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Drivers overestimate how many electric cars run out of charge – survey

Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
Nearly all drivers overestimate how often electric cars run out of charge, a new UK survey suggests.

The AA said fewer than 4% of the 13,000 electric vehicle (EV) breakdowns it attended last year were for vehicles with a flat main driving battery.

Only 1% of respondents to its survey of 14,500 drivers correctly estimated how infrequent the problem is.

The average guess was that two thirds of all EV breakdowns are due to a lack of charge.

The AA said it published the results on World EV Day to “help myth-bust a common misconception” about the vehicles.

AA president Edmund King said more drivers are considering switching to electric cars as the UK Government plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel models from 2030, with hybrids prohibited from 2035.

“There are still concerns about the existing charging infrastructure and single charge range,” he commented.

“Likewise, most drivers totally overestimate the percentage of breakdowns due to running out of charge.

“The reality is far better than drivers think, with very few EVs failing to reach a chargepoint.

“In fact, EVs and combustion cars share the same top two reasons for breakdowns which are tyres and the smaller 12-volt battery.

“As more chargepoints, especially rapid chargers, are installed across the country the number of cars failing to reach one will further reduce, providing more confidence to drivers to help them make the switch.”

Meanwhile, a new app has been launched which calculates how much money UK drivers could save if they switch from a petrol or diesel vehicle to an electric model.

It also displays CO2 savings, air quality improvements, and recommendations for which EV would suit their lifestyle.

The free app – named EV8 Switch – is backed by £2.7 million of UK Government funding.

EVs generally cost more to buy than conventionally fuelled cars but are cheaper to run.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This World EV Day, I want to not only provide easy access to the tools that people need to feel confident about making the switch, but also to make sure that chargepoints are accessible, affordable and recognisable.

“That’s why we have already committed £1.3 billion to accelerate the rollout of charging infrastructure up and down the country, and as we look forward to Cop26 and beyond, our vision is that the UK is at the forefront of the zero-emission transport future, creating thousands of green jobs in the process.”

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