The University of California, Davis and the BMW Group recently released the largest publicly available study of electric-car users ever conducted – including over 120 families who drove the fully electric MINI Cooper E automobile more than 1 million miles in California, New York and New Jersey from June 2009 to June 2010. The report shows that the participants found the cars to be fun yet practical, easy to drive and recharge, and many said they would buy an electric car in the next five years, according to UC Davis researchers.
As battery electric vehicles (BEVs) enter the commercial marketplace for the first time, the results of this year-long study by the UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center provide valuable insight into new ways that consumers value BEVs.
Through online and telephone surveys of the participating households, and diaries and in-person interviews with a subset of more than 40 households, the UC Davis MINI E research team examined user behavior, infrastructure use, costs, environmental benefits, and other aspects of electric driving.
Among the key findings of the study are the following:
- 100% of respondents said BEVs are fun to drive and practical for daily use
- Respondents said the MINI E met 90% of their daily driving needs
- 71% of respondents drove fewer than 40 miles/day; 95% drove fewer than 80
- 99% of respondents said home charging was easy to use
- 71% of respondents said they are now more likely to purchase a BEV than they were a year ago while only 9% said they are less likely.
- 88% of respondents said they are interested in buying a BEV or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in the next five years
- By the end of the lease period, MINI E drivers overwhelmingly thought that the electricity for charging their BEV should come from renewable resources such as solar, wind and hydropower, and were strongly opposed to using coal to generate electricity for their vehicles.
The UC Davis study is part of a whole set of studies being conducted by the BMW Group on electric vehicles, which includes research in China, Germany and the U.K.