Half of those who don’t own an electric vehicle in B.C. are still worried about taking a road trip in one, unsure whether charging stations would be available on their route or at their final stop, according to new research from BC Hydro.
The poll of 800 British Columbians found that 23 per cent of non-EV owners are “very likely” to take a road trip in a battery-powered EV, but 45 per cent were either “somewhat unlikely” or “not likely” to do so.
By contrast, of the 80 EV owners surveyed, 63 per cent said they were “very likely” to take a road trip in such a vehicle, with just 11 per cent either “somewhat unlikely” or “not likely” to do so.
Fifteen hybrid vehicle owners were surveyed as well.
While the results from EV owners aren’t surprising, BC Hydro’s Susie Rieder said the data represents a shift in perspective on EVs from non-owners.
“Concerns from those who aren’t looking to purchase an EV have gone from concerns over charging in their hometowns … to now, concerns over charging on longer-distance road trips, so actually charging at the destination rather than the road trip journey itself,” she explained.
Only eight per cent of those polled thought there were enough public charging stations for EV owners in the province, but 68 per cent they said they would be comfortable using an EV to “get around town,” versus 27 per cent for road trips.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 per cent.
There are 151 BC Hydro chargers at 84 sites across the province. The entire provincial network of public charging units stood at around 3,000 last year, the B.C. government has said.
A separate survey by the Canadian Automobile Association and BCAA in March, however, found that almost half of the province’s EV owners still worry about access to charging infrastructure. That research also found 36 per cent of EV owners did not have the confidence to take their EV on a long road trip.
BC Hydro said it hopes to add 3,000 more charging units in the next 10 years.
According to the province, EVs make up 13 per cent of all new vehicle sales in the province — the greatest percentage in North America. Roughly 120,000 EVs are on the road in B.C., but BC Hydro predicts that number could reach up to 900,000 in the next 10 years.