EV Owners Reveal Why They Returned to Gas-Powered Cars
A ton of EV early adopters are selling their electric cars and going back to gas-powered. A recent study in the Journal Nature puzzled over why nearly one in eveyr five early EV drivers were abandoning electric for their next vehicle purchase.
The Journal found that of “early adopters” in California (defined as folks who bought an EV between 2012 and 2018), 20% of PHEV drivers chose a traditional gas car for their next purchase while 18% of full battery EV drivers went back to gas.
The scientists found some interesting patterns, but no conclusive cause. Many folks had been renting their home, so they may have moved to a different region and had less charger access. Others groups trying electric and going back to gas included female drivers, households with fewer vehicles, or households that kept a “less efficient” gasoline vehicle around even after buying an EV.
Reddit user RichB_IV recently asked the following of /r/Cars: “Just wanted to see if anyone on here switched from EV back to Gas car in the past year and why you did that?” The post has racked up 686 comments. Though the reasons these few early-adopters are leaving the electric lifestyle are anecdotal (and very much not a set of peer reviewed data), they still make some excellent points on the current EV offerings and charging network.
One user admitted to switching because of a move: “eGolf to MX5…Why? Because now I work from home so no need for commute any more. Also moved house and no longer have a driveway…If I could somehow get a driveway back I’d probably switch back to an EV.”
Another commenter was seeking an enthusiast car: “Mini Cooper SE -> Mustang Mach-1…Main reason is that EV isn’t as fun to drive.”
A second enthusiast made an interesting point: “I went from a Bolt EV back to a gasoline vehicle. Not because I didn’t like the car, or not because I don’t like EV’s. I had two primary reasons. #1. Cost wise – it just didn’t make sense for me AND #2. as a car enthusiast, it feels like the we’re experiencing the last real hurrah for ICE vehicles and I want to soak it up while I can.”
And an ex-Tesla driver who bought a Cayman S instead agreed, “I figured the door is closing on fun, lightweight, manual sports cars. So I wanted to own one more…”
Sports car enthusiasts were not the only drivers unsatisfied with the current EV offerings. A German driver said the following: “Small compact ev to large Diesel Minivan. We got twins and Minivan sized EVs are too expensive and almost non existent. Also they charge too much at the moment. It was a nice experience the last three years when rates were low but now I wait a bit longer to lease a small commuter again.”
Another theme was Tesla build quality and customer support:
“Picked up a Tesla model x (P90D with ludicrous+). It was quick to about 100 but that was it. The ride was garbage, the ac constantly gave us issues, the overall appearance was not bad compared to some of the others I’ve seen but the door handles were still misaligned. At least the interior was aligned. The range was an absolute joke. We got half of the range it started at full charge. I ended up renting it out on a personal car rental app while it was put up for sale. A month or so later, it sold…I’m not saying I’ll never buy electrical cars again. I will never get involved with another Tesla product again.”
Here’s what another user said: “I went from a Tesla back to gas about 10yrs ago because it was such a POS for the price. But i absolutely could not wait to get back into an electric, just not from Tesla. Thankfully the day is here where there are more options.”
And here’s a third Tesla comment: “Rich Rebuilds was probably the biggest Tesla content creator on YouTube and he switched back to gas because of Tesla’s horrible customer service and right to repair support”
The most upvoted comment laid out the regional differences between charging networks and EV-friendly weather: “A lot of folks in New England have gone from gas to EV back to gas. Why? Snow stormes making having an ev hard…Anywhere it gets really cold and ev will struggle. (sic)”
Later, the same commenter added, “Edit: for those who can’t figure out, the New England region doesn’t have the greatest charge infrastructure and spends chunks of winter with limited electricity during and after snow storms. Some places are better and worse than others (Boston versus Bennington, Nh or another rural area).”
There you have the reasons at least a few individual early adopters cited for trading their EVs back in for a gas car. Obviously, the drivers or Reddit.com/r/Cars are a unique group, and don’t reflect the entire population. But they did give us some food for thought.
Next, find out why some early EV adopters feel ‘duped’ by automakers, or learn more about why early EV adopters are abandoning electric in the video below: