20% of electric vehicle owners in California switched back to fossil fuel because charging their cars is a hassle

  • Date: 03/05/21
  • Business Insider

Roughly one in five plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners switched back to owning gas-powered cars, in large part because charging the batteries was a pain in the… trunk, new study finds. 

In roughly three minutes, you can fill the gas tank of a Ford Mustang and have enough range to go about 300 miles with its V8 engine.

But for the electric Mustang Mach-E, an hour plugged into a household outlet gave Bloomberg automotive analyst Kevin Tynan just three miles of range.

“Overnight, we’re looking at 36 miles of range,” he told Insider. “Before I gave it back to Ford, because I wanted to give it back full, I drove it to the office and plugged in at the charger we have there.”

Standard home outlets generally put out about 120 volts of power at what electric vehicle aficionados call “Level 1” charging, while the high-powered specialty connections offer 240 volts of power and are known as “Level 2.” By comparison, Tesla’s “Superchargers,” which can fully charge its cars in a little over an hour, offer 480 volts of direct current. 

That difference is night and day, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Energy by University of California Davis researchers Scott Hardman and Gil Tal that surveyed Californians who purchased an electric vehicle between 2012 and 2018. 

Roughly one in five plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners switched back to owning gas-powered cars, in large part because charging the batteries was a pain in the… trunk, the researchers found. […]

The researchers warned that this trend could make it harder to achieve electric vehicle sales targets in California and other countries, and the growth of the market overall. 

“It should not be assumed that once a consumer purchases a PEV they will continue owning one,” Hardman and Tal wrote. “What is clear is that this could slow PEV market growth and make reaching 100% PEV sales more difficult.”

Fixing the charging issue will require more participation from automakers, who have yet to find a profitable way of producing electric cars. Even Tesla, easily the leader in the category, was only able to eke out a first-quarter profit by selling energy credits and bitcoin.

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