Lifestyles of the electric vehicle driver

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) still make up only a small percentage of cars on the road. Technological improvements have greatly increased the available driving range of BEVs over the years, and recent work estimates these cars could easily meet the needs of over half of urban dwellers. Why, then, does BEV share of new vehicles purchased remain in the single digits across almost all countries?

Previous work has identified many key factors predicting BEV adoption, including range anxiety and the self-identity of potential BEV adopters. People with stronger environmentalist self-identities are more likely to express intent to adopt a BEV, yet the extent to which lifestyle reliance on car travel may dampen this intent has not yet been explored. Lifestyle reliance on car travel can be considered in terms of perceived mobility needs – the extent to which people perceive that they need a car to complete their daily tasks, and the extent to which they perceive that they need a car to undertake occasional long-distance travel. This lifestyle reliance may differ from, or predict, range anxiety; prior work has found that higher levels of range anxiety are typically driven by psychological factors, such as need for control, rather than actual range available in a BEV.

This seminar use survey data to examine the links between identity, lifestyle reliance on cars, and range anxiety, to build a more complete picture of whether it is technology limits or perceptions that limit BEV adoption.

About the speaker

Dr Lee White is part of the ANU Grand Challenge: Zero Carbon Energy for the Asia Pacific. Lee’s research relates to understanding how systems can be changed to increase clean technology adoption, including policies that can make distributed generation more accessible to individuals. Her past work has examined how local governments can remove financial and regulatory barriers to residential solar installation, and how electricity systems can be transformed to include more intermittent renewable generation.