Electric Car Buyers Like, Feel Better Driving Them: UK Survey

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2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012

2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012

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Electric car drivers have long had a little secret: The cars are generally much nicer to drive than gasoline cars.

Now a new survey done at London Metropolitan University in England shows that despite initial skepticism, drivers of the plug-in vehicles came to like them better than gasoline cars in just three months.

“Drivers quickly adapted to the vehicles," said Dr. Louise Bunce, lecturer in psychology, "and were extremely positive about aspects of [their] performance, including...acceleration and speed."

The survey of 340 electric car drivers is part of work at the university that looks at ways to alter public perception of plug-in vehicles and encourage consumers to buy the cars.

In England, fewer buyers than expected have opted for plug-in cars, despite a $7,990 (£5,000) Government grant to offset the purchase price, no annual road tax payment, and far lower operating costs.

And, as the survey shows, drivers come to like them better than gasoline cars.

"This means," said consumer psychologist Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, that "marketers need to reposition electric vehicles to consumers.”

He heads a new research project at London Metropolitan into how best to change the consumer mindset on electric cars.

The study aligns with the U.K. government's goal of reducing the carbon emitted by road transport as part of a broader effort to cut emissions of climate-change gases.


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Comments (5)
  1. The time it takes for someone to notice how pleasant EVs are to drive heavily depends on the person apparently:
    * Average driver in the US (me, friends...): 3 minutes
    * People part of this study in London: 3 months
    * Marketing guys at Nissan: 3 years+ (they're still working on it)

  2. All it took for me was one test drive and I was hooked. I've noticed that gasoline powered cars are starting to feel rough with all the new gadgets aimed at saving fuel. They now have a little turbo lag, their transmissions shift more with more gears and are less then smooth, and automatic stop/start feels like stalling out. But electric cars are seamless, smooth, and stress free. Electric cars have a ride much like a Rolls Royce, they're suspension doesn't iron out the bumps like a Rolls, electrics are either normal or sporty but you do get the same quiet effortless feeling that Rolls Royce owners call wafting along.

  3. since i have to switch from the LEAF to my Prius on a regular basis i can assure you, the LEAF is so much nicer its not even a fair competition

  4. Sorry to offend any Prius owners out there, but Prius isn't exactly a "bar" to compare against unless it is MPG.

  5. Another study from the Institute of Research into Stuff We Already Knew

    Talk about a firm grasp of the obvious.

    The cheapest EV is a nicer ride than the most expensive stinky car. Duh!

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