Anyone needing data on how electric drivers use their vehicles would be well-advised to look to Norway, the world’s undisputed EV capital. As of May, there were over 105,000 plug-in vehicles registered in the country.
A recent survey of 8,000 vehicle owners by the Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics found a number of insights that should be of interest to automakers, infrastructure providers and policymakers.
The survey found that buyers of pure EVs and buyers of PHEVs tend to have different transport needs, and different demographic profiles. This seems fairly obvious to most industry observers, but a number of automakers still seem to imagine that a PHEV can compete with a pure EV for the same buyers (and quite a few folks are still unclear about the difference between the two).
Some EV pundits fear that many plug-in hybrids will seldom or never be plugged in, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Norway: the survey found that PHEV owners drive electrically 55% of the time.
EVs are often bought as second cars: the study found that 71% of EV owners also own a legacy ICE vehicle. The most “multipurpose” EV, Tesla’s Model S, is twice as likely to be the only vehicle in a household.
Plug-in owners love their vehicles. Less than 1% of EV owners, and about 2% of PHEV owners, said they will not buy electric again (after 2025, those folks might be out of luck).
Here’s an interesting insight into the validity of automakers’ range claims: drivers estimated that electric range averages about 20% lower than the official range in summer, and 30% lower in the winter.
How important are public chargers? Norway has plenty, but they may not be widely used. Survey respondents said they mostly charged their vehicles at home or at work, and “rarely elsewhere.”