Forget the One Percent, Opinions on the 3.1 Percent…

I’m not writing to defend the “One Percent”, but to question the “3.1 Percent.” (I’ve been ornery lately, several “Soap Box” posts for the past week. Must be the Summer…)

Several weeks ago there have been various tweets and write-ups regarding one of the latest findings from Pluginsights Managing Director and current Guinness World Record Holder for longest EV drive (non solar), Norman Hajjar.

Per articles reported on and on May 23rd, and even one on CleanTechnica today, 96.9% of EV and PHEV drivers would buy an EV or PHEV again. The number that would return to an internal combustion engine was 1.9%. So, the question to me is not the 96.9%, but the 3.1%, and by extension the 1.9%, what the heck?

On Twitter –

I’ve replied to one of the tweets, with questioning why the 3.1% still have drivers licenses.

After driving an EV or PHEV, why is the number that would go back to a conventional ICE vehicle so high? The only thing I can think of is insanity, and I believe that the privilege to have a drivers license requires one to pass certain tests and I would hope that sanity is one of those measures.

So, an explanation, albeit a facetious one, for this dissatisfied group could be insanity.

If they’re not insane, perhaps another reason would be these people purchased or leased vehicles that were “oversold” to them by their various “independent” dealers. Perhaps at purchase, the dealers promised the customer that the vehicle recharges in 10% of the time that it actually takes to charge the car. Perhaps the purchaser did not understand that batteries degrade and that weather affects it. Aside from Tesla, which does not have dealers, all the other car manufacturers sell through dealers. There have been numerous articles on the failures of these same dealers in understanding the basic functions of their vehicles. Even the Federal Trade Commission supports Tesla and its direct sales model.

Another guess on why people might move off EVs might be because they really would prefer to drive all eletric between 100-200 miles and don’t want to buy a Tesla (or Model S based Electric Mercedes B-Class or Toyota RAV4EV 2nd Generation) and perhaps move to an ICE car in the short-run until the 100-200 mile vehicle is available. Now, this is not quite insane, just illogical. Some solutions others have done include getting a lower range 80-100 mile EV for daily use and then an ICE rental car for when they need to travel further than the range that their EV can travel. Now this is a solution that requires a little bit more dedication, but should work with most.

Additionally, it would seem that it is exactly this group that PHEVs have gained greater acceptance, after all, if we look at PHEVs as transitional vehicles, when used properly, it truly does enable the owners to travel on electric most of the time. There was even a report of a particular individual traveling over 80 miles on EV mode in a Chevy Volt. Now, this is NOT the norm, but kudos to them. The BMW i3 with REX can go 72 miles on electric before switching on the gasoline engine to get a few more miles.

Some might point out that am I being a BMW “Homer” or “Fanboy” in picking the 60 mile limit since the BMW i3 with REX with its 72 mile all electric range is the only existing PHEV that satisfies the limit I propose. Perhaps, however, as I’ve explained earlier, I am compromising a bit in that the stretch here is a 50% bump above the purported 40 mile average American commute figure that is often used as the basis for the glut in pure EVs at the 70-100 mile range.

Perhaps you have ideas on why the 3.1 percent exist? I’m tapped out.

[ADDED 2014-06-03 7:15 AM Pacific Time]

A fellow EV supporter (whose permission to use his comments) on Google Plus commented on my cross-post over there with the following very good point –

Case in point: There is a user on the [Full Electric] forums that leased a [Full Electric] and hates it. Every time they post its about how [Full Electric] aren’t for everyone, have sucky range, have no room, etc. They live in an apartment complex which won’t let them install a Level 2 charger and thus have to find ways of charging at public stations every day. Seems to me that would lead someone to not get a plugin car again!

[All great points, I wonder how the lessors of this [Full Electric] were convinced to get the car to begin with. Why did they feel empowered enough to do it without researching charging options in their housing location. This just stresses the need to provide support for folks in multi-unit/family locations with EV charging. There are efforts and laws either proposed or passed that allows people to do this. That’s another Soap Box for the future.]