A New Study Suggests Some Consumers Don't Understand the Capabilities of EVs

EVs are more than capable of being daily drivers, but that doesn't stop some folks from being skeptical.
Written by Andrew Kidd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
According to a study from the University of Geneva,
electric cars
are facing a major psychological barrier that
keeps people from buying them
posits that while financial and technological obstacles are no longer much of an issue (some EVs retail for under $30,000 and still have a decent range), market share hasn't increased as a result.

It’s all in our heads

Researchers note that the main factor blocking the wider adoption of electric vehicles comes down to cognitive biases. In other words, it's all in people's heads.
"Until now, initiatives related to the energy transition generally focused on the technological and financial barriers to their realization," said study author Mario Herberz. 
"Psychological factors have been given very little consideration. However, many studies show that individuals do not automatically adopt the behaviors most beneficial for themselves or society, often due to a lack of access to complete information."
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What does that mean?

It means that people don't automatically do what's best because they're still stuck in their old rut of thinking. In this case, that means drivers surveyed by the university research team tended to misconstrue electric vehicles as incompatible with their current needs, such as range capability.
Researchers estimated that this underestimation of capability sits at around 30%, which is "substantial," as they dryly put it.

What can be done about the lack of EV knowledge?

Researchers suggest that education is more important than simply placing a charging station on every corner. "To reassure people, the solution is not only to densify the network of
stations or to increase the size of
, which require scarcer resources such as lithium and cobalt," Herberz said. 
"It is the provision of information adapted to the concrete needs of drivers that will reduce their concern and increase their willingness to adopt an electric vehicle."
Researchers noted that more than 90% of car trips could be completed with electric vehicles with a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles).
According to data analyzed by
, the average round trip to and from work in the U.S. is over 41 miles a day. And with
battery ranges
topping 300 miles for many current electric vehicles on the market, there's no question that electric vehicles are truly capable of meeting a person's needs as a daily driver.

What can EV advocates do?

Instead of relying on improving the performance and range of their electric vehicles, the study concludes that automakers and other public interest groups that want to promote electric vehicles should address psychological factors like range anxiety. Essentially, let the science do the talking.
How will that science hold up to the scrutiny of the many experts with self-awarded certifications from the University of Social Media? Time will tell if consumers will eventually warm up to the idea of electric vehicles for daily use. It's certainly out of our hands for now.
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