PLUGGING THE GAP? – ADDRESSING RESISTANCE TO THE ADOPTION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES THROUGH A UNIVERSITY BASED E-CAR CLUB: A UNITED KINGDOM CASE STUDY APPROACH



PLUGGING THE GAP? – ADDRESSING RESISTANCE TO THE ADOPTION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES THROUGH A UNIVERSITY BASED E-CAR CLUB: A UNITED KINGDOM CASE STUDY APPROACH

Authors

Austin Smyth, University of Hertfordshire, Scott Copsey, University of Hertfordshire, Richard Southern, University of Hertfordshire

Description

This paper examines the rationale behind an e-club, its implementation, uptake, technical effectiveness as well as evaluating its impacts.

Abstract

Predictions for the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have proved to be optimistic worldwide. In the case of the UK while the car market saw its biggest growth in more than 10 years in 2012, and overall sales of alternative fuel vehicles (including EVs) increased by 9.4% to almost 28,000, take-up of electric vehicles represented less than 0.02% of the total market.

The wide range of market projections raises questions about our understanding of the market for EVs. Markets are rarely if ever homogeneous in the composition of their customer base. Understanding the perceived barriers to EVs and priorities of the consumers making up the overall market is a first step to informing an enhanced understanding of the likely development of the market and increased reliability and robustness of the forecasts of future trends.

A 2011 Opinions Survey by the UK’s Department for Transport listed vehicle range and availability of charging points, purchasing and running costs and the lack of knowledge as being the main perceived barriers to purchasing electric car/vans.
These factors tend to reflect lack of familiarity with the technology.

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how a large organisation can address overcome the barriers to EV adoption by hosting an e-car club. A case study will be presented of how the University of Hertfordshire’s e-car club, established in January 2014, is promoting use of EVs by extending the e-car club concept to four widely differing groups of potential users, namely students in halls of residence, university staff travelling on business, the wider local community and local businesses. The paper will also explore mechanisms intended to build confidence through familiarity of use to address perceived barriers to EV adoption.

This paper examines the rationale behind the e-club, its implementation, uptake, technical effectiveness as well as evaluating its impacts. Further, by exploring the market for EVs, the issues of resistance, models of adoption and how increasing familiarity with these technologies can overcome resistance will be assessed with a view to informing development of strategies to promote wider uptake.

Publisher

Association for European Transport