Biggest misconceptions of non-EV drivers: “too expensive” and “takes too long to charge”

By Zachary Shahan, Clean Technica, 25 June 2017

One of the unique aspects of driving an electric car is talking to people about the new tech, and as EV drivers quickly find out, there are a handful of common misconceptions about this “new” tech.

In the surveys for our 2017 EV driver report, we forced respondents to choose only one myth from several options that they said they faced the most. We were curious to find out if one or two misconceptions stood out as extremely common relative to the others. A couple of responses were clearly the most common, but there was also plenty of variation in the responses.

In particular, there was a lot of variation according to type of EV as well as the respondent’s region.

Top Misconceptions of Non-EV Drivers

Tesla drivers were less likely to be confronted with the misconception that EVs are slow (hmm, what a surprise?), whereas plug-in hybrid drivers faced this misconception approximately 11% of the time — perhaps due to an association with conventional hybrids.

Europeans were more likely to face the misconception that electric cars aren’t actually cleaner (environmentally beneficial). In particular, European drivers of fully electric cars were the ones who chose this option — 20–27% of the time.

However, the two options that got the most responses overall were the misconceptions that electric cars take too long to charge and are too expensive.

Tesla drivers and other fully electric car drivers were hit especially hard by the slow charging misconception — 38–41% and 27–30% of respondents, respectively.

In regard to the “they’re too expensive” misconception, a whopping 40–42% of respondents chose this, whereas 18–20% of European fully electric car (including Tesla) drivers chose it and 23–31% of North American fully electric car (including Tesla) drivers chose it.

This question is a relatively complicated one since it first requires that respondents identify the options as misconceptions in order to choose them.

Since Teslas are relatively expensive cars, it is logical that many of the respondents might actually agree that electric cars are expensive, and not consider that a misconception. (Also, there may be an implication that they’re talking about Teslas rather than used LEAFs.) On that same topic, Europeans are either less confronted with that misconception or they are more likely to agree that the cars are expensive — our survey didn’t explore these topics enough to determine which factors were predominantly at play here — definitely a plan for future surveys.

In case you missed previous summaries, here’s a short summary of our 2017 EV report:

We surveyed over 2,000 electric car drivers living in 28 countries (49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces). We wanted to find out what early electric car adopters require and desire from their next electric cars and from EV charging networks, as well as what EV life is like so far for them.

This report segments responses by three distinct electric vehicle groups (Tesla drivers, pure-electric but non-Tesla drivers, and drivers of plug-in hybrids) as well as by continent (North America versus Europe). This segmentation unveils clear differences on many topics — which is sensible given the vast variation in user experience for each type of EV and for the two regions, but which we’ve never seen uncovered before.

You can get the full 93-page report — Electric Car Drivers: Desires, Demands, & Who They Are — for $500, or you can check out the first 30 pages for free. (If you contributed to the report/surveys and want a free copy, drop us a note and we’ll send the entire report your way.)

Our core partners for this year’s report included EV-BoxTesla Shuttle, and Important Media. Other report partners included The Beam, EV Obsession, and the Low Voltage Vehicle Electrification summit.