Study: 42 percent of Americans think EVs need gas to run
Ford is working to address misconceptions ahead of the electric F-150's arrival.
A shockingly high percentage of Americans apparently have wild misconceptions about electric vehicles, according to a study conducted by Ford.
The biggest surprise is the 42 percent of surveyed people who think EVs still need gas to run, apparently oblivious to the most basic characteristic of a battery-powered vehicle.
Other misconceptions are more understandable and reflect a somewhat accurate perception of EVs just a few years ago when the Nissan Leaf represented the state of the art.
More than 90 percent of Americans and Europeans do not believe quick acceleration is a "great benefit of electric vehicles," though it is unclear if the survey was worded to gauge whether a respondent knows that some EVs are quicker or asked if they believe quicker acceleration is beneficial in general.
Nearly 80 percent of Americans would not choose an EV for extreme weather and almost 65 percent would not pick one for its all-wheel-drive capabilities. Electric motors have clear benefits in managing torque distribution, however the "extreme weather" finding may not be a misconception in regions that experience bitter cold. Consumer Reports recommends choosing an EV with twice the range a driver expects to typically need if they will be operating in extreme cold.
Tesla uses a dynamic range-estimation algorithm in its vehicles to better gauge remaining battery capacity based on factors such as ambient temperature and elevation. The company no longer has an online calculator, however, that allowed buyers and owners to know in advance approximately how much range to expect based on outside temperature, driving speed and cabin heater settings."
At Ford, we've gone to great lengths to test our electric vehicles in extreme conditions," Ford electrification director Ted Cannis wrote in a blog post. "And while it is true that you can anticipate a partial reduction in range in extreme conditions, it is not something that is going to sneak up on you."
The executive is accurate in noting that internal-combustion cars also use more gasoline when blasting the air conditioning. Separate studies have found that electric range can drop by as much as 40 percent as temperatures dip into the teens, however, making the gasoline comparison a bit misleading.
Ford has already started tailoring its marketing content to address the belief among more than two-thirds of Americans that EVs are not capable enough in terms of towing and hauling. Aware that such perceptions could hinder sales of the all-electric F-150, the company recently posted a video showing a prototype hauling more than one million pounds. Many buyers will rightly view the demo as a gimmick, however, and will wait to see the official towing and payload specs for the production truck before judging with their wallets.