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EV adoption – less about tech, more about human behaviour

Dec 14, 2023 | Blogs

It’s widely accepted that the shift to electric vehicles is a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.

But one of the biggest challenges to greater EV adoption is people’s mindsets – because buying an EV involves being open to change.

A 2020 report commissioned by the Department of Transport found that five objectives generally need to be met before someone takes the plunge and buys an EV.

Along with the obvious ones like affordability and adequate charging infrastructure, another was “Consumer Attitudes” – in other words, making owning an EV feel desirable, and something you can imagine yourself doing.

That’s the challenging part – because many of us don’t like change. Even if it’s ultimately good for us, it can be daunting or even a bit scary. And one of the biggest differences between being the driver of an EV and a petrol or diesel car is the need to develop new habits and practices around charging. That required shift in behaviour becomes much greater if someone can’t charge their EV at home.

Rather than nipping into a filling station to quickly refuel, factoring in the need to charge away from home requires forward thinking. It’s a bit like planning your food intake for the day – do you wait until your battery is almost drained before stopping for a ‘binge charge’? Or is the ‘little and often’ snacking approach better? And does it really matter? (Actually, as most EVs use lithium-ion batteries, keeping your battery regularly charged to somewhere between 20% and 80% can help extend its lifespan.)

The number of public EV charging points is growing, but there’s no denying there can sometimes still be a wait at the more popular locations. And not all chargers are rapid, so some will require more time out of your day than others. Factoring this in can be a challenge, especially for people juggling already busy lives.

A recent report by AutoTrader found that the majority of EV marketing currently focuses on technology – something only 12% of women care about when buying a car. They claim more focus should be put on safety, an area prioritised by 65% of female drivers. Women are also less likely than men to feel safe when charging their car in a public place – especially as some stations are located in isolated, poorly lit areas.

Things can only get better

The good news is that public EV charging infrastructure is getting better every day. The more chargers that appear in convenient and safe places, and the faster those chargers are, the less drivers will need to think about charging as another planned task.

Instead, they’ll be able to top up as part of a normal daily routine: while at work, at the supermarket, coffee shop or the gym.

Using the simple rule of supply and demand, the more people use this kind of ‘destination’ charging, the more likely a business’s competitors are to invest in charging infrastructure to avoid being left behind. For example, Tesco is currently rolling out EV charging at 600 of its stores – and as more of us switch to EVs, can other supermarkets really afford not to follow suit?

And there’s more help at hand when it comes to forward planning. Apps such as ZapMap allow drivers to check the availability and speed of nearby charging stations in real-time.

Retailers may also offer off-peak charging rates to incentivise evening visits, and loyalty points for charging ‘while you shop’.

Building confidence

At FOR:EV, it’s clear to us that the transition to EV is as much about human behaviour as it is about technology.

Building confidence is what we are passionate about. Our charge points use the latest technology to provide a user-friendly, reliable and stress-free charging experience.

We work with a wide spectrum of forward-thinking businesses and organisations across multiple sectors, and are always looking for new partners for whom hassle-free EV charging at their site is a priority.

If you partner with us, you can have confidence that we will take care of everything, from installation to operation and maintenance, at no up-front cost to you – even in remote rural areas.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you.