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Germans know too little about electromobility. This is the result of a recent study by the energy supplier Eon conducted in cooperation with Statista. It turned out that many Germans assume that electric cars do not get far enough with one tank charge, charging takes far too long and there are too few charging stations. Common prejudices, which often offer enough reason for discussion. But are they really true?

62 per cent would drive an electric car

According to the study, the willingness to drive an electric car is relatively high. 62 percent of German driving license holders would buy an electric car. It is precisely the 18 to 24-year-olds (79 percent) who could imagine driving electric cars. Among the 55 to 69-year-olds, only one in two would be willing to switch to electric driving. The main reason for electric mobility is primarily environmental awareness. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said that reducing CO2 and particulate matter emissions played an important role for them.

On the other hand, 38 per cent of driving license holders surveyed would not switch to an electric car. In order to inspire them to do so, however, the purchase prices would have to fall (73 per cent), longer ranges would have to be achieved (71 per cent) and more charging stations would have to be available (65 per cent). Perhaps it is not surprising that the range (81 per cent) is one of the main arguments for diesel drivers.

Range greater than estimated

An electric car doesn’t even go 200 kilometres with one tank of fuel. This is estimated by about 50 per cent of the drivers surveyed for the study. However, current models have a realistic range of between 200 and 300 kilometres – 31 per cent of those surveyed know this. Nevertheless, this is not enough for most people. 40 per cent of the study participants emphasized that an electric car must travel at least 450 kilometres. Here, too, the age of the drivers plays a role: the older the respondents, the more frequently long ranges are a must. Just like for diesel drivers. Opponents of e-mobility demand the highest range. One third says that electric cars have to drive more than 500 kilometres with one tank of fuel. Interestingly, this group of respondents covers an average of fewer than 100 kilometres per day by car.

“The next generation of vehicles, such as the new Nissan Leaf, has ranges of around 400 kilometres so that even the few long-distance journeys of Germans are easily covered,” explains Andreas Pfeiffer, a specialist in electromobility and responsible for Eon Drive at Eon.

More charging stations than assumed

When asked about the distribution of charging stations, it becomes clear that the myth of too few is widespread. 70 per cent of motorists believe that only 3,000 charging stations are available nationwide. Another 20 per cent expect 6,000. In fact, he is more than 13,000, Pfeiffer adds. (Editor’s note: According to Federal Network Agency there are more than 5,600 public loading stations with an average of two loading spaces).

The situation is similar when Germans are asked about loading times. Half believe that an e-car hangs on the power cable for more than six hours. In fact, it takes four to six hours for the car to be charged. “At home or at work, where 80 per cent of all charging takes place, that’s no problem”, says Pfeiffer.

The survey participants estimate the fast charging time to be almost congruent with direct current (DC). 63 per cent believe it takes at least one hour for a full charge – but in fact, it takes 30 to 60 minutes. 37 per cent would be satisfied with these charging times, even if they had to cover longer distances. 42 per cent would be happy with charging times of 10 to 30 minutes. Exactly the charging time that the latest generation of ultrashort chargers needs for compatible vehicles.

E-Autos load faster than expected

The Germans also estimate the average charging times of electric cars to be significantly higher than they actually are. Half of the interviewees assume that the electricians hang on to the plug for more than six hours during normal charging with alternating current (AC). In fact, current vehicles are fully charged in four to six hours. “This is no problem at home or at work, where 80 per cent of all charging takes place,” says Pfeiffer. The fast charging times with direct current (DC) are estimated by 63 per cent of the survey participants at more than one hour. In fact, depending on the battery capacity, 30 to 60 minutes are sufficient for a full charge. For 37 per cent of respondents, this would also be an acceptable charging time for charging over longer distances while on the move. Another 42 per cent would be between 10 and 30 minutes.

“Wish and reality, therefore, meet in a few months at the latest. If you also realize that you don’t drive an e-car to refuel in the classic way as you would with a combustion engine, but load it when the vehicle is stationary anyway, nothing should stand in the way of purchasing an e-car. The only drawback is actually the high purchase price, which still overtaxes the purses of many potential users,” Pfeiffer explains.

It is logical that the high purchase price slows down the willingness to buy an e-car. This is also shown in the study. The lower the monthly basic income, the fewer people can imagine buying an electric car. Only just under half of the low-income earners would buy an electric car.

For the study, 2,004 drivers between the ages of 18 and 69 were interviewed. The survey took place in June 2018, nationally representative according to age, gender and region.

Got interested? At Expo REAL, October 8-10 in Munich, all-electric car sharing platform Amber will show what it’s like to drive electric, using shared cars.