for publication 22 August 2017
Electric vehicle owners prefer charging at home to filling up at a petrol station
Despite being a shift from a decades-old tradition of ‘filling up at the petrol station’, over 92% of electric vehicle owners now prefer to charge-up at home. Most of the remaining 8% consider charging at home as the same amount of effort as going to a petrol station. This is the finding of the latest poll by Flip the Fleet, a citizen science collaboration of New Zealand electric vehicle owners that have signed up to share data from their cars’ dashboards each month.
The poll found that EV drivers find home charging fast, reliable, clean and easily integrated into their daily routines – significantly different from a common perception that own electric vehicles are a hassle to keep ‘topped-up’.
Respondents put it these ways: “Busy life, don’t want detours, but one always drives home!” Another said “The whole act of filling up is so time consuming – getting into the car, driving to the station, filling up, paying… it’s like the old days of having to go to the Post Office to make a telephone call”.
Home charging quickly becomes a habit, and refuelling your EV integrates seamlessly into your daily routines. “It’s just as easy as charging my phone each night”. “It just becomes a way of life to plug in most nights”. Other respondents to the survey said: “It charges automatically while we sleep”.
Sigurd Magnusson, from the Wellington EV Owners Group, is a contributor to the Flip the Fleet project that conducted this month’s survey. He says that “EV owners particularly enjoy not having to interrupt their drive home or make a special trip to a petrol station. The lack of fumes and hazardous substances makes refuelling with electricity a more pleasant experience. Nor do they have to dig around for a discount voucher or credit card – home-charging means you just get one automatic bill at the end of the month – which, in a way, is interest-free credit for up to a month! There are no snacks to tempt the kids, no waiting for a bowser, and no queues of people getting coffees – making the whole process take 15 seconds rather than 15 minutes. And that means 15 minutes more to do what you enjoy”.
Apart from being more convenient, home charging also helps EV owners to significantly reduce their family’s transport costs. Thirty-five percent of 310 electric vehicles being monitored by Flip the Fleet use a timer to charge between 11 pm and 7am when the price of electricity is much lower. “That’s also better for New Zealand – we need to reduce electricity demand in the morning and evening peak periods if we are to reduce the amount of coal and gas used to make electricity” said Magnusson. Many EV owners also have solar panels at home, so home charging gives them even cheaper travel.
Forty percent of users charge their cars using standard (8 amp) household plugs. Slightly more (43%) have installed higher capacity (15 & 16 amp) plugs, mostly ‘Commando’ caravan plugs, at home to enable faster charging. The remaining 17% have opted for the more convenient and usually faster option of building in a wall-mounted specialised charging equipment in their garage. Many owners carry both an 8 amp and 16 amp charging lead in their boot as extra insurance, or to top-up their battery when visiting far away friends.
“It’s all pretty hassle free and reliable” says Magnusson.
Flip the Fleet is a citizen science project that provides scientifically reliable information on the benefits and constraints of electric vehicles in New Zealand. The project is partly funded by MBIE’s Curious Minds portfolio, through Otago Museum. Participation is free and all New Zealand’s electric vehicle owners can enrol at www.flipthefleet.org.
A full record of the respondents’ comments and more detailed analysis is available at http://flipthefleet.org/2017/convenience-home-charging-compared-filling-petrol-1-click-survey-10/
The Flip the Fleet project is described at: www.flipthefleet.org
Contacts for more statements:
Flip the Fleet has members spread throughout New Zealand. We list some of the local contributors below in case you want to get a local perspective for your story. Please ring 027 2268688 or Email email@example.com so we can put you in touch, or, find a local member to speak to you.
Northland: Joe Camuso
Waikato: Justin Boyd
Manawatu: Andrew Hill
Wellington: Donald Love
Nelson: Yuki Fukuda
Christchurch: Mark Nixon
Timaru: Martin Kane
Dunedin: Alan Wilden, or, Pam McKinlay
Wanaka: Morgan Knoesen