Home-based, rather than public, chargers are key to increasing electric vehicles' popularity

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

A Simon Fraser University Faculty of Environment researcher says a new study he conducted with graduate students has important implications for governments with limited budgets to support the electric vehicle market.

Jonn Axsen, an SFU School of Resource and Environmental Management professor, has co-authored a study that finds accessibility to home-based vehicle charging could do more to boost the popularity of electrical vehicles than public chargers.

Working with his graduate students Joseph Bailey, the study's lead author, and Amy Miele, Axsen found that awareness of public chargers has little impact on consumers' interest in electrical vehicles.

The peer reviewed journal Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment has published the trio's findings in their article in Is awareness of public charging associated with consumer interest in plug-in ?

The researchers recently presented their study to the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.

"When we account for the relevant factors, our analysis suggests that the relationship between public charger awareness and plug-in electric vehicle demand is weak or non-existent," says Axsen. "In other words, the installation of public chargers might not be the best way to encourage growth in the electric vehicle market.

"This finding is particularly relevant for British Columbia, which recently announced that it will revive the Clean Energy Vehicle Program, a program that supports the adoption of vehicles powered by electricity and other alternative fuels. The provincial government has yet to announce how renewal funds will be spent."

The study collected information from a representative sample of 1739 new vehicle buying households in Canada, with 536 from British Columbia. Respondents were asked about awareness of public charging in their region, and about their overall interest in purchasing a plug-in electric vehicle, such as a Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf.

The data showed that British Columbia's Clean Energy Vehicle program—which installed almost 500 public chargers when the survey was conducted in 2013—was largely successful in increasing charger awareness. Almost one-third of British Columbian respondents had seen at least one public charger, compared to only 13 per cent of respondents in the rest of Canada.

However, that awareness didn't necessarily translate into increased plug-in electric vehicle interest.

The study found that future buyers are far more likely to be attracted to plug-in hybrid vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt, which can be powered by both gasoline and electricity. "Since cars such as the Chevy Volt don't rely only on electricity, potential buyers aren't concerned about public charging," says Bailey. "People can just recharge at home, and then drive wherever they want on any given day. The good news is that about two-thirds of car buyers already have some type of charging access at home."

"Given what we've seen here, it seems wise for governments to focus their money on incentives other than public electric vehicle chargers," says Axsen. "We know that purchase rebates can spark consumer interest, and we've shown that home charging is important. In combination with the implementation of a Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate like California's, these measures could be the biggest boosters of electric vehicle sales."


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More information: "Is awareness of public charging associated with consumer interest in plug-in electric vehicles?", Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Volume 36, May 2015, Pages 1-9, ISSN 1361-9209, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2015.02.001.
Citation: Home-based, rather than public, chargers are key to increasing electric vehicles' popularity (2015, March 12) retrieved 20 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-home-based-chargers-key-electric-vehicles.html
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Mar 12, 2015
Yes, Home charging is the best and lowest cost . That is unless you have a Tesla with FREE Super Charging all across the USA.

Mar 12, 2015
I like the idea of a Leaf but it requires 20 hours to recharge using a 120VAC, 20A extension cord.

Mar 12, 2015
@ryggesogn2: 9 out of 10 countries in the world uses 220/230VAC grid.

Mar 12, 2015
@ryggesogn2: 9 out of 10 countries in the world uses 220/230VAC grid.


So?

I'm not going to move to another country to charge an electric car.


Mar 12, 2015
Electric vehicles are enormously limited by the need for a home charger. I live two miles from work, but often need to drive to clients. But I live in an apartment. Home charging is not an option. So an electric vehicle is not an option. I see them on the road and know that they are most usually just unnecessary second vehicles to the very well-heeled. It is unfortunate that this invention meant the be "green" is often just unnecessary "jewelry" for those who can afford gasoline at any price.

Mar 12, 2015
unnecessary "jewelry" for those who can afford gasoline at any price.


And this is how new technology becomes commoditized.

Only the rich can afford the new stuff. Let them pay for NRE and product refinement and after a few years, everyone will be able to afford the new and improved.

But now the govt believes they should use plundered wealth to do what the rich used to do for us for free.

Mar 12, 2015
@ryggesogn2:

@ryggesogn2: 9 out of 10 countries in the world uses 220/230VAC grid.


So?

I'm not going to move to another country to charge an electric car.


Do you think you're the center of the world and that car builders have to think just of you when they design a new car?

Mar 13, 2015
Do you think you're the center of the world


Yes. It's called market share.

Mar 13, 2015
that finds accessibility to home-based vehicle charging could do more to boost the popularity of electrical vehicles than public chargers.

I guess this is highly dependent on what country you do such surveys in. Many European countries people live in cities with no fixed parking space for their car. In that case home chargers make very little sense.

Public chargingstations are not a solution, either (unless they are trulky ubiquitous - which I don't see happening). We need a method to fast-charge cars at 'filling stations'. Failingthat: automatic battery exchange stations like the one championed by Tesla.

Mar 13, 2015
Do you think you're the center of the world


Yes. It's called market share.

Ok, you're one. What's your market share?

Mar 13, 2015
Edison invented the electric lamp in the USA and an electric grid emerged to power the electric lamp.
~100 Volts was the best voltage for the early lamps and when AC beat out DC for transmission, 60 Hz was chosen.
All subsequent household electrical systems were designed around 120VAC.

Most houses can support 240VAC, 200 A service, but not all and not everyone has 240VAC service in the garage, IF they have a garage or even a place to park near the house.

Electric vehicles need to adapt to the infrastructure if they want people to buy them.

Mar 13, 2015
If you have the money to buy an electric car you have the money to hire an electrician to install a 220v outlet in your garage. Virtually every electric clothes dryer uses 220v as does all electric baseboard heat.

Mar 13, 2015
If you have the money to buy an electric car you have the money to hire an electrician to install a 220v outlet in your garage. Virtually every electric clothes dryer uses 220v as does all electric baseboard heat.

And then you might like a garage to put the charger in instead of running heavy cables out to the car and protect the charger from rain.

The watermelons want to force everyone to abandon the 'burbs, move in to cities so they don't have to drive. And if they want a car, must pay dearly for parking.

I like the Leaf, but it won't charge over night while plugged into a 120VAC extension cord.


cjn
Mar 13, 2015
I'd be curious to know if the infrastructure which supports electricity production and distribution could support a large-scale shift to electric vehicles. Our provider is already offering large incentives to reduce residential consumption, and haven't built a new power plant in many years.

Mayday has a good point. While my commute to my place of business is ~8 mi, I often have to travel 100-200 mi in a day once or twice a week. While there might be public chargers on the way, there are unlikely to be any/enough at my destination to be able to rely on an all electric car. Gas/electric vehicles like the Volt are more viable, but not economical enough right now. Maybe in a few years battery or fuel cell technologies will be mature enough to be suitable and affordable.

Mar 14, 2015
This is why EverCharge exists, to bring charging home to EV drivers who live in condominiums and apartments. Its easy for single family homes to setup charging but in multi-tenant buildings there are additional challenges. EverCharge.net exists to change this and overcome the challenges and issues with public charging in these buildings. Without reliable charging in your dedicated parking space EVs simply won't catch on in the areas their intended.

Mar 15, 2015
Public chargingstations are not a solution, either (unless they are trulky ubiquitous - which I don't see happening).


In the nordics, every residential and enterprise parking lot has 220V 10A outlet for every car because people have engine block heaters and fans inside the car to thaw them before they need to drive. Otherwise the engines would wear out a lot faster and spew pollution/waste fuel.

The real issue is on the supply and distribution side. The parking fields are typically on a staggered clock with 10-15 minutes of power per outlet every 30 minutes to reduce the current drain, because the utility has to size the entire distribution grid based on the maximum possible load. The cost goes up with the capacity.

This is also one of the costs they don't mention when it comes to electric cars. You pay more per month for the service, and up front, when you have them install higher amperage breakers to have that high current charging outlet in your garage.


Mar 15, 2015
Battery designs that don't destroy the planet would be a good start.

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