Why 20% of Californians are giving up electric cars

After a first experience in an electric car, 20% of Californians are considering a return to thermal.

One of the fastest growing markets for the electric car in the world, California supports the technology. The local ecosystem favors emissions-free car travel and many Californians have taken the plunge. However, 20% of them have abandoned the technology. This is revealed by a recent study conducted by UC Davis among motorists who purchased an electric car or a plug-in hybrid car between 2012 and 2018. The results show that 21% of PHEV owners and 19% of owners of PHEVs electric cars have backed down.

The main cause: recharging

By looking at the answers, it appears that it is not so much the autonomy which pushes to the abandonment of the technology as the recharging, considered as too restrictive by the users. Some people regret not being able to take advantage of a faster recharge at home. Remember that the network is limited to a voltage of 120 V in California, and that it is mainly this Level 1 that is available to individuals. Level 2 (which can be considered our “classic” recharge) relies on 240 V, but is generally only available outdoors.

Among other reasons, the study notes the willingness of households to part with a car. In this case, the electric car is the fuse. And the results are similar for plug-in hybrid vehicles. In addition, there is the impossibility of recharging sufficiently when the owners live in an apartment, the purchase price as well as the cost of using the vehicle. More surprising: the study also indicates that one of the main reasons for abandoning the plug-in hybrid is the fact of being … a woman. No details were given on this, but it would appear that this is a statistical interpretation rather than a real cause linked to gender, as the study notes in its conclusion.

Only a tiny part refuses a return to electric

This study also enabled investigators to find out the satisfaction rate in relation to the brand of the electric car. Not surprisingly, Californians driving Tesla are the least likely to abandon their cars for a thermal vehicle. At the other end of the spectrum, it was the owners of Fiat models who decided to go back to the service stations. Undoubtedly the scars of the first generations of Fiat 500e.

But all is not so dark. Because if one in five drivers is considering a return to thermal, the others are fully satisfied with their electric car or plug-in hybrid. In addition, the study shows that 65% of those who have ditched the electric car (69% in the PHEV category) are likely to buy another one in the coming years. This will require them to be able to find answers to their needs, particularly in terms of charging infrastructure.


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