A new survey shows that while early adopters of electric vehicles bought them for environmental reasons and values, the switch to electric drove them further along a sustainability journey.
These findings come from this month's survey by Flip the Fleet, a citizen science coalition of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle owners that upload data from their vehicles to a communal database each month.
Over half (59%) of the 312 respondents to the survey “strongly agreed” or “agreed" that owning an electric vehicle had spurred them to take other steps towards a more sustainable life like reducing waste, planting trees, reducing air travel and especially installing solar panels.
Flip the Fleet co-founder Henrik Moller says, “Mainly environmentalists have bought electric vehicles so far, but even these committed greenies have gone harder to reduce their environmental footprint since buying their electric vehicles.
“Once mainstream families and businesses buy electric vehicles, they also start to become more aware of other ways that they can help the environment at the same time as scoring a cheap, reliable, and really good drive.
“Installing solar panels is a natural next step once you have an electric vehicle, or a good added reason to buy one in the first place, reducing personal air travel is a lot harder for many people.
Flip the Fleet calculates the monthly savings of greenhouse gas emissions from each family's car, and what the equivalent of that is in terms of offsetting air travel.
Many other surveyed owners saw buying an electric vehicle very much as the end of an already well-advanced journey to become more sustainable.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says the survey results are encouraging.
Moller continues, “We are more than doubling the number of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in New Zealand every year.
“But it won't be enough to just have existing environmentalists buy electric vehicles.
“Sooner or later this green wave of uptake is going to slow or even stall unless policy and investment make EVs so cheap and practical that nearly everyone wants one.
Flip the Fleet is a citizen science project that provides information on the benefits and constraints of electric vehicles in New Zealand.
The project is partly funded by EECA, The New Zealand Government's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.