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More than 16,000 EV drivers in a Canadian Automobile Association survey “extremely” satisfied; results make the case for more public education, myth-busting about electric vehicles

Ownership breeds contentment.

That’s the takeaway from a new survey of Canadian electric vehicle drivers — the largest-ever conducted, involving 16,232 EV drivers — from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), conducted by PlugShare Research.

“We know EVs are gaining sales, but a lot of people still have questions. We think this research — into the actual experiences of EV drivers in Canada — sheds an important light into where the real pain points are, and where potential buyers can perhaps worry less,” said Ian Jack, vice-president of public affairs for CAA National, in a press release announcing the survey results.

Charging still a concern

Respondents to the survey, held over a three-week period late last year, were asked to rate their various concerns as Canadian EV owners.

“…what this survey shows us is a lot of those myths are just that — myths.”

Kristine D’Arbelles, Senior Director of Public Affairs, Canadian Automobile Association

The top concern, cited by 44 per cent of EV drivers, was availability of public charging — underscoring what is now a widely recognized problem that involves not just the raw number of chargers, but also their uptime and reliability.

Beyond that nagging issue, however, the results reveal that the vast majority of EV owners are hugely satisfied with their vehicles and the overall EV driving experience.

“An overwhelming majority (97%) say they will purchase another EV when it comes time to replace their existing one,” says CAA in its release. “Almost nine in ten (89%) say they enjoy driving their EV more, 95% say their EV is more affordable, and 92% say their EV is a quieter ride than their gas vehicle.”

Particularly noteworthy is the drop in several areas of pre-purchase concern. Specifically, worries about range before buying fell 37 percentage points to 30 per cent. Fears about cold-weather performance dropped 25 percentage points to 33 per cent. And worries about battery degradation fell 41 percentage points to 13 per cent.

More EV myth-busting needed

The fact that such concerns diminish with experience doesn’t mean the perceptions of non-EV drivers are invalid, notes Kristine D’Arbelles, CAA’s senior director of public affairs, in a email to Electric Autonomy.

Instead, she says, it shows the need for more public education on electric vehicles and their real-world experience in Canada.

“There remains significant myths about EV ownership that could be keeping people from purchasing an EV,” says D’Arbelles. “But what this survey shows us is a lot of those myths are just that — myths.”