UK's largest EV trial shows electric cars are suitable for everyday use

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258,105 miles were driven over the life of the test

The results of the UK's most in-depth electric vehicle trial so far are in. They show that the everyday use of the electric MINI E used in the trial didn't differ radically from that of the non-electric conventional car control group.

The research will go some way to alleviate fears of "range anxiety" and shows that for typical daily use many electric models are comparable to petrol or diesel engine cars.

In the trial, average daily use of the electric Minis was 29.7 miles, compared to 26.5 miles for the control group and less than 25 miles for the UK daily average of all private cars. More importantly, the average single trip distance for the electric cars was 9.5 miles compared to the UK average of less than 7.

Electric cars are therefore clearly suitable for the short daily trips which make up the bulk of personal motoring. In the trial, four out of five people reported that 80% of their trips could be done exclusively in the MINI E. This increased to 90% of users saying that with the addition of rear seats and a bigger boot, all their trips could have been done in the MINI E.

The study also found that drivers felt confident not to have to recharge their car every night - the average was 2.9 times per week according to feedback from smart meters used in the test. Significantly, charging at home was not an issue although there was concern over the current lack of public charging infrastructure.

Almost all participants (96%) said they’d consider buying an electric car as a result of taking part, and half (51%) revealed they would pay a third more for an electric vehicle (EV). A third (30%) said they’d consider taking the plunge within a year, while 55% said they’d hold fire for two or more years.

The trial found that one week was all that was needed for customers to adapt to the characteristics and peculiarities of driving an EV, such as charging, range, regenerative braking and low noise. Driving efficiently to extend the range was actually seen as part of the enjoyment rather than a chore.

Severe low temperatures did make a difference to range available during the test, with 84% logging a decrease in distance between charges. But four out five participants did say that they still believed the MINI E was suitable for winter use. One driver clocked up almost 8,000 miles between September and March.

More about the trial
An enormous amount of data was collected electronically by data-loggers in the car and the home charging points, and also from extensive driver research carried out by Oxford Brookes University.

The MINI E Trial in numbers:

  • 40 MINI Es
  • 12 Months
  • 138 Drivers (32 women 106 men)
  • 258,105 Miles
  • 33,345 Journeys
  • 80,282 kWh Electricity
  • Highest mileage by an individual driver over six months - 7954 miles
  • Average mileage per vehicle over six months, including fleet pool cars – 3226
  • Average cost to charge over six months - £60, less than 2p per mile

www.brookes.ac.uk/res/electricmini

The MINI E trial is one of eight UK projects supported by the £25m Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, funded by the Technology Strategy Board and Department for Transport. These are aimed at bringing forward the introduction of viable electric passenger vehicles to the UK.

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