How often do electric cars run out of charge?

New research by the AA has found that almost all UK drivers overestimate the number of breakdowns caused by electric vehicles running out of charge. 

© Provided by Motoring Electric AA EV Survey Results

A staggering 99 percent of those surveyed incorrectly estimated how frequently EVs suffer from having flat batteries.

As part of World EV Day, the AA has released its survey results in an attempt to bust the myths associated with electric car ownership.

No EV catastrophes

© Provided by Motoring Electric AA EV Survey Results

The AA poll, conducted in July 2021, asked more than 14,500 drivers how often they thought electric cars needed to be rescued after running out of charge.

On average, respondents believed 65 percent of EV breakdowns were caused by the battery having no power left. 

In reality, of the 13,000 electric vehicle breakdowns attended by the AA, less than four percent were due to the battery being out of charge. 

Tyres, and the conventional 12-volt battery, were the top two reasons for EV problems. These figures are the same as experienced by cars with combustion engines.

Really going the distance

© Provided by Motoring Electric AA EV Survey Results

As part of the AA survey, drivers were also asked to estimate the average range of a fully charged electric vehicle.

An average range of 200 miles was correctly identified by a quarter (25 percent) of respondents. Only six percent believed that EV ranges would average 100 miles.

Such figures tally with a separate survey undertaken by Ford to assess attitudes towards the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars. The Go Electric report found that 25 percent of those asked believed electric cars could travel 151 to 200 miles when fully charged. 

Ford has recently set three Guinness World Records with the electric Mustang Mach-E, covering the equivalent of more than 500 miles on a single charge.

Ready to make the switch

© Provided by Motoring Electric AA EV Survey Results

Speaking about the survey results, AA president, Edmund King OBE commented: “As we fast approach the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel sales, more drivers are thinking about electric cars.

“However, there are still concerns about the existing charging infrastructure and single charge range. Likewise, most drivers totally over-estimate the percentage of breakdowns due to running out of charge.

“As more charge points, 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.”

The AA has invested in ensuring it has the equipment and training to help drivers make the transition to EV ownership. This includes a support service to help answer charging queries, along with developing bespoke electric vehicle insurance.


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