Why they buy – reasons current vehicle owners go electric
In April Flip the Fleet learned about one-half of owners bought EVs mainly for environmental reasons, and around one-third because of low running costscomfortable and quiet ride, smart technology or fast pickup – some people release the “inner bogan” when buying electric, says Flip the Fleet scientist Henrik Moller.
“We expect the reasons why people switch will change as EVs become more mainstream, cost less, and full-charge ranges match what petrol tanks can deliver,” he says.
“Some pundits predict 50 plug-in models will be available in New Zealand by 2020, including SUVs, light commercials, trucks and campervans. EVs are coming, whether we are ready or not.”
But the water is still muddy, so much so that some 42 percent of Brits are unsure if you can put an electric vehicle (EV) through a car wash, according to the Go Ultra Low campaign in the UK. And 89 percent don’t know EVs are faster – much faster – off the line when you put your foot down.
Ignorance of EVs’ benefits is one reason New Zealand’s Flip The Fleet project, building a database of monthly records read from dashboards and scanning apps, was started.
The past month’s distance – others were attracted mainly by EVs’ travelled fuel efficiency measured as km/kWh. Costs of maintenance and repairs, charging cycles, battery condition and lots more are stored against the basics of the model, year of manufacture, cost, where it’s based and whether it’s used mainly around town or on the highway.
Within milliseconds of uploading data at the end of each month, each owner can get online reports of their EV’s costs savings compared to equivalent petrol vehicles and calculations of emissions avoided.
The software benchmarks their EV’s benefits and costs against other models, or owners can set data filters to compare regions or monitor how the car is trending between years and seasons.
The idea is to allow the real experts about EVs, current owners, to figure out a bigger picture of how well they go in Kiwi conditions rather than just relying on their own car’s performance. It’s a collaboration by EV owners for future EV owners.
Flip The Fleet’s software is fast and easy to operate. Participants can upload monthly statistics in two, five or 10 minutes depending on whether they choose a low, medium or super-tech option.
The result has been more than 47,000 so far for our scientists to analyse.
Participation is voluntary, and the project is supported financially by the Government by its Low Emission Vehicle Contestable Fund and Curious Minds portfolios. That ensures information is interpreted independently of commercial interests.
People are rightly wary of new technology, especially something like a motor vehicle, which is expensive and crucial for our lifestyles and businesses. Where EVs’ current functionality meets the use case is that they are brilliant for comfort, safety, the environment and the owner’s purse.
Conventional vehicle technology is also improving rapidly – modern cars are more efficient, safer, quieter and need less maintenance than those built five years ago.
Some well-meaning owners of electric cars, the “EVangelists”, may exaggerate their benefits by comparing a relatively new EV’s performance with that of an old petrol car it replaced.
Similarly, some dealers and media commentators exaggerate the limitations of EVs, and perpetuate myths to promote business as usual.
Source: Flip The Fleet survey, April 2018, 391 responses, https://flipthefleet. org/2018/1-click-survey-18/