The Bolt EV Photo by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner

The disconnect between EV expectations and reality

Jan. 10, 2017
The gap in expectations EVs must cross

Vehicle propulsion via electricity remains standing on some pretty strong legs in both the car and heavy truck world (just ask Max Fuller at U.S. Xpress).

Though many everyday motorists and commercial fleets still harbor reservations about the practicality of electric vehicles (EVs) in the real world – especially when it comes to sticker prices – many simultaneously feel a certain kind of “inevitability” is developing around them, too; that they’ll most likely be owning one at some point in the years ahead.

At least, that’s the feeling Robert Bosch LLC took away from a recent survey it conducted on the subject with 1,000 U.S. based new car buyers, aged 18 and older, who purchased/leased at least one vehicle within the last five model years, and intend to purchase/lease a new vehicle again.

Here’s the thing, though: Bosch’s poll also found a growing “disconnect” between the expectations consumers maintain regarding the capabilities of EVs and what such vehicles can actually deliver – especially when it comes to range.

Chew on these initial findings from this poll first:

  • 62% of new car buyers believe they will own at least one full-electric vehicle in their household within 10 years or less.
  • Of those who anticipate having a full-electric vehicle in their household at any point in their lifetime, 71% believe all of their household vehicles will be full-electric vehicles within 15 years.
  • Further, 62% of new car buyers would be interested in purchasing a full-electric vehicle at an additional cost of $10,000 (after tax credits) over the same vehicle with a gasoline engine.

    Now read on about the “high expectations” of potential EV buyers that simply don’t match current production-level capabilities of EVs today, particularly in terms of range and time to recharge:

    • Expectation: New car buyers think today’s full-electric vehicles travel approximately 300 miles on a single charge.
    • Reality: Today’s full-electric vehicles travel less than 200 miles on a single charge.
    • Expectation: New car buyers want full-electric vehicles to travel approximately 400 miles on a single charge.
    • Reality: Today’s full-electric vehicles travel less than 200 miles on a single charge.
    • Expectation: New car buyers expect it takes eight hours to fully charge an electric vehicle from a standard household outlet
    • Reality: It takes eight-22 hours to fully charge an electric vehicle from a standard 110-volt household outlet.

    That’s a pretty big gap for vehicle makers to fill in, one would think. As an addendum, Bosch compiled a list of “top purchase criteria” when it comes to EVs, ranked in order:

    • Reliability
    • Distance between re-charging stops
    • Time required for re-charging
    • New vehicle purchase price
    • Cost of repair/maintenance
    • Cost to re-fuel
    • Cost of insurance

    We’ll see how OEMs address those issues as the next-generation of EVs rolls out onto our roadways and streets.

    About the Author

    Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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