Misconceptions and Real Data of Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

Demystifying misconception and real data about e-mobility

Range anxiety and cost are two primary barriers to entry for the mass-market adoption of electric cars. Italy’s recent study on a large amount of real mobility data shows a misperception of these issues, and electric vehicles (EVs) could replace a large percentage of existing cars without any limitations on the owner. This study also questions whether large investments in fast-changing public networks are the optimal way for car electrification.

Personal cars’ electrification is widely considered unfeasible due to under-developed public recharging infrastructure and the high cost of electric cars. The widespread view between users and policymakers depends on the idea that you must heavily subsidize vehicles’ costs. Also, there must be a capillary public recharging network if you want to achieve EVs’ mass-market adoption.

Despite the widely-held view, no quantitative projection based on an enormous amount of real mobility data has not been made yet means the unfeasibility is more of a perception than a fact. The study analyzing nearly 150 million trips by private passenger cars reveals that a quicker electrification process is feasible on night-time recharging in private spaces considering the current market.


Analysis and Results

The first part of the analysis centers on an individual requires the original range and carries out under the assumption that there would be no behavioural change from the user. The outcome of the analysis by Professors Sergio M. Savaresi and Silvia Strada of Politecnico di Milano is surprising considering an electric car’s range of 300km. That means around 50% of the cars would never travel over 300 km in a single day for an entire year. Most manufacturers are targeting this range for new EVs. Moreover, by removing up to five days per year of over-range, the percentage will increase to a massive 92% from 50%.

The analysis also reveals that the distribution of the annual mileage of the cars belongs to two classes. The ‘never over-range’ cars unsurprisingly have a lower average annual mileage of almost 15,000km/year. This annual mileage distribution has fundamental importance for the detailed calculation of economic feasibility related to this parameter.

The second part studies the crucial aspect of the economic ‘breakeven’ of an electric car instead of the corresponding petrol car. It considers a selection of mid-size car models, which is the most attractive for electrification, where gasoline and a full-electric version are available. Looking at the current prices, a petrol car in this class costs approximately 15,000-18,000 euros, while the equivalent electric car has an additional cost of 12,000-15,000 euros. Considering depreciation, ownership taxes, the cost of electric energy, insurance, and the cost of maintenance, a complete cost model has been made around this. Two conditions have been analysed; first is without any government incentive, and the second is currently available incentives. Current incentives in Italy are comparatively small and correspond to the electric car’s expected cost reduction within nearly three years from now because of large-scale production and battery cost reduction.

And the final analysis shows the actual availability of a private night-time recharging space. It cannot be addressed because the data is fully anonymized. The vehicle’s base location can barely be discovered due to confidentiality by crossing the data with the population density on the base of each car. Based on this, the analysts could calculate a reliable estimate of the expected possibility of private parking availability. The result shows that around 70% of Italian users have a strong probability of having a private space for overnight recharging.

By merging these three sub-analyses, the final result is quite surprising and unexpected. The cost would break over eight years, which is the average time an Italian car owner keeps a car before selling it. Electric vehicles can replace only 13% of Italy’s cars without any limitations caused by today’s technical, infrastructural, or economic conditions. This percentage can reach up to 34% if the car users account for no more than five over-range days each year.