Why they buy – rea­sons cur­rent ve­hi­cle own­ers go elec­tric

Motor Equipment News - - EVALUATION -

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/

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