99% of drivers overestimate how often EVs run out of charge

AA finds huge misconceptions around how many EVs break down through running battery flat

Motorists wildly overestimate how often electric cars break down through lack of charge, according to a study by the AA.

The motoring organisation said that 99 per cent of drivers it questioned failed to correctly estimate what proportion of EV breakdowns were charge-related.

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According to its records less than four per cent of EV breakdowns it attended last year were for cars with a flat drive battery.

However, the average estimate was that two thirds of all EV breakdowns were due to running out of charge.


AA president Edmund King said that the research - released to mark World EV Day - showed there were still serious misconceptions around EVs and pointed out that the leading causes of breakdowns were the same for EVs and combustion-engined vehicles.

He said: “There are still concerns about the existing charging infrastructure and single charge range.

“Likewise, most drivers totally overestimate the percentage of breakdowns due to running out of charge.

“The reality is far better than drivers think, with very few EVs failing to reach a chargepoint.

“In fact, EVs and combustion cars share the same top two reasons for breakdowns which are tyres and the smaller 12-volt battery.

“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.”

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RAC director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha said that while drivers running out of charge was rare, issues with the public charging network were still a problem.

She commented: “While the number of drivers running out of charge is currently small, it remains the case that every year thousands of drivers of petrol and diesel cars still run out of fuel. By this token, it’s fair to say there will inevitably be some drivers who will run the ‘EV range gauntlet’ and end up stranded.

“We also know that even today sadly some drivers are reaching public charge points only to find to their frustration they’re out of order, and they then don’t have enough charge to get to a working one. We’ve also been to the rescue of drivers whose home chargers haven’t worked properly. This is why one-in-five of our patrol vans will be fitted with a lightweight, engine-driven charger that can give an emergency boost to EVs by the end of next year.”

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