• Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

Electric vehicles are developing so rapidly, data on their use could be obsolete


Feb 22, 2021

A study that seeks to address how often the average American uses their electric vehicle was published by a group of economists this week. Although it indicates that people drive electric cars for fewer miles compared to the gas-powered vehicles, the findings do not represent the rapidly evolving landscape of electric vehicles.

California, where nearly half of United States electric car users live, tests consumption by gathering relevant information from drivers who want to implement a special smart meter, which costs a cool $10,000 to around $15,000. You can assume that this data does not represent the average United States household, stated Fiona Burlig, an economist at the University of Chicago and is one of the co-authors of the National Bureau of Economic Research analysis. Burlig as well as a team wanted to try to use an entire host of data to have a charging sample to address this issue that was more reflective of how ordinary Americans would use their electric cars.

Utilizing PG&E service types, DMV registrations, statistics from the public charging ports, energy usage data from various car models, as well as smart meter data from before as well as after an Electric vehicle arrived at home, they built an intricate comparison framework to try and extrapolate exactly how many ordinary people were charging their automobiles at home. All in all, Burlig stated, data from 350,000 different electricity meters, including about 64,000 electric vehicles, were collected by the study.

The results were surprising: It seemed like the owners of electric vehicles really didn’t use their cars that much.  The study showed that electric vehicles traveled “significantly lower” distances compared to the gas-powered cars in the same regions at an annual rate of only 5,300 miles (8,530 kilometers) as well as utilized not more than half of the energy required by state regulators because of this shortened usage period. To ascertain why this number was so poor, the authors stated more work is required, but hypothesized that range insecurity, the fear that the car would run out of the juice on the road, and that owners of the electric vehicles owning multiple cars might play a role.

But electric cars are probably evolving at such a fast rate that studies such as this make it almost pointless to derive driver data. For several electric vehicle boosters, a major point of concern is that the study focuses only on data around 2014 to 2017, “before the launch of viable longer-range electric cars,” stated Max Baumhefner, who works at the NRDC as a senior attorney. (You may just have learned of the Model 3 from Tesla, which smashed a whole lot of EV sales records as well as only arrived on the market in the year 2018.)