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DIMO Insights #2 - How compatible are EVs to your driving habits?

December 30, 2022
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TLDR:

  • With tax credits about to ramp up for both new and used EVs in the US, many drivers are considering a switch from gas or diesel (ICE) vehicles.

  • DIMO can use your gas driving data to score your compatibility with an EV, showing how often you’d need to charge if you went electric.

  • 63% of gas powered drivers could go over a month at a time without ever having to rely on a public charger

  • 25% of gas powered vehicles on DIMO (176 out of 715) scored an A+ for EV compatibility. With a $1K level 2 charger and a 250 mile (400km) range EV, they would never need to charge away from home.

  • Even with just one charger at home, most drivers would need to stop for away-from-home fueling far less often than they currently do with their gas or diesel vehicles.


Introduction

Let’s face it, EV chargers today kind of suck. They’re slow, not reliable in the cold, and an overall inconvenience compared to filling up at the pump. Yes, an EV can save you hundreds on gas, but at what cost?

What gas powered car drivers don’t understand is that you could go weeks if not months without using a public charger, getting by on cheap, convenient home charging alone.

Range anxiety is the gas car driver’s fear that owning an EV would ruin their driving experience. This fear is cited over and over again in surveys, preventing many people from converting to electric vehicles. But the data we have shows the concern is way overblown.

With DIMO data, we’re able to prove that nearly two thirds of gas car drivers could benefit massively from owning an EV by avoiding visits to the pump and chargers alike - without significantly changing their driving patterns.

In DIMO Insights #1, we used DIMO data to show that EV owners rarely get below 25% charge.

Today we’re exploring two things:

1. What does the average car usage look like, and how would that affect your fueling habits with an EV?

2. How often would gas car drivers expect to truly have to charge away from home if they switched to EV and kept their same driving patterns?

We have found that drivers are typically home long enough to charge their EV’s battery sufficiently for the next trip. To put this another way, your car is usually parked long enough between trips to charge up enough for the next one, not too different from keeping your cell phone charged between leaving the house.


A Day in the Life of An Example Driver

Below is an actual gas powered vehicle's DIMO data, which shows its usage throughout a 4 day weekend. For the sake of the experiment, we're going to pretend this is an EV to help visualize this driver's hypothetical charging habits. Over the course of the 4 days, the driver takes 3 trips, all from home (marked in red).

Before these trips, let's assume this "EV" is fully charged to start with only a 250 mile (400 km) range.

For the first trip, the driver drives for about 210 miles (337 km) round trip over the course of a day. The driver made numerous stops along the way, probably visiting friends/family or perhaps a work site. After driving 210 miles, the remaining range is now down to 40 miles, but the vehicle is plugged in when it arrives back home.

Within 4-10 hours of charging at home on a level 2 charger, the battery would fully recharge back to a 250 mile range. The car was plugged in for just over 15 hours, so plenty of time to spare.


Second trip, the driver goes only 8 miles round trip. Most likely to run a quick errand. The car is plugged in again at home, making up those 8 miles in no time.


For the third trip, the driver drives 40 miles round trip in a 12 hour period. A quick commute. Arriving back home, the car is plugged in, the car is back to a full charge in 1-2 hours.


So, even though at home charging is slow, the driver benefits from being able to "refuel" every day at home. For drivers that have similar habits, it's easy to say this is a much more convenient, and affordable, alternative than a once a week visit to the pump.

If we're creating an EV Compatibility Score, this driver would score an A+. But what if your driving habits are different than pictured above?

Creating an EV Compatibility Score

100% EV Compatible Drivers (A+)

176 out of 715 ICE vehicle drivers (about 25%) would never need to charge away from home if they had an electric vehicle with a 400 kilometer (250 mile) range and a level 2 charger (about $1000) at home! Just imagine never going to the gas station again — that’s what an EV and an inexpensive L2 charger could provide.

Highly EV Compatible (B+ → A)

What if you’re not in the lucky 25% who don’t take long roadtrips? On average, about 58% of people would only charge as frequently as 1x per two weeks, and most, way less frequently.

This leaves only about another quarter of drivers (26%) fueling roughly as frequently as typical gas drivers (from a couple of times per week to once every two weeks). This is incredible. For more than 75% of drivers, an EV would be significantly more convenient and require little to no behavior change once an at-home charger is installed.

We should note, we’re generalizing drivers here. We intend to do further analysis utilizing driver personas. EVs Make a ton of sense for commuters, and the data would probably show even better results if we just focused on those drivers.

Less EV Compatible (C → B)

By contrast, people working in their cars or who take long weekend road trips (or have other types of driving patterns) would probably see a different outcome, and we’d recommend a different EV with a larger battery and more robust L3 charging network (like a Tesla).




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Written by: Jeremy Lerner Senior Data Science Consultant

Jeremy Lerner is a Senior Data Scientist consulting with DIMO. He helped design Ford's BlueCruise and has published several papers and patents on how to utilize connected vehicle data to understand drivers and improve the driving experience. Data-driven simulations are Jeremy's natural playground.

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