electric charging Prius plug-in hybrid close up

More than two-thirds of EV drivers (75%) indicate that the driving experience and technology of EVs is a major reason for going electric, but over half (55%) are concerned about lack of charging infrastructure accessibility.

These findings form part of this years’ Shell Recharge Solutions EV Driver Survey 2022, which claims to be the largest survey of EV drivers in Europe.

The survey also found that 70% of drivers would choose a battery electric vehicle (BEV) over a hybrid due to the environmental benefits, and 55% for the cost benefits, but almost half of EV drivers want to see improved charge point availability.

The survey reveals that EV drivers believe their charging experience is suboptimal, demonstrated by a perceived lack of chargers and the inability to access those chargers. According to EV drivers, the most important driver for mass EV adoption would be improved battery range, followed by lower initial purchase costs of an electric vehicle and better charge point availability. In addition, only a third of respondents say highway chargers are meeting the charging speeds they need, a figure that lowers to one-in-five for retail and hospitality locations.

Over half of EV drivers now carry four or more cards to access public charging infrastructure, an increase of 21% from last year. Regardless of how many cards EV drivers currently use, interoperability is a major draw: overall, more than half of our respondents are willing to pay an additional amount for access to all charging infrastructure with just one card.

As EV adoption and range increase, the issue of the number of charge-cards is even more significant for the 40% EV drivers who have travelled to European countries, with two-in-five reporting they faced challenges with accessing charging while doing so. Furthermore, 65% of drivers would more frequently visit destination locations based on the availability of charging, where over half (54%) of drivers say the availability of charge points influences where they shop and travel.

Lowering the total cost of ownership is a key driver for EV adoption, however 68% of EV drivers worry about the impact of rising electricity prices. Over two-third (72%) of EV drivers are expecting mass adoption of EVs will lower purchasing and ownership costs.

This year, almost half (47%) of respondents said that lowering purchasing costs is a top-3 way of encouraging EV adoption, up 10% from 2021. Cost is also the second-biggest influence on choice of home charge point, after ease of use.

Widespread adoption of EVs is essential in tackling climate change, according to nearly three-quarters of EV drivers. To get to this level of EV adoption, charging smart could be of importance. Almost 60% of EV drivers believe that smart charging would be a good way to encourage more people to drive EVs.

The number-one reason for going electric was environmental impact, though this is down to 35% from 38% in last year’s survey. The trend that EV drivers expect their next vehicle to be a BEV has deepened considerably this year, with three-quarters planning on buying a BEV as their next vehicle, up from 62% last year. The proportion of those thinking of going back to traditional combustion engine vehicles has halved from four to two per cent.

Over half of drivers confirm they are willing to accept slower charging if this would support usage of renewable energy, with 40% willing to drive further for a public charge point if it charges with renewable energy. Additionally, the survey revealed that almost one-third of drivers urgently want integration of EV charging with at-home renewables, demonstrating that sustainable energy use for charging is a key demand for EV drivers.

Melanie Lane, CEO of Shell Recharge Solutions Europe, said: “The industry needs to understand the challenges of EV drivers in order to facilitate mass adoption and that’s why the findings of our survey are critical. It’s clear that there is a growing passion for EVs, where drivers are motivated by technology, cost, and sustainability, but it’s also evident that the lack of a good user experience remains a key barrier to mass adoption. To continue momentum and encourage further EV adoption, these issues must be addressed. Drivers should feel they have access to sufficient charge points with a convenient, seamless and reliable charging experience. By focusing on improving the user experience, we are choosing to listen to drivers, and we are encouraging the industry to join us.”

The Shell Recharge Solutions EV Drivers Survey 2022 is an annual survey based on an online questionnaire on electric driving and charging. In the latest survey 14,991 current EV drivers in five markets: UK (2,853 participated), France (1,587), Germany (6,272), Netherlands (4,145), and Belgium (134).