Mitsubishi has revealed the findings of the CABLED electric vehicle study which looked at electric vehicle usage for 12 months throughout the Coventry and Birmingham area.
The research found that most journeys undertaken (77%) lasted less than 20 minutes and only 2% used more than 50% of the battery - enabling a return journey to be made without the need for recharging in the majority of cases.
The data also showed a trend towards drivers travelling longer journeys over time - indicating increased confidence and reduced range anxiety.
As the largest of eight public trials taking part in The Technology Strategy Board’s £25m Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme, CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators) has now collected data taken from 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and 20 Smart Fortwo electric drives.
Project leader Neil Butcher from co-ordinating CABLED partner Arup believes the data presents a positive outlook for EVs, said: “These findings form part of the largest study of low carbon vehicle use ever compiled and, while our study is on-going, it’s already clear that EVs offer a viable, practical urban transport solution.
“We must now consider how our homes, offices and public spaces will need to evolve in order to cater to both users’ needs and the rapidly developing technologies powering these vehicles.”
In relation to charging behaviour, the CABLED data shows that EV users are not motivated to replenish their vehicle’s battery by reaching a particular point of depletion; rather they are driven by convenience and with data showing the vehicles are parked for 97.2% of the time (23.3 hours each day) it is apparent that there is ample opportunity for them to be plugged-in.
The most popular point at which people commenced charging was when the battery had between 81-87% of its charge remaining. With the majority of journey’s using less than 2kWh of power (around 12% of charge) this behaviour indicates that charging habitually takes place upon reaching a destination.
The average charge time was between 2-3 hours (typically equivalent to half of a full charge) with an energy transfer of 6kWh costing around 60-80p depending upon tariff (equivalent to one load in a washer dryer).
Peaks for charging were observed from 7-9am and from 6-7pm, which can be most likely attributed to charging on arrival at work in the morning or home in the evening. Another peak was seen after 11pm when CABLED participants used timers to take advantage of off-peak energy tariffs.
Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motors UK managing director, said: “It's very encouraging to see this statistical evidence from the CABLED trial. It clearly backs up our own experience and studies in Japan that people adapt very quickly to driving a pure- EV, such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
“To know that people complete up to five normal journeys per charge, and at such a low cost, underlines the fact that EVs are here to stay and can find mass-market appeal.
“Mitsubishi's new range of plug-in hybrid vehicles and our on-going development of pure-EVs will also help establish electric powertrains in the broader UK market, and go a long way to reducing automotive CO2 emissions."
Brian Price from Aston University, which was responsible for analysing the data obtained from each vehicles on-board telemetry commented: “Through satellite tracking and on-board telemetry, we have been able to monitor real-world usage of the latest ultra-low carbon vehicles technologies on an unprecedented scale.
“Journey data over the first 18 months of the trial shows us that the battery range of electric vehicles (EV’s) more than covers most users’ needs, with most drivers finishing their daily journeys still with over 40% charge remaining.
"Typical users only need to recharge every two to three days and choose the convenience of a home charge overnight or at their place of work over 85% of the time.
“Public charging points provided as part of the trial are proving popular, but less necessary than originally thought, as users gain confidence in the range capability of the vehicles. The trial has shown that the current generation of low carbon vehicles are as capable as conventional diesel and petrol engines for performance and ease of use, whilst having significantly lower emissions and operating costs.”