This is something we’ve been wondering on the rooftop terrace of CleanTechnica world headquarters in Asgard, Florida — with all the fresh air from not driving, and the beautiful pics of places like Los Angeles sans smog, will people consider clean electric cars more than they have?
It’s logical. People like clear blue skies. They can finally see a compare and contrast. There’s also research showing that air pollution is linked to more severe COVID-19 cases and death (not to mention heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, dementia, psychosis, diabetes, brain tumors, learning challenges, childhood death, mental fog, renal failure/kidney disease, fetal development problems, lower sperm quality, more bone loss and bone fracture risk, etc., etc.). People also know — or should know — that electric cars don’t have tailpipes because they don’t emit anything, just like your computer doesn’t emit cancerous smoke and your phone isn’t spewing out CO2.
Nonetheless, there might be some other things on people’s minds right now, many of us are sort of going crazy from being locked in our homes so much, and there’s not a whole lot of opportunity to notice and reflect on clear skies when you’re busy defeating Netflix and Disney+.
We have some initial signs, however, that the coronavirus crisis is helping people to consider electric cars more than they did previously.
Venson Automotive Solutions reports that 45% of the people it recently surveyed in the UK indicated they were thinking about going electric today due to air quality concerns. That’s up from previous surveys, presumably in part due to people leaving their cars parked to a degree the world has never seen before and skies clearing up as a result. Perhaps there’s also just more concern about respiratory problems in the midst of a respiratory-related pandemic.
“Of the 45% of motorists who are now reassessing their EV options, 19% said their next company car or private purchase would be an EV, with the remaining 26% confirming they intend to become an EV driver in the next 5 years. In an EV attitudes survey conducted by Venson in July 2019, 41% of people said they were considering moving to an EV, but 31% said that they wouldn’t for another 10-15 years, confirming the intention by many to play their part in protecting the environment has since accelerated.”
Aside from the health links noted above, it crossed my mind that there might be another reason people are thinking more about getting an electric car now. Our social isolation is not really social isolation, it’s physical isolation. We’re heavily connected globally via the internet. Who rules the internet? Well, Google of course, but who rules the internet in the auto industry? You know who. I don’t even have to name them. Yesla, it’s Tesla. If people are surfing the web bored more than ever, there’s a solid chance they’re evolving into Tesla fanboys and fangirls in the process.
We all know that for many years people have fallen in love with Tesla vehicles who had no interest in electric vehicles beforehand. I recall talking to someone in NYC who was telling me electric cars sucked, were slow and lame like golf carts. I said something like, “What about Tesla?” And he responded, “Oh, not Tesla. Tesla is awesome.” The industry has gotten a bit better since then, but there’s no doubt that many people who own a Tesla right now didn’t consider a single other electric vehicle. With Tesla Model 3 deliveries rising considerably in the UK in recent months, one would expect word of mouth to drive more interest there — even if that means word of tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTuber videos rather than human mouths.
Whatever the reasons, it’s good to see interest in electric vehicles and plans to soon buy electric vehicles rising in the UK.