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Common misperceptions about electric driving

Very recently, the UK became the latest European country to announce the (near) future end of diesel and gasoline fueled cars. By 2040, the sale of these vehicles will be prohibited in the UK. A couple of weeks earlier, France announced a similar plan and it is expected that more countries will follow in the next couple of years. Preferring electric (or hybrid) vehicles is becoming a no-brainer for even the most petrol-addicted drivers, and obviously not just because governments decide to ban the use of ‘traditional’ cars. However, there are still quite some criticizers who are skeptical about the transformation that has taken place in the world of mobility. In most cases this is the result of misperceptions about electric driving. Here are some of the most common:

1. Cost of ownership

A common misperception is that electric driving is expensive. Well, evidently there are some more affordable and some real pricey models in the electric car segment. However, due to savings on taxes, fuel costs, maintenance costs and insurance, the total cost of ownership of an electric vehicle are significantly lower than for a car that uses (only) fossil fuels. Driving an electric car can in some cases be over 400% (!)* more affordable than driving a ‘conventional’ car. In addition to concrete savings (electricity vs. fuel), there are a number of tax benefits that can make it very attractive to trade a petrol or diesel car for a much cleaner electric car.

2. Range anxiety

According to a recent survey - which drew quite some media attention - the average daily commute in the Netherlands is only 22 kilometers. One of the main reasons people are a little hesitant to buy an electric car is so called range anxiety. It turns out that that every electric car, even PHEV’s, can drive at least 22 electric kilometers and therefore more than sufficient to cover the daily trip back and forth to the office.

3. Infrastructure

In addition to range anxiety, there is also the ‘fear’ of not finding a charging point in time and get stranded on the motorway en route to an important meeting. This is a misperception that really has no connection to reality. Many countries now have an infrastructure of charging points that enables people to use their electric vehicle every day. With both hybrid cars and full electric cars, short and long trips can be done without any problems.

4. Early stage

It is hard to believe, but in the perception of some people, electric driving is still at an early stage in terms of development and innovation. As a result, these ‘early hesitators’ tend to wait until electric driving has moved on to the next phase. Reality is, that this is one of the most innovative and fast moving industries on the planet. A great example is the F1 industry, which has adapted electric driving by investing in Formula-E. The concept is developed to demonstrate the great potential of sustainable mobility. Moreover, the general public is increasingly embracing the concept of driving, which is clearly reflected by the increasing number of EV-drivers. This is evidently not the result of a lack of innovation. Moreover, Tesla is a wonderful example of a high-tech electric car that is accessible to the public and continues to renew itself - through software over-the-air - after purchase.

5. Implementation

For many people the perceived hassle to make the switch to electric driving - the actual implementation - is often times a serious obstacle. For those who acknowledge the benefits and necessity of electric driving, it can be quite a challenge to convince criticizers (family, colleagues, management, the supervisory board) of the fact that ‘going green and affordable’ is a reality and isn’t actually that hard (or expensive). The most effective way to convince them is by actually showing them:

  • How much money can be saved
  • How easy charging your car is and how long it takes to charge an EV
  • How efficient the installation process can be - from choosing a charge point provider to final installation
  • How many millions of individuals and thousands of companies already made the switch to electric driving in the last couple of years

Last but not least, there is one more - important - thing to consider. Not only is ‘going electric’ an important step forward in terms of corporate social responsibility for companies of every size, but it also contributes to the image of an organization.

Simple and plain facts, but nevertheless quite convincing.
Calculations are based on the Honda Civic, which consumes 7.4 liter per 100 km, and the Nissan Leaf, which consumes 15 kWh per 100 km. The petrol and energy costs are €1.62 per liter and €0.20 per kWh in the Netherlands.