Story at a glance:

  • Eighteen percent of EV owners go back to gas power, and the number jumps to 20 percent if they are hybrid drivers.
    • Some of the reason boils down to how easy it is to charge the cars.
    • Tesla owners are the least likely EV owners to return to gas-powered cars.

Electric car owners are 18 percent likely to return to gas-powered cars, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of California Davis say that more than 4,000 households who own or previously owned electric vehicles in California went back to gas and diesel cars, Electrek reported.


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Owners were 20 percent more likely to go back to gas-powered cars if they owned a hybrid plug-in car.

Co-authors Scott Hardman and Gil Tal detail owners’ reasons for switching back in the Nature Energy journal.

"Here, on the basis of results from five questionnaire surveys, we find that PEV discontinuance in California occurs at a rate of 20% for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle owners and 18% for battery electric vehicle owners. We show that discontinuance is related to dissatisfaction with the convenience of charging, having other vehicles in the household that are less efficient, not having level 2 (240-volt) charging at home, having fewer household vehicles and not being male."

As the researchers suggested, charging is the biggest hurdle for electric car owners as well as its best perk.

The electric car can receive a "full tank of gas" in less than two hours at home in practice. The problem stems from most homes in California not being optimized for charging the cars. Another problem is not having a parking spot or no parking with access to charging. For those living in apartments, managing an EV can be a challenge.

However, it depends on the type of EV people are willing to abandon. Tesla owners are the least likely to trade back their EVs for gas, but Fiat 500e buyers are much more likely to go back to gas.


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Published on Apr 30, 2021