If you’ve got an electric car, whether you live in the United States, the United Kingdom, Timbuktu, or Antarctica, you know the two questions most people ask when they are curious about your car: 1) how far can it drive, and 2) how long does it take to charge. Typically, though, these are sort of useless questions. For the most part, people charge at home and need to think about it very little.
A new study out of the UK highlights this in an interesting way. It points out that 79% of drivers in the country drive fewer than 150 miles per week, which could easily be met with one charge in a Tesla Model 3 SR+ (278 miles), Audi e-tron (252 miles), or basic Volkswagen ID.3 (258–264 miles) — all ratings according to WLTP rating system. If you get a longer range model, like a Tesla Model 3 Long Range (360 miles) or Volkswagen ID.3 Tour (337 miles), you could potentially charge up just once every two weeks.
In other words, seriously, range & charging time are not a big deal at this point.
Tusker, a car benefits company, surveyed 2,000 drivers to collect the data on this and other matters. Here are some other interesting findings:
“63% of drivers admitted to considering an EV for their next car citing environmental benefits, being able to charge at home and being taxed less on their salary as the top three main reasons.”
Also, 36% of those drivers considering an EV were confident they could name 3 charging locations they’d use in their local area.
Tusker knows a bit more than the average person or company about the appeal of EV ownership. It has a fleet of nearly 20,000 cars and 50% of its 2020 orders were electric. The overall UK market reached 10.7% plugin vehicle market share in 2020, which was impressive but certainly not the 50% share Tusker reached.
Furthermore, in just 12 months, the EV share of Tusker’s fleet went from 3% to 20%.
Tusker also points out that 75% of respondents considered electric vehicles to be within their budgets, while 25% thought they were just for rich people beyond their means. Tusker’s response is: “When looking at the numbers this minority view is quickly dispelled with a £42k Tesla Model 3 available on Tusker’s salary sacrifice scheme from as little as £399 per month, and the £26k Corse-e from just £249 per month, both inclusive of maintenance and insurance on a four-year agreement.”
“Our Car Benefit Scheme aims to put the majority of EVs in the reach of everyday drivers by using some of a driver’s salary before it’s taxed in exchange for the use of a brand-new car,” said Paul Gilshan, Tusker’s CEO. “This year’s research shows that drivers better understand how electric cars can fit into their life even down to the location of their charging points.”
Confused about the fancy tax benefits they’re talking about here? I’m sure it’s a bit complicated if you look at the details of it all, but it seems that companies like Tusker make it easy and seamless, rolling the tax benefits in together with maintenance and insurance costs for one simple monthly bill. “Salary sacrifice works on the same principle as Cycle to Work and Childcare Vouchers and provides drivers with a hassle-free new car, inclusive of maintenance and insurance,” Gilshan noted.
Without a doubt, electric cars have gotten more competitive around the world in the past few years, but they’ve gotten especially competitive in the UK. I wrote about this in December 2019 thanks to a superb report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I revisited that report in July 2020 as sales did indeed start to explode in a piece titled, “This Is Why Electric Car Sales Are Blowing Up In The UK.” However, as I also noted at the time that I think awareness still hasn’t caught up to the many benefits of electric cars or the potential for financial savings compared to a “similar” fossil-fueled car. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that awareness rose significantly in 2020 and that many more consumers will have their interest piqued as they see their neighbors charging, quietly coasting down their streets in nearly silent electric cars, and packing or unpacking their frunks.
What does that mean for 2021, 2022, and beyond? We have yet to say, but I’ll repeat a couple of the most notable stats from above: 50% of Tusker’s purchases were electric vehicles in 2020, and its nearly 2,000-vehicle fleet saw its overall market share jump from 3% to 20% in just 12 months. I’ll consider that a sign of what’s to come as more people and businesses become as aware of the benefits of EVs as Tusker is.