PlugShare Research: Public Charging by US EV Drivers Has Fallen Dramatically Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

Declines appear to be linked to steep drops in daily commuting

El Segundo | Sept 10, 2020

According to a survey of 927 US electric vehicle (EV) drivers by PlugShare Research over Labor Day weekend, 53% say they charge in public less now than before the pandemic. The drop is dramatic: the average decline in public charging reported by these drivers is 67%.

Like all drivers, EV drivers are staying closer to home and driving less while waiting out the pandemic, led by big declines in commuting. The survey found that before the pandemic, 60% of EV drivers drove to work daily, compared to only 30% now.

Overall, 74% of all EV drivers say they are driving fewer total miles since COVID-19 struck in March 2020. For this group, the average decline in miles driven was 56%.

Another effect of the drop in EV driving: a 9% increase in the number of drivers who do most charging at home, from an already-high 75% at pre-pandemic levels, to 84% now.

“Public charging networks are likely feeling the pinch across the board”, said PlugShare’s Chief Strategy Officer, Norman Hajjar. “We suspect that things might be somewhat less rough for DC fast-charge dominant networks compared with Level 2 AC dominant networks. Our data suggests that drivers are avoiding air-travel in favor of passenger vehicles for long-distance trips, so that’s at least one positive sign for fast-charger usage."

“While post-COVID-19 EV driving is way down, we’re actually seeing a record number of registrations for our PlugShare EV driver app”, Hajjar added. “Worldwide registrations were up 56% in August versus last year, and we just crossed the 1 million registered driver mark”.

About PlugShare Driver Research

Founded in 2013, PlugShare Research supplies custom survey and qualitative research design, analysis, and syndicated reports to automakers, utilities, regulators, charging networks, financial analysts, and the rest of the plug-in vehicle industry. It operates PlugInsights, the world’s largest EV driver survey research panel, PlugInsights, now with over 63,000 drivers in North America.

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