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Drivers overestimate how often electric cars run out of charge, AA survey finds

  • Most drivers overestimate how often EVs run out of charge, new data finds
  • In survey by AA, just one per cent of people knew how uncommon the issue was
  • Just four per cent of AA call outs to EVs last year were down to vehicles having no charge

Time 2 weeks ago

Misconceptions about range are continuing to thwart the progress of EVs with nearly all drivers overestimating how often electric cars run out of charge, a new survey suggests.

The AA says it attended 13,000 EV breakdowns last year, of which just four per cent were for vehicles with a flat main driving battery.

However, in a survey of 14,500 drivers, only one per cent of respondents knew how infrequent the problem is.


The average guess was that two thirds of all EV breakdowns are due to a lack of charge.

Now, to mark World EV Day, the AA is publishing the results to ‘help myth-bust a common misconception’ about the vehicles.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said more drivers are considering switching to electric cars as the government plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel models from 2030, with hybrids prohibited from 2035.

He said: ‘There are still concerns about the existing charging infrastructure and single charge range.


‘Likewise, most drivers totally overestimate the percentage of breakdowns due to running out of charge.

‘The reality is far better than drivers think, with very few EVs failing to reach a chargepoint.

‘In fact, EVs and combustion cars share the same top two reasons for breakdowns which are tyres and the smaller 12-volt battery.

‘As more chargepoints, especially rapid chargers, are installed across the country the number of cars failing to reach one will further reduce, providing more confidence to drivers to help them make the switch.’

Meanwhile, motorists are being encouraged to switch from petrol and diesel to electric-powered cars with the launch of a new app.

EV8 Switch calculates how much money UK drivers could save if they switch from a petrol or diesel vehicle to an electric model.

It also displays CO2 savings, air quality improvements, and recommendations for which EV would suit their lifestyle.

The free app is backed by £2.7 million of government funding.

EVs generally cost more to buy than conventionally fuelled cars but are cheaper to run.

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: ‘This World EV Day, I want to not only provide easy access to the tools that people need to feel confident about making the switch, but also to make sure that chargepoints are accessible, affordable and recognisable.

‘That’s why we have already committed £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of charging infrastructure up and down the country, and as we look forward to Cop26 and beyond, our vision is that the UK is at the forefront of the zero-emission transport future, creating thousands of green jobs in the process.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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