A study of electric car owners in California shows how electric cars are making a difference in the state; currently US’ single biggest market for battery-powered models.
A survey of some 1,400 plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners conducted by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) in collaboration with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), saw EV owners supply information on vehicle usage, charging behaviour and access to charging infrastructure. The results show how electric vehicle owners are helping to reduce the state’s reliance on oil imports and cut carbon emissions.
That doesn’t mean that electric car owners are having to limit their mileage and car use however, with the survey also showing that 85 per cent of owners use their PEV as their primary car, driving an average of 802 electric-fuelled miles per month.
There are now more than 12,000 PEV vehicles in California all helping reduce oil consumption. As the state doesn’t use oil to generate electricity, relying mostly on relatively low-carbon natural gas, electric vehicles run considerably cleaner than combustion models. Already, EVs in California are saving the state approximately 350,000 gallons of petroleum every month.
The sun shines in California
Electric car owners in the survey also showed a high adoption rate of solar power, with 39 per cent of respondents currently owning solar panels and 31 per cent considering solar installations within a year; allowing their EVs to run completely clean.
Drivers in the survey drove on average 26 miles a day in their electric cars, mostly charging at night. 71 per cent reported that they had access to charging either public or workplace charging or both. Roughly two-thirds of vehicle charging was found to take place in off-peak hours (between 8 pm and 8 am).
In San Diego, favourable utility rates result in some PEV owners paying equivalent to $0.90 to $1.90 per gallon of gasoline to power their electric vehicles.
As the nation’s largest electric vehicle market, California currently holds roughly 35 per cent of the US ‘s total EV sales, adding about 1,000 additional cars in the state each month.
"This is the largest plug-in electric vehicle owner survey ever taken in California,” said Mike Ferry, CCSE Transportation Program manager. “It’s still early in the development of a robust PEV marketplace, but California is firmly established as a national and worldwide leader in supporting advanced technology, zero-emission automotive transportation."
For more information about the PEV survey results and for details of the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, go to CCSE’s website at www.energycenter.org/pevsurvey.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
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