Over Time, EV Owners Drive More Miles

By · November 12, 2012

Please Plug In

On Friday, I spoke with Colin Read, vice-president for corporate development at Ecotality, the company managing The EV Project. Read was just checking out the latest stats on the 6,300 EV drivers participating in the DOE-sponsored project to understand electric car driving and charging patterns. Among the latest trends that were emerging, Read noticed that EV drivers are traveling more miles as time passes. And they are charging slightly more in public in Q3 2012, than they did just one quarter earlier.

“Either charging is becoming more ubiquitous, or EV drivers are becoming more familiar with where the chargers are located,” said Read. “There’s certainly clear movement, indicated from the EV charger data, for EV drivers to charge less from home, drive further every day, and utilize more commercial away-from-home infrastructure.”

According to preliminary data, a Nissan LEAF owner drives, on average, 30 miles per day. Read said that federal government data indicates that an average driver of an internal combustion gas-powered car drives 28.9 miles per day. So EV drivers are traveling further, on average, than ICE drivers. This casts doubt on the common complaint that electric cars don’t have enough range for everyday needs.

Drivers of the Chevy Volt go even further on an average day—41.2 miles. And even though there’s a gas engine to extend range, Volt owners charge an average of 1.4 times a day-versus LEAF owners who charge, on average, 1.1 times per day.

The latest EV Project data shows that LEAF owners in Q3 did only 67 percent of their charging at home, down 11 percent from the 78 percent of home charging that took place earlier in the year. “Overall, we’re seeing across the board, home charging decrease on a almost quarterly basis, while there is a corresponding increase in commercial charging,” said Read.

It’s too early to talk about trends for DC Quick Charging, with only about 40 units deployed so far. (And again, this is preliminary data. Ecotality will soon publish confirmed data.) But it appears that each of those DC Quick Chargers is being used, on average, about one time a day, and in some places closer to four to five times a day. The Quick Chargers are capable of adding 50 or 60 miles of driving range in less than 30 minutes—a nice service to EV drivers, but only when the units are conveniently located.


· · 5 years ago

Volt owners have to charge more often because our batteries are smaller than the Leaf's. I think Volt owners drive until the battery is dead since we're not planning on using any Gas anyway. And in most locales the refilling juice is cheap. Plus most Ev's are fun to drive. So we dudes drive more than we would if we had to pay for the gas.

· · 5 years ago

"EV drivers are traveling further, on average, than ICE drivers"
I've always believed that the first round of EVs should be designed to suit the 'above' average driver, not the average one. Those who do a lot of driving are more affected by the ill-effects of petroleum (price, pollution, maintenance costs, etc) than average so they are more likely to be more willing to pay the above average costs associated with EVs in their infancy.
I guess the buyers have been going this way even if the marketeers haven't.

· · 5 years ago

In my household we have three cars with two drivers. The Nissan Leaf is our primary car that we share as much as possible in order to maximize our gas free driving. Whoever is driving the most that day gets the Leaf. If it is sitting idle and one of us needs to go somewhere that person takes it. The secondary car is a 2005 Prius and is used for the most part only when the Leaf has been taken out.

If this arrangement is being used by other owners then that might explain the greater and greater usage per day. If two drivers are double teaming one car it will get a higher average use than the average ICEV.

· Frank the Volt Owner (not verified) · 5 years ago

My wife and I fight over who gets to drive the VOLT! The other person is punished by driving an Acura!?!?

· · 5 years ago

"The latest EV Project data shows that LEAF owners in Q3 did only 67 percent of their charging at home"
That data appears suspect to me. Even so, perhaps drivers are charging more at work, but I seriously doubt public charging has increased that much.

· · 5 years ago

Thats awesome. I tend to drive my LEAF more than i did my previous car (Subaru Forester). I charge alot. and average 65-68miles per day average of commuting. Then add a few more miles after I get home for an hour or 2 of L2 charging, im back out running around. My usage would be significantly higher than Ecotality has claimed so far. To bad there is not any way to record the information of EVGo , Sema and Chargepoint data to add to the EVProjects total.

@indyflick - I do all of my charging at home. once in a while Ill take a small stop at a Sema L2 charger on the way home from work or there is a ChargePoint America L2 at a shopping center which is free as well.

Havent had the need to charge away from home...just yet.

· · 5 years ago

How much do these public chargers cost to use? If they're free, then it's a no-brainer why their used more often. If they're $2.40/hr like they are around here, the surge in use will soon die down as drivers get more comfortable with their range.

· · 5 years ago

" I seriously doubt public charging has increased that much."

I have seen an explosion in the number of these around my normal haunts. They are popping up everywhere. Although some of it could just be I am paying more attention?

I don't know the prices everywhere or at all the stations, but the Blink network ones cost from $1 an hour to $2 an hour here - based on your level of Blink membership. There are a couple "free" ones at a grocery store here and there - but I suspect they are paid for by the store as a way to entice customers.

We have a ton that are not Blink, which I have not really looked into yet - as my EV is being built... But I am sure I will learn more as I experiment.

I bet there is a bit of less guilt encourages more driving. Whether it is right or wrong... For example, I loathe having to drive my truck in the city. Right now while waiting for our new car to be built, we are down to just our truck - so we really limit how and where we drive. However, I am sure once we have the car we will have less guilt about popping around in the EV. I bet that behavior is common. Maybe people drive their EV more and more as they feel the "smug" kick in? ;)

· Brian Keez (not verified) · 5 years ago

I drive more. Even though I drove an average 2,000+ miles per month prior to getting my Nissan LEAF, I do take more local trips because the fuel cost is so low. I would try to minimize my driving when I only had a gas-burner by walking more. I don't remember my last walk to the store...... I guess that this is what life was like when gas was $.10/gallon.

· · 5 years ago

Going to the Tesla store in Toronto Ontario Canada thursday. Valkraider this 'explosion' has not occurred in Buffalo nor Toronto as of yet... Only thing remotely nearby is a solitary EATON charger 2 miles away at the Mitsubishi Dealership.. Unsure if this will work with my Tesla Roadster (there's at least 5 brands that do not), Hope someone somewhere has a 110 powerpoint available, what we in the states call 'outlets'

· · 5 years ago

Well, my wife has now discovered the joys of driving electric, so we're sharing the Leaf a lot more, and the gas guzzler (Insight) gets used a lot less. We're not driving any more miles, but many more of them are electric than even a month ago.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

im wife drives our leaf everyday (55 miles) and we havent used the van since we got the Leaf 3 weeks ago.. if you really think about the MPGE of the leaf.. it almost pays itselt monthly..

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