Surveys diverge on stickability of UK BEVs

Less than one-in-10 BEV drivers considering going back to ICE is consistent. But BEV back to hybrid may be an issue

Surveys diverge on stickability of UK BEVs
Two surveys, but different levels of wavering on the choice of having gone BEV 

Two recent surveys of UK BEV drivers have produced a remarkably similar number for UK drivers who have chosen BEV, but would consider going back to ICE. But one of them suggests that an appetite to switch from BEV to hybrid might be more prevalent.

Only 9pc of respondents in a poll carried out by Tusker, a company car and salary sacrifice car rental firm, said they would go back to driving a petrol or diesel car and 91pc of existing BEV drivers are either very satisfied or satisfied with driving an electric car.

And this exactly matches a finding by market research agency Biznography — albeit in a smaller survey covering only just over 100 BEV drivers — that also saw just 9pc of BEV drivers considering going petrol or diesel as their next car. But the latter also flagged that an additional two in 10 BEV drivers might push back from fully electric and opt next for a PHEV (15pc) or HEV (6pc).

Charger woes

Charging represents a major stumbling block in both surveys. Those considering a BEV-to-hybrid switch “mention charging issues at a much higher level than those who would stick with pure BEV”, Biznography finds. In the Tusker survey, 80pc of those who said they will not choose an EV as their next car highlighted their concerns about the charging infrastructure.

Both polls finds that the BEV-owning population remains dominated by those that can charge at home — 81pc of Tusker respondents and 83pc of those asked by Biznography.

Over 75pc of the BEV drivers Tusker surveyed only use public charging once a month or less. Biznography does not have a comparable figure, but it does find that 75pc of its BEV-driving respondent use at-home charging as a primary charging mode.

Nonetheless, of Tusker’s BEV owners, 61pc would still like to see more public chargers (second only to 65pc who want more range from their vehicles, which plays to a similar concern). On every metric of poor experience at public chargers — finding an available charger and delayed journeys because of that, broken chargers, chargers that felt unsafe, app issues or running out of juice entirely — Biznography’s 30pc of BEV waverers have been more exposed than the 70pc sticking with BEV.

Even the 21pc of Biznography respondents who are considering BEV as their next vehicle cite range anxiety and charging speed as remaining concerns, albeit not deal breakers. For an additional 39pc who would be prepared to consider BEV but not likely to be their next choice, they are “unconvinced of the practicality of [B]EVs” and range anxiety and charging speed are active barriers, as well as concerns over the quality and acquisition cost of current BEV options.

Some of this is perception, rather than reality. Tusker finds that only 9pc of this petrol-driving population drive more than 200 miles per week, and only 6pc make a journey of over 100 miles at least weekly. The average range of a BEV in the UK is over 219 miles, Tusker says.

Of the BEV drivers it polled, 76pc confirmed they got over 150 miles per charge — enough to cover the weekly mileage of 77pc of the petrol drivers polled — by only charging once a week. And, even among petrol drivers, 58pc had noticed more public charging points appearing over the last year.

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