Why Does EV-Phobia Plague Most British Drivers?


A majority of British drivers feel that there is insufficient infrastructure when it comes to re-charging electric vehicles

The immediate answer to that question could be they are just plain crazy and simply have no regard for the ecological advantages afforded by electric vehicles (EVs). But that’s not it. The reality is that 62% of Britain's drivers believe national infrastructure falls short in supporting EVs. The sense is that recharging, particularly on long journeys, could be haphazard. In fact, over 70% of drivers surveyed said they had never seen a public EV charger.

Well, they’re right. Let's face it, why would you buy a car that’s much more expensive than a petrol/diesel equivalent, yet becomes an inconvenience when it came to finding vacant charging points?

These reactions came from a survey conducted by Censuswide and Rexel, a distributor of electrical products and services for energy applications. Vehicle range anxiety was a common response throughout in the survey. In some regard, this reflects back to concerns about inadequate numbers of recharging facilities.

But what about the environmental issue? If the UK is to meet its agreed-upon carbon reduction target of at least 80% by 2050, the Government wants 1.7 million EVs to be operating on Britain’s roads by 2020 and 6.3 million by 2030.

However, the apparently EV-phobic attitude of drivers isn’t entirely their fault. The UK Government must shoulder some responsibility for not adequately publicizing certain facts about EV ownership.

For instance, the purchase-cost reluctance highlights a lack of awareness of the incentives available from the Government to encourage EV adoption, such as the plug-in car grant. The grant offers UK-based consumers and businesses 25% off the cost of a qualifying ultra-low emission car, up to a maximum of £5,000.

This is, of course, a positive move. Still, driver doubts remain when it comes to a national recharging infrastructure. There may be 3000 public charging points in the UK, but that’s nowhere near enough to meet demand, especially if the Government plans to reach its target of 1.7 million EV owners by 2020. That works out to one charging point for every 567 EVs…not a viable panacea when it comes to curing EV-phobia.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on Jul 22, 2013

A "phobia" is an irrational fear of a situation or object. The key word here is "irrational". The average Englishman's disdain for EV does not appear to be based on irrational fears. The inability to utilise an EV because one cannot find a charging station is not in the least bit irrational. That is confirmed based on the numbers provided in the article itself.

When accusing Englishmen of things like so-called "phobia", please see that you correctly and appropriately use the King's English. We have no phobia against EV - we have a rational concern about the inability to use a very expensive means of transportation.


on Jul 22, 2013

Can someone please point out a real study that shows that any EV or hybrid can actually pay for itself over the lifetime of the vehicle (by owner)? Even if gas/petrol is $6 a gallon, with the high maintenance costs of batteries, etc I fail to see how this kind of a purchase can be anything but a "feel good" purchase. Feeling good isn't good enough. I constantly hear people raving about their Priuses but they cannot give me any numbers to back up the claims that the vehicle is a "wise" purchase and not just a "warm fuzzy" pat-myself-on-the-back-for-being-so-green kind of investment (investment??). I would like to be able to be convinced.

on Jul 22, 2013

A reasonable charging power should be about 50 - 100 kW. If 50000 car owners come home in the evening and plug in their cars for charging within a one hour time frame... . Did anybody calculate how many power stations should be built in order to replace chemical energy stored in gas with chemical energy stored in batteries? And what damage to nature will follow? EV are the first enemy of nature. Where are they going to get that amount of energy from? From the same coal? Or from the sky? Energy from sky is way more expensive and detrimental to nature.

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Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Penton Media's Electronics Division. From his base in London, England, he covers press conferences and industry events throughout the EU for Penton...
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