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Mythbusting EVs

Mythbusting the world of EVs: are people turning back to petrol?

Do people really go back to combustion engines after living with an EV?

Published: 26 Mar 2024

MYTH: PEOPLE ARE TURNING BACK TO PETROL

As bank holiday traffic builds up, so do panic stories about queues at rapid chargers. Then of course there’s all the noise around high electricity prices, making your EV as dear per mile as a petrol car if you have to rely on public charging. Combine these two things and you hear high profile tales of people giving up on their EVs and going back to petrol, or at least to PHEVs.

Let’s see if this goes beyond anecdote into a real trend. In the US, it perhaps does.

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A study by S&P Global mobility found that while EV loyalty has risen over time it’s still not that high. Around half of non-Tesla households are buying a combustion car next. (Tesla households were more loyal to EVs at 75 per cent.) But hang on: this is American data, where charging is less available, petrol cheaper and households have more cars. So some of those newly bought petrols might just be replacements for other petrol cars on the drive and they might be keeping the EV as well.

In the UK, a survey of 1,619 EV drivers in Britain conducted by the Electric Vehicle Association (maybe it has an agenda but the data is real) found that 91 per cent of respondents with a driveway wouldn’t go back to combustion, and even 88 per cent of those who have no driveway – and so overwhelmingly have to public charge – also said they wouldn’t go back. Overall, it’s 91 per cent wouldn’t go back, six per cent don’t know and just four per cent definitely would go back. 

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