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Close to a fifth of all EV drivers in California have switched back to gasoline cars because charging their electric cars was a hassle, according to a new study bound to send ripples across an industry that has plans for market domination.
The study from the University of California, published in Nature Energy, looked at drivers who bought EVs between 2012 and 2018 and found that 18 percent of battery electric vehicle buyers switched back to gasoline-powered cars, as did 20 percent of plug-in hybrid buyers. The main problem cited by respondents to the surveys that the authors conducted was with charging times.
Insider, in a report on the study, quoted Bloomberg’s car analyst Kevin Tinan as explaining that he had just tested a Mustang Mach-E. It had charged—in a household outlet—at a rate of just 3 miles of range per hour. This makes just 36 miles of range for overnight charging, Tinan noted.
The technicalities of EV charging rarely make the headlines, and the reason is that they are a bit inconvenient for EV proponents. If you buy an EV that you use every day, you won’t be able to do it by charging it at home. The reason is that household outlets give out some 120 volts of power, which makes for the aforementioned rate of charging.
Public charging points, in comparison, put out 240 volts, which means faster charging. Then there are Tesla’s Superchargers, which give out 480 volts. Yet even with a Supercharger, it would take an hour to “fill up” an EV batter. This compares to just a handful of minutes to fill up a gasoline-powered vehicle.
What’s more, according to the study from the University of California, two-thirds of EV drivers didn’t use public charging stations, although the reasons for this were not specified.
Such studies don’t bode well for the future of EVs. The Biden administration—and the state of California—have superambitious plans for EV adoption, and so have all big carmakers. But studies such as the one from nature Energy suggest success may not be as certain as some would like it to be. Car dealers are already aware of that: a recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted EVs still make up a tiny minority of total car sales and cited one car dealer as saying, “The consumer in the middle of America just isn’t there yet.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.