Aston University assesses long-term electric vehicle use

The UK’s largest study into long-term electric vehicle (EV) use reveals new data on the cost of ’refuelling’ and fresh information on charging trends.

Six months into the CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators) trial, Aston University researchers have revealed that drivers are travelling more miles more frequently and are undertaking longer journeys – indicating increased confidence and notably reduced ’range anxiety’.

Cost-conscious prospective EV drivers may also be interested to learn that the average cost to trial participants recharging at home is between just 25 pence and £1 per day.

The data, analysed by the researchers, combines and compares the behaviour patterns of 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEV drivers over two consecutive quarters. The results form part of the CABLED project, which will see an overall total of 110 ultra-low-carbon vehicles from different manufacturers tested on the roads of Birmingham and Coventry as part of a £7.5m, year-long government scheme.

Aston has been using satellite mapping and computer technologies to collate journey data to give a greater understanding into consumer behaviour and to how individual EVs perform in a real-world environment. This data will also be used to map out a future network of electric charging points in order to further extend range and improve the convenience of EVs.

The CABLED results at this stage show that Mitsubishi i-MiEV can travel around 80 miles when fully charged and that, on average, drivers are using less than 30 per cent of their total vehicle charge in a typical daily use.

The average charge time per i-MiEV vehicle is two hours, providing enough charge for between 20 and 40 miles of travel at a cost of between 40 pence and £1, depending on the tariff.

The researchers have also found that drivers habitually charge their vehicles, whether the battery is half full or nearly empty, in much the same way as a laptop or a mobile phone.

The most popular time to charge vehicles is overnight, but as around eight in 10 journeys use less than 18 per cent of the battery, five average-length journeys could be completed on one charge.

As electric cars hit the UK’s roads in greater numbers, the development of infrastructure is a key consideration. Click here to read more.