Some auto executives, like Mark Reuss, president of General Motors, know there are many myths about driving an electric car but are willing to shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh, well. What can you do? People just aren’t ready.” Others, like the people at Hyundai UK, know the reason why people steer clear of new technology is because they have questions and concerns that make them uncomfortable.
Professional sales people know it is essential to flush out those concerns so that they can be addressed in order to make a sale. Reuss may know a lot about cars (he does) but he gets no more than a D when it comes to salesmanship. Hyundai UK, on the other hand, gets an A, because it commissioned a poll to find out what weird, bizarre, or foolish reasons people have for rejecting the idea of buying an electric car, and is taking action on that. A company can’t sell electric cars successfully if it doesn’t understand why people are saying no.
Some of the findings from that poll may astonish you. They did me. Sylvie Childs, senior product manager at Hyundai Motor UK, tells the UK’s iNews:
“It’s been fascinating to hear about some of the misconceptions that people still have about electric vehicles. We’ve all been told you don’t mix electricity with water, but when it comes to EVs there’s absolutely no extra risk of driving in a lightning storm — they are just as safe as a petrol or diesel car.
“Range anxiety is also an interesting one. When electric cars first came out the range was an issue we had to tackle, but these days you can get almost 300 miles on a single charge and this will increase further in time.”
Here are some of the wacky things people told the pollsters.
- 18% said they didn’t think it would be safe to drive through a lightning storm.
- 12% wouldn’t feel happy about charging their phone in an electric car.
- 28% admitting they don’t know enough about EVs to understand them.
Here are the top 10 things that keep people from buying an electric car and Hyundai’s response to each one.
1. Range anxiety
“Don’t panic. A typical electric vehicle (EV) covers between 100 (161 km) and 200 miles (322 km) on a single charge and even longer on some models with ranges of more than 300 miles (483 km). Hyundai’s KONA Electric can actually go as far as 279 miles (449 km) with one charge.”
2. Where to charge
“No need to worry! There are currently more than 14,500 public charging points in more than 9,000 locations in the UK1 and the network is growing rapidly.” (There are more chargers than gas pumps in the UK.)
3. Electric cars are too expensive
“Think again. With more and more affordable and competitive options and fewer moving parts to fail or need replacing, EVs are in fact cheaper to run than conventionally fueled vehicles.”
4. Electric cars are too sluggish
“Not true! Instant torque delivery means EVs can accelerate just as quickly and if not much quicker than their petrol or diesel counterparts. For example, Hyundai’s Kona Electric can accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in just 7.9 seconds.”
5. You can’t drive an electric car in thunderstorm or through a car wash
“Of course we’ve all been told that you don’t mix electricity with water, but when it comes to EV’s its perfectly safe to use a car wash and there’s no extra risk of driving in a lightning storm.”
6. There aren’t enough electric car models on the market
“The electric car market is expanding rapidly. In fact, Hyundai currently has the largest e-mobility fleet in the world including the latest in electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”
7. EV batteries wind up in landfills
“EV batteries can be recycled just like the batteries in petrol or diesel cars. EV power cells can be used to store solar and wind energy, or they can be broken down with their more-valuable elements reused.”
8. Electric cars aren’t safe
“Rest assured that EVs undergo the same rigorous testing and meet the same safety standards required for petrol or diesel fueled cars.”
9. Roadside assistance can’t help with electric cars
“The majority of breakdown suppliers now provide services for all EVs as well as conventional vehicles.”
10. Electric cars don’t have enough performance
“You won’t be disappointed. As soon as you push down on the accelerator, the transition from stationary to speed is almost instantaneous.”
The survey was conducted for Hyundai by OnePoll, which interviewed 2,000 drivers of gasoline, diesel, and alternatively powered cars. It found 56% of respondents agreed the UK government was doing the right thing by encouraging motorists to switch to electric and hydrogen-powered cars by 2040.
Range Anxiety Still Heads The List
In another recent survey conducted for Hyundai, nearly half of people said fear of running out of battery power was the number one reason why they would not consider buying an electric car. With many cars now capable of 200 miles (322 km) or more on a single battery charge, that seems rather silly since the average person drives 30 miles (48 km) or fewer every day. But myths die hard. Educating consumers so they will no longer worry about range could have a bigger positive effect on EV sales than increasing the size of batteries.
Hyundai seems committed to that sort of educational outreach while other companies want to sit on the sidelines, wringing their hands and wailing, “Nobody wants to buy electric cars.” So, kudos to Hyundai, which makes some of the most efficient electric cars available today, for taking the myths that still surround electric cars seriously and helping to educate consumers about the advantages of driving on electrons instead of molecules.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book
Our Latest EVObsession Video
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.