5 Surprising Facts From Ford’s Electric Vehicle Study

Electric Car Charging The Battery
Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images

We know that Tesla owners love their cars and that most electric vehicle drivers have some green reasoning behind their vehicles of choice. To find out what early adopters of pure electric cars and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) thought about their rides, Ford Motor Company commissioned a study from PlugInsights of over 10,000 EV owners.

Some findings (as they appear in Clean Technica) confirm what we suspect about people driving green cars, like the fact most families can only use an all-electric model as a second car. (Some 90% of EV owners also owned a gas vehicle.) Likewise, no one would be surprised to learn that nearly every EV driver was thinking about the environment on some level when they bought their cars.

Then again, the survey yielded many surprises. Here were the five most revealing points EV and PHEV owners made about their cars.

1. Driving experience was a top EV selling point.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Do you get tired of (or roll your eyes at) reviews of EVs that marvel at the instant torque and smooth acceleration? This response is so common it’s almost unanimous, but it is the reason why so many EV drivers want another electric car. Next to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and clean technology, drivers cited the driving experience as the top reason they would buy another EV in the future. We know Tesla gets rave reviews for its magnificent Model S sedans, but we’re surprised the opinion holds across the board for the segment, even after our experience with the peppy Ford Focus Electric.

2. 94% of PHEV owners plan to buy another plug-in.

2016 Fusion Energi
Source: Ford

By the way some folks frame it, owning a plug-in hybrid should be the kiss of death for drivers. The survey showed the opposite is true. A whopping 94% of plug-in hybrid owners said they would buy another electrified car in the future. Rather than the kiss of death, this information makes a plug-in seem like a gateway drug. Once you get a taste of electric driving, you want more, and the less gas the better. For the record, 92% of pure EV (non-hybrid) owners also said they would buy another EV in the future.

3. PHEV drivers chiefly want to save green.

2015 Nissan LEAF
Source: Nissan

In the Ford survey, drivers of all-electric vehicles loved the benefits to the environment and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that come with driving any gas-free car. Plug-in hybrid owners, for their part, were more attracted to the prospect of saving money on transportation. These findings were curious because of the high markup for some plug-ins on the market (e.g., the Honda Accord PHEV). However, when you take into account how Chevy Volt drivers cover about 80% of trips on electric power, the reasoning makes sense.

4. PHEV owners want to upgrade to pure EVs.

Source: Toyota

Plug-in hybrid owners not only want another EV in the future; the survey found that, of the 94% that would be repeat buyers of a plug-in car, most planned to upgrade to an all-electric model. This finding reinforces the fact that people who get a taste of an EV want more. Likewise, it hints at the potential in cost savings PHEV owners see by ditching gas engines entirely. In addition to never paying for gas again, they don’t have to deal with the various repairs gas engines require and electric motors don’t.

5. 83% of EV drivers use (or would use) solar power to drive.

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

To put an exclamation point on what EV drivers are thinking, the Ford study found that 83% of plug-in vehicle drivers either had solar panels at home or would consider getting them in the quest for true zero-emissions driving. By using solar-generated electricity to run an EV, there are no emissions in the transportation equation. It’s the final frontier for green vehicles, and respondents said it’s very much on their minds.

Source: Ford survey conducted by Pluginsights via Clean Technica

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