The largest study of electric vehicle drivers in Europe, carried out by Shell Recharge Solutions, reveals that the majority of EV drivers (72%) agree mass adoption of EVs is essential to protect the environment, and three quarters of EV drivers (75%) cited the driving experience and EV technology as major reasons for going electric.

And according to the respondents, the most important drivers for mass EV adoption would be improved battery range, followed by lower initial purchase costs of an electric vehicle and better charge point availability.

The survey reveals that over half (55%) of EV drivers are concerned about lack of charging infrastructure and consider their charging experience to be currently suboptimal – typified by a perceived lack of chargers and the inability to access those chargers.

In addition, only a third of respondents say highway chargers are meeting the charging speeds they need, a figure that lowers to one-in-five for retail and hospitality locations.

The survey also found that over half of EV drivers now carry four or more cards to access public charging infrastructure, an increase of 21% from last year. Regardless of how many cards EV drivers currently use, interoperability is a major draw. More than half of respondents said they would be willing to pay an additional amount for access to all charging infrastructure with just one card.

As EV adoption and range increase, the issue of the number of charge-cards is even more significant for the 40% EV drivers who have travelled to European countries, with two-in-five reporting they faced challenges with accessing charging while doing so. Furthermore, 65% of drivers would more frequently visit destination locations based on the availability of charging, where over half (54%) of drivers say the availability of charge points influences where they shop and travel.

The number-one reason for going electric was environmental impact, though this is down to 35% from 38% in last year’s survey. The trend that EV drivers expect their next vehicle to be a pure battery electric has deepened considerably this year, with three-quarters planning on buying a BEV as their next vehicle, up from 62% last year. The proportion of those thinking of going back to traditional combustion engine vehicles has halved from four to two percent.

Melanie Lane, CEO of Shell Recharge Solutions Europe says, “The industry needs to understand the challenges of EV drivers in order to facilitate mass adoption and that’s why the findings of our survey are critical. It’s clear that there is a growing passion for EVs, where drivers are motivated by technology, cost, and sustainability, but it’s also evident that the lack of a good user experience remains a key barrier to mass adoption. To continue momentum and encourage further EV adoption, these issues must be addressed. Drivers should feel they have access to sufficient charge points with a convenient, seamless and reliable charging experience. By focusing on improving the user experience, we are choosing to listen to drivers, and we are encouraging the industry to join us.”