Do you really know about electric cars?
Sixty-seven percent of Spaniards think electric cars are an ideal way of getting around, but only 5% have ever driven one. We look at why this could be.
Society is increasingly committed to protecting the environment. Concerns about climate change, reflected in the Paris Agreement, are now deeply entrenched in people’s minds. We have become more responsible consumers and are slowly changing our habits as well as how we move about.
According to the latest edition of the report entitled Spanish Mobility Habits (Hábitos de movilidad de los españoles) published periodically by the lease hire company Alphabet, we now use public transport more than a year ago and shared car services have taken off, especially among 18 to 30 year-olds. The most notable growth has been posted by companies such as Emov and Car2Go, and this is no coincidence: their fleets are made up of electric cars. The survey of over 5,000 people across all the country’s autonomous communities revealed that 67% see this type of vehicle as an ideal way of getting around. What is surprising though is that only 5% of those questioned said they had ever been behind the wheel of an electric car.
It is clear that one of the reasons for this preference for vehicles that do not have diesel or petrol engines is the increasing desire to tackle pollutions, especially in cities. The survey found that 62% of Madrilenians are in favour of restricting city centre access for this type of vehicle.
Meanwhile, many environmental experts agree that the Internet and social media have played a massive role in raising environmental awareness. In the case of e-mobility, people are well aware of its benefits through online publications, Facebook and blogs such as this one.
The question we ask ourselves is: what would the percentage be if a lot more people had experienced the sensation of driving an electric car? The present lack of awareness is still considerable, as demonstrated in a recent campaign by the British government, Go Ultra Low, in which the public was asked if an electric car can be put through a car wash: the majority said “no” or “don’t know”. The right answer, logically, is “yes” (otherwise it would not be possible to use them in the rain), although it is perfectly understandable because of people’s fear of mixing electricity and water. Electric vehicles are fully insulated, just like those with a combustion engine.
Another noteworthy finding of the British survey was that around half of those questioned believe a petrol or diesel car accelerates, generally, quicker than a pure electric. This is not the case, since an electric car with the same horse power will always accelerate faster because the maximum torque is immediately transferred to the wheels, while this is not achieved in a combustion-engine vehicle until a certain rpm is reached.
It is evident then that although electric car numbers are growing exponentially in our society, there is still somewhat of a lack of awareness. It therefore makes sense that the more people experience the silence, acceleration, zero emissions and energy saving offered by this type of vehicle, the number of those who see them as a perfect means of transport will rise further.
More people will also come on board when certain matters, which are no longer an issue, are laid to rest, i.e. those relating to charging networks, vehicle ranges and prices. Various studies have shown that 99% of electric vehicle charges are performed using a charging point at home. Current ranges are around 300 kilometres – more than enough for day-to-day use in a city where average journeys tend to be no more than 50 kilometres. Lastly, while electric vehicles presently cost around 25% more on average than equivalent combustion-engine vehicles, their lower running and maintenance costs mean this difference is offset in three to five years.
Having seen this first hand, how can one resist driving an electric car?