Charging misconceptions slowing electric-battery car adoption in BC: survey

Oct 3 2019, 2:34 pm

A new survey by BC Hydro on electric-battery vehicle charging habits and conceptions suggests more educational awareness is required over the real practicalities of charging.

According to the electric utility’s findings, 69% of conventional-fuel vehicle owners are concerned about the availability of public charging as the main reason that they are hesitant to switch to an electric-battery vehicle.

But this counters with the survey’s finding that 60% of electric-battery vehicle owners are charging most often at home or at work, and only 10% charging at a public charging station daily, with about half using a public station less than four times a month.

This suggests non-electric-battery vehicle owners’ longstanding fuelling habits at gas stations may lead them to think public charging stations are often necessary.

Furthermore, 24% of non-electric-battery vehicle owners are hesitant to make the switch because of the increase in electricity use from charging at home.

However, the fuelling costs of an electric-battery vehicle are far lower than a gas-powered vehicle; for instance, charging a Nissan Leaf at home daily costs an estimated $20 per month, while a Honda Civic’s gas costs are about $170 per month on average.

“Despite high EV adoption numbers, misconceptions about electric-battery vehicles still exist amongst British Columbians, and some of the most common are around charging,” reads the report.

“With fuelling a vehicle at a gas station being second nature for many having built the habit since they first began driving, the process and requirements for charging an EV are unfamiliar.”

BC Hydro is also encouraging more municipalities to adopt building regulations that require vehicle parking stalls to be equipped or at least fully ready for charging infrastructure. About a quarter of electric-battery vehicle drivers said they have not installed a Level 2 charger in their condominium, apartment, or townhouse because there is no place for installation.

The electric utility says significant provincial rebates exist for the purchase of Level 2 chargers for single-family homes, condominiums, apartments, and office buildings. Level 2 chargers can provide a full charge in about six to eight hours.

Although there are some misconceptions, BC still has one of the highest rates of electric-battery vehicle adoption in the country. Currently, there are about 26,000 electric-battery vehicles in the province, and this figure is projected to rise to nearly 400,000 by 2030.

Last year, the provincial government passed the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act (ZEVA), which requires all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in the province to be clean energy vehicle models by 2040.