EV trial shows 80% of drivers open to switching
The demonstrator programme was held by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) and the Technology Strategy Boards (TSB), with the findings analysed and published in a report by Cenex and Oxford Brookes University.
Launched in 2008, the ULCV demonstrator programme saw 349 vehicles tested in total, covering over 1.5 million miles and 270,000 journeys.
The trial found that at the outset, drivers did not want to compromise their daily routine and commonly stated that the car needed to fit their lives rather than vice versa. However, drivers immediately showed signs of primary adaptation with EVs being seen as simple to drive, including unfamiliar components such as regenerative breaking. The vehicles were seen as fun to drive, smooth and rated very highly on acceleration. Over a third of drivers stated that their EV had superior performance to their normal car.
Charging was also found to be more straightforward than expected even though, prior to the trial, drivers did not anticipate any significant problems with charging. In fact, drivers had a preference for charging vehicles as opposed to going to petrol stations to refuel. This is likely to be due to drivers valuing the freedom of not being tied to expensive fuel prices and the convenience of charging at home. However, a very high proportion of drivers remained convinced that public charging sites were essential.
Range anxiety did not prove an issue either. The average trip length achieved in the EVs was 5.1 miles and the average daily mileage was 21.4 miles, ensuring that the vast majority of drivers kept comfortably within the capable range of EVs. 75% of daily use consumed less than 50% of the battery capacity.
Finally, EVs were seen as a viable mobility option and 80% of trial participants could imagine replacing their ICE with an EV and 50% intended to do so.
Phil Smith, chairman of the Technology Strategy Board, commented: ‘The UK is committed to a low carbon economy and transport is a key area where change will be needed. This study shows how people will welcome and readily adapt to well-thought-out and effective innovation in this area.’
The trial reports are available for download from the Cenex website: www.cenex.co.uk/resources