Shell: User experience needs to be improved to drive EV adoption

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A new study by Shell Recharge Solution reveals that improving the user experience is crucial for mass adoption of electric vehicles. Despite this, many challenges remain.

58% of French electric vehicle drivers and 75% at European level say that the driving experience and the technology inherent in electric vehicles are the main arguments for the adoption of electric vehicles, some of them are not entirely satisfied. These figures are taken from the EV Driver Survey 2022, the largest survey of electric vehicle (EV) drivers in Europe, conducted by Shell Recharge Solutions.

The EV Drivers Survey 2022 is based on an online survey dedicated to electric vehicle driving and electric charging. 14,991 electric vehicle drivers in five markets participated in this survey: the UK (2,853), France (1,587), Germany (6,272), the Netherlands (4,145) and Belgium (134).

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The pandemic has deeply shaken the business world and the automotive industry. The global supply chain was strained, while the war in Ukraine only amplified the phenomenon by raising raw material and energy prices. As a result of this turmoil, highly disrupted energy markets have put purchasing power in Europe under pressure. The fact that these market conditions are not ideal for the adoption of electric cars makes the recent growth of the sector even more interesting. Indeed, sales are increasing faster than expected and manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand.

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Driving experience, number one criterion

While the Shell Recharge Solutions (SRS) survey reveals the importance of driving experience, costs and environmental concerns when choosing electric, it also highlights the obstacles, particularly when it comes to creating an abundant, usable and affordable charging infrastructure. Certainly, EVs have many advantages, but the frustrations remain.

Electric vehicles are gaining ground and part of the change is driven by the driving experience. 76% of respondents who currently own an electric vehicle want their next vehicle to be electric too. Likewise, the driving experience and technological equipment integrated in these vehicles constitute for 75% the main reason for adopting an electric vehicle. That number drops to 53% among hybrid vehicle drivers.

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And while 70% of respondents say driving an electric vehicle has environmental benefits, only 23% say their purchase was motivated by concerns about the future of the planet.

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On the other hand, 55% of respondents emphasize savings (48% among hybrid drivers) and 41% consider subsidies and advantageous taxation to be decisive when choosing to purchase an electric vehicle. A proportion that reaches 47% among hybrid drivers (the survey does not specify whether it is a rechargeable hybrid or a simple hybrid). Finally, another interesting piece of data, only 25% of respondents cite the upcoming ban on gasoline or diesel models among their top reasons for taking the plunge.

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In addition, the SRS survey highlights the – interesting to note – issue of preferences: 78% think their electric vehicle is more durable than a traditional vehicle and 61% believe its cost of maintenance and use is lower. Additionally, 53% think their electric vehicle has more “style” than its thermal equivalent. In addition, only half of respondents (52%) consider the electric vehicle to be more convenient to use.

The recharge? a confusing experience

It is on the side of the loading industry that the challenges to be faced by the industry begin to emerge. In fact, the most important improvements required by drivers to increase EV adoption primarily concern range. 57% are concerned about this point, 49% want better availability of charging stations and 33% want faster charging speeds. 47% also believe that lower initial purchase costs would encourage the adoption of this type of vehicle.

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Also, according to the survey, the customer journey for EV drivers needs to be improved as it remains a confusing experience at the moment. As proof, French drivers sometimes use more than three charging apps, like Chargemap or ABRP for example, and more than a third have more than four charging cards! Another cause for concern is that 55% believe the charging infrastructure will not be able to keep up with the mass adoption of EVs. Likewise, 40% of EV drivers have difficulty recharging in other countries, which is not a concern for drivers of internal combustion vehicles: interoperability between internal combustion vehicles and service stations is never even questioned.

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The cost

On the anxiety side, cost is a strong factor for or against EV adoption, even for current drivers: 72% of them are looking forward to mass adoption of EVs, which they say will drive down purchase and ownership costs. . A statement to be taken with tweezers, as this trend is conditioned by the availability and cost of raw materials, at least in terms of thermal energy. And while 62% believe that rising gas and diesel prices should encourage people to go electric faster, 68% are at the same time concerned about the impact of rising electricity prices on the cost of their EV.

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In any case, the adoption of an electric vehicle seems to have an impact on behavior, as more than half of the respondents believe that the availability of charging stations influences the places where the owner of an EV makes his purchases and travels. Consequently, 65% will tend to choose tourist locations based on the availability of a charging point.

The advantage of home charging

One of the main infrastructure differences between EVs and thermal vehicles is the potential for home charging. As charging an electric vehicle takes longer than refueling, access to this solution is not evenly distributed. Unsurprisingly, respondents with a home with a garage are nearly three times more likely to have a private charging station. 77% of respondents have a house or a private car park, compared to 28% who live in an apartment.

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Finally, with regard to the future and deployment of terminals, the survey highlights the fact that drivers (63%) would be willing to pay a little more to use a single card on the go, rather than buying a bundle. monthly to charge your vehicle without limit. Likewise, drivers express real interest in other payment innovations, such as automatic license plate recognition (31%) or simply paying with a bank card (31%).

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