If the electric car begins to convince a large majority of users, there are still hurdles to overcome for it to be truly democratized. Starting with a drop in sales prices, then with the development of the network of charging stations, which, according to the results of our survey among more than 1,500 readers, remains a major point of dissatisfaction.
Popular home charging
For an overwhelming majority, with 74%, the electric drivers who answered our questionnaire choose to charge at home. They perform an average of 2.3 refills per week at an estimated cost of €2.50 per refill. 100 km: that’s about 4.8 times less than for a petrol vehicle!
Regarding the charging installation, few have adapted their installation for the use of the electric car. Thus, 41% of them charge their car using a conventional socket and 33% use a reinforced socket (Green’up). Only 26% have installed a wallbox that provides higher power. Even subscribing to a supplier remains quite traditional: in 35% of cases it has a power of 9 kVA and 23% even use a lower power of 6 kVA. They are only 40% to have adapted their installation using 12 kVA to 22% and 18% beyond (15 to 36 kVA).
Public networks avoided
Proof that the electric car remains dedicated to use close to home, 80% of respondents have another vehicle with an internal combustion engine and 43% of electric car owners never use public charging stations. 44% go there less than once a week, while only 4% connect to it 2 to 5 times a week (they are 1% to do it every day).
Four types of networks dominate:
- society’s (36%);
- supermarkets (18%);
- Tesla (17%);
- and that of ionicity (12%).
On the other hand, the order changes in terms of overall satisfaction, with the Tesla network achieving by far the best score with 85%, followed by supermarkets (66%), the community network (62%) and Ionity. (61%).
Insufficient coverage and repeated crashes
One of the main reasons for this lack of interest is the lack of coverage of the terminal network: 26% of respondents find it very incomplete and 46% rather incomplete. Only 28% are satisfied with the national coverage. The second complaint concerns terminal errors, and only 25% have never, or almost never, encountered problems. On the other hand, 13% regularly experience problems (1 time out of 2), 28% from time to time (1 time out of 4) and 34% less often. In 64% of cases, the error on the terminal itself is the source of the problem, so for 15% it is the charging plate that is not recognized or the car (3%). Too bad: in 88% of cases the problem was not solved on the spot. They therefore had to change locations or find another solution.
Good news though, 73% of users say they don’t wait to connect. But then patience is required: Three quarters stay connected for more than 30 minutes to recharge their car.
The roll of badges
It is almost a must when driving electric: the charging label. And 72% of respondents use one. The most popular is Chargmap (48%), followed by Freshmile (11%) and New Motion (5%). On the other hand, manufacturers do not seem to attract customers, and if Kia’s are used in 3% of cases, only 2% use Hyundais and 1% use Nissans. Note that the average cost of a badge is €15 when purchased and €8.80 per month in the case of a subscription. Then there is invoicing, which shows very varying amounts and is calculated either per minute or by kWh (Ionity, billed per minute until July 2022, now offers per kWh billing).
Still barriers to purchase
Despite the ecological bonus awarded for the purchase of an electric vehicle (until the end of 2022, it is a maximum of €6,000, depending on the price of the model), the price remains the biggest obstacle to purchase. 64% of buyers find it too high. The second source of concern concerns the charging network, with low density (49%) and charging time (45%) as fears. Next comes the number of new electric models, which is quite low for 43% of respondents. Conversely, there is no doubt about the reliability of an electric car, which concerns only 12% of respondents, nor about the savings achieved when using a thermal vehicle (also 12%).
Autonomy, a point of contention
This is an annoying topic: the autonomy announced by the manufacturers, of 345 km on average, is only 285 km in reality according to the results of the electric drivers who answered our questionnaire. That’s almost 17.5% less! But this average difference differs depending on the vehicle category. If it is about 20% for city cars (20.6%) and highway cars (19.8%), it is only 11% for SUVs and 16.5% for compacts. Fortunately, so to speak, only 21% experienced a decrease in this value over the years. But since our panel’s park is fairly new, 49% have no opinion on this issue.
Overall, satisfaction is good with a score of 8.8/10. And in detail, the scores are quite high: reliability (8.9) or maintenance costs (9) are satisfactory, and only autonomy (with only 7.5) gives rise to more mixed assessments.
Again, this varies by car category. Overall satisfaction is 8.6 for city cars and compacts, while it rises to 9 for SUVs and even 9.3 for highway cars. On the other hand, at the level of autonomy, it is a cold shower. The compacts only score 6.7/10, the city cars 7.1, the SUVs with 8.1 and the road cars with 8.5.
Nevertheless, the electric has managed to convince, and 87% of the respondents would buy an electric car.
The protocol for our satisfaction survey
A satisfaction questionnaire was sent online from 6 to 13 April 2022. This survey generated a record 99% interest and 1,622 drivers who own an electric car answered our questions. Only 17% bought their vehicle used, and in 82% of cases it was their first electric vehicle. Among them, there are 49% city cars, 27% SUVs, 12% compact and 12% highway cars for an average mileage of 12,000 km per year. The most purchased models are Renault Zoé (28%), Tesla Model 3 (11%) and Dacia Spring (6%).