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Why Does EV-Phobia Plague Most British Drivers?

Why Does EV-Phobia Plague Most British Drivers?

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.

1. Car-to-X communication will expand a vehicle’s visual field, or “telematic horizon,” helping drivers to avoid accidents as cars notify each other (left) of their relative positions (right).

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.

2. An exterior airbag will help cars decelerate more efficiently (left) and boost crumple zone absorption ability by keeping the car level (right).

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.

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