cites several benefits to driving an electric vehicle of which the general public may not be aware.

  • Because electric motors react quickly, EVs are very responsive and have very good torque.
  • EVs are often more digitally connected than conventional vehicles, with many EV charging stations providing the option to control charging from a smartphone app.
  • Just like a smartphone, you can plug in your EV when you get home and have it ready for you to use the next morning.
  • Since the electric grid is available almost anywhere, there are a variety of options for charging: at home, at work, or on the road.
  • By charging often, you may never need to go to a gas station again.
  • EVs can help the United States have a greater diversity of fuel choices available for transportation.
  • EVs help reduce a threat that results from our reliance on petroleum, which makes the nation vulnerable to price spikes and supply disruptions — almost all US electricity is produced from domestic sources.
  • EVs can also reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change and smog, improving public health and reducing ecological damage.
  • Charging your EV on renewable energy such as solar or wind minimizes these emissions even more.

Author’s photo

Final Thoughts

Last year, I joined the Global Electric Vehicle Road Trip (Global EVRT) to the Middle East. We traveled over 1700 kilometers in a fleet of all-electric vehicles across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman. While the trip itself had many memorable moments, one stands out.

On our last leg, when we were heading toward Dubai’s Sustainable City, we stopped in a mini-caravan outside a convenience store. As one of our crew headed inside, several of us disembarked from our EVs to stretch our legs. I noticed some young people peeking out from the side of the store, eyes wide, peering intensely at our cars.

One young person inched out and approached us. “Tesla?” he questioned. “Tesla, yes?”

Oh, yes, we affirmed. We pointed to the Tesla insignia on the front. We explained a bit about our ability to drive without gas fill-ups and the speed of acceleration that an EV offers. Before we knew it, we had quite an audience who were hungry to learn more about this EV transportation technology.

Ah, if only we could provide such opportunities to people in the US! I really believe that everyday US citizens would be delighted at the opportunity to learn about EVs in a low risk environment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a group of EV manufacturers were banding together and bringing a sample of each EV to cities and towns across the US?

“Here, this is a BMW i3. Sure, the Nissan Leaf is affordable and has zero emissions. The Chevy Bolt has great acceleration. Did you know the Hyundai Kona has over 30,000 reservations on the waiting list? Did you know that Tesla makes a price competitive electric vehicle called the Model 3? They produced and sold 245,000 battery electric vehicles in 2018 and are about to sell between 370,000 and 420,000 in 2019.” Etc.

Or let’s move beyond the complexity of planning a mass manufacturer-led Global EVRT-like road trip in the States and, instead, offer regular people in everyday living situations the opportunities to get up-front-and-personal with an EV. Let’s offer people test rides. Give opportunities to practice charging. Hear tutorials about the full-life costs of the electric vehicles. Learn about what all-electric transportation really entails.

Anybody who has worked in sales knows that demand is volatile, comes and goes, but if you make the right offer at the right time, you get the deal. The deal that’s coming is the value in EVs. But people need to come to their own understanding of that idea.

With recent studies indicating that almost every 6th car sold in the world will be electric by 2025, more and more people are taking notice of EVs. The opportunity to teach US citizens about EVs is long overdue. Let’s use some of the stats from Russell Kearney to move beyond the debate of “Are EVs really going to be that popular?” to a place where average everyday citizens can make good decisions because they’ve had the opportunity to build background knowledge.

Graphics courtesy Encore Digital Media

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a Model Y as well as a Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.

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