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1 in 5 electric vehicle owners in California switched back to gas because charging their cars is a hassle, new research shows
Dominick Reuter
Apr 30, 2021, 12:41 PM

Roughly 20% of electric vehicle owners in California replaced their cars with gas ones, a new study shows.
The main reason drivers made the switch was the inconvenience of charging.
The findings suggest new challenges facing the growth of the nascent electric vehicle market.
See more stories on Insider's business page.

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.

Of those who switched, over 70% lacked access to Level 2 charging at home, and slightly fewer than that lacked Level 2 connections at their workplace.

"If you don't have a Level 2, it's almost impossible," said Tynan, who has tested a wide range of makes and models of PEVs over the years for his research.


Even with the faster charging, a Chevy Volt he tested still needed nearly six hours to top its range back up to 300 miles from nearly empty — something that takes him just minutes at the pump with his family SUV.

Public charging stations may look like the electric version of the gas station, but nearly two-thirds of PEV drivers in the survey said they didn't use them. Exactly why they didn't use the public stalls was not specified.

EVs have come a long way in recent years in terms of range, safety, comfort, and tech features, but Hardman and Tal note that very little has changed in terms of how they are recharged.

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.

"For all those legacy automakers, that profit and loss piece does matter. And that's why you're getting this half effort on electrification," Tynan said.
 

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The electric future "they" all dream about is definitely not ready for prime time. Question is, will it ever be?
Possibly in THX1138?

 
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The electric future "they" all dream about is definitely not ready for prime time. Question is, will it ever be?
I think it will be, its just most people want what they want when they want it...and when they want it is usually right away.

I like a lot of what I read about Electric vehicles. The thought of buying one soon for our 'second' car has gone through my head a few times. But just as many others, while I want one, I want the range to be just a bit higher, I want charging outside of the home to be just a bit easier and faster, and charging in the home to also be a bit quicker.

It will happen, but we aren't going to be there next month, or maybe even not next year. Things should get better as time goes on, but just because a lot of people WANT our highways full of 100% EV's doesn't mean it is ready to happen now or in the very near future. This is a big transition, it will take time.
 

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I think it will be, its just most people want what they want when they want it...and when they want it is usually right away.

I like a lot of what I read about Electric vehicles. The thought of buying one soon for our 'second' car has gone through my head a few times. But just as many others, while I want one, I want the range to be just a bit higher, I want charging outside of the home to be just a bit easier and faster, and charging in the home to also be a bit quicker.

It will happen, but we aren't going to be there next month, or maybe even not next year. Things should get better as time goes on, but just because a lot of people WANT our highways full of 100% EV's doesn't mean it is ready to happen now or in the very near future. This is a big transition, it will take time.

Why are people so short sighted? Why do people always look at how it impacts them right now? Don't people realize this is going to be a process? If a person doesn't have a proper place to charge their cars at home then why are they buying them in the first place?

This study makes no sense to me, you have to have a vision of the future. And clearly trying to show how fast it takes to fill up a person's car is not and shouldn't be the point. Having a electric car requires planning and it seems the people who turned in their car was not able to do a great job of planning.

The systems will be put in place to make owning a electric vehicle not a problem.
 

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I'm surprised the percentage of people going back to ICE-powered vehicles isn't greater. I suspect that even a greater percentage of people would like to go back to iCEs but just haven't gotten around to it. But, then this is California after all.


... Even with the faster charging, a Chevy Volt he tested still needed nearly six hours to top its range back up to 300 miles from nearly empty ...
From empty to full, no Chevy Volt I know of has a 300-mile range on electric alone.
 

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Why are people so short sighted? Why do people always look at how it impacts them right now? Don't people realize this is going to be a process? If a person doesn't have a proper place to charge their cars at home then why are they buying them in the first place?

This study makes no sense to me, you have to have a vision of the future. And clearly trying to show how fast it takes to fill up a person's car is not and shouldn't be the point. Having a electric car requires planning and it seems the people who turned in their car was not able to do a great job of planning.

The systems will be put in place to make owning a electric vehicle not a problem.
#1 80% stayed EV and most of the 20% had ONLY 120V "slow charge" access as in they bought a car and will NOT spend the money for charging infrastructure and assumed there driving usage is LESS then it is OR that public charging is better then it is in there area
public charging is NOT a replacement for HOME charging and not seen as such by planners

every "new tech" has early adopters and followers that do NOT understand what they bought into
 

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I'm surprised the percentage of people going back to ICE-powered vehicles isn't greater. I suspect that even a greater percentage of people would like to go back to iCEs but just haven't gotten around to it. But, then this is California after all.


From empty to full, no Chevy Volt I know of has a 300-mile range on electric alone.
as for percentages I am not as EV's are awesome when they fit your usage style and VERY FEW people actually drive beyond the EV range of modern EVS but are AWFUL if you DO NOT spend for level 2 home charging AND have a usage cycle that fits in the range envelope
 

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#1 80% stayed EV and most of the 20% had ONLY 120V "slow charge" access as in they bought a car and will NOT spend the money for charging infrastructure and assumed there driving usage is LESS then it is OR that public charging is better then it is in there area
public charging is NOT a replacement for HOME charging and not seen as such by planners

every "new tech" has early adopters and followers that do NOT understand what they bought into
I would definitely agree with this!
 

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as for percentages I am not as EV's are awesome when they fit your usage style and VERY FEW people actually drive beyond the EV range of modern EVS but are AWFUL if you DO NOT spend for level 2 home charging AND have a usage cycle that fits in the range envelope
If you buy a electric car then why aren't you buying a better charger to put in your home?

Not you just asking in general
 

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People are short sighted and don't considered all the variables when deciding to purchase an electric car. I don't know the percentages of people in California who have their own garage but millions do not. You need to take that into consideration to be able to enjoy the electric car experience.
 

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I'm old enough to remember people, that never had an EV, tell me the reality that I lived was wrong...........

As I have said for a long-time, I'll be wrong about EV when I'm wrong................

"When they "make sense" they will "make sense" until then, they don't.

"Overnight, we're looking at 36 miles of range"

I remember the first night, when I brought my Volt home, since it was only partially charged when I picked it up, by the time I got home, it was completely dead, running on ICE. Anyway, I wanted to put a better outlet in the garage, so I ran up to Home Depot, and for whatever reason, I was having trouble getting the wires on the outlet right, I finally got it and plugged in the car about 9:30pm when I looked at the app it said it was projected to be fully charged by 11:30am I'm thinking to myself, "11:30 what the hell did I just do!"

Why are people so short sighted? Why do people always look at how it impacts them right now? Don't people realize this is going to be a process? If a person doesn't have a proper place to charge their cars at home then why are they buying them in the first place?

This study makes no sense to me, you have to have a vision of the future. And clearly trying to show how fast it takes to fill up a person's car is not and shouldn't be the point. Having a electric car requires planning and it seems the people who turned in their car was not able to do a great job of planning.

The systems will be put in place to make owning a electric vehicle not a problem.
Because we can't live in the future, we have to live in the here-and-now.

If you got cancer, would it be OK to say, "don't worry about it, we will probably cure that someday in the future".

I'm surprised the percentage of people going back to ICE-powered vehicles isn't greater. I suspect that even a greater percentage of people would like to go back to iCEs but just haven't gotten around to it. But, then this is California after all.
California has insanely high gas prices and lots of incentives for EV's......... People will do all sorts of crazy things, if someone pays them to do it.
 

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Then why are you buying a electric car?
People don't think things through. I assume most people don't understand the shortcomings of the electric vehicles that are available today and make decisions on the glitzy marketing. If I try to separate what I've read on GMI vs. just what I'd see "on the street", I don't think I'd have a clue that 3rd party chargers cost a fortune and charging on a regular home plug will take forever. Pretty big "oops"!

Side note, I was thinking through the high electric rates using the 3rd party chargers - in CT there is a commercial electric rate and a residential one (which I assume is the same for all states), I believer the commercial rate is a lot more $$, I bet that is part of the higher amount charged at a 3rd party charging station.
 
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