New study by Castrol reveals EVs are nearly at their tipping point

Tesla has sold more than 1,000,000 electric vehicles (EVs) since the first releasing the Model S in 2012.

Despite this, EVs still have a long way to go until they are seen as equivalent, or better than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.

So far the general consumer hasn’t fully embraced the electric vehicle, with fears of range anxiety and high price keeping many from buying an EV as their next car.

But how far away are we from mass-market adoption, and the final death-knell of the legacy auto industry? A new study by Castrol (yes, an oil company) reveals EVs are closing in quickly on that tipping point.

The study, titled “The Tipping Point to Mainstream Electric Vehicle Adoption” was conducted between December 2019 and January 2020. The findings were based on the interviews with 9,000 consumers, 750 fleet managers and transport managers, and 30 automotive industry professionals from China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Norway, the UK and the US.

According to the results of the study, there are five critical tipping points (listed in order of importance) that would bring about mainstream EV adoption.


Unsurprisingly, price was deemed the most important factor for consumers to switch to EVs. In some parts of the world, consumers are willing to pay more, while others would need a much cheaper EV to make the switch.

In Japan they are prepared to pay as much as $43,000 USD ($56,200 CAD) , while those in the UK said $30,000 USD ($39,200) was their tipping point.

Across all markets surveyed, the average price for mass market EV adoption was found to be $36,000 USD ($47,000 CAD).

Charge Time

Despite the fact that most EV owners charge at home, one of the main criticisms of EVs continues to be the long time required to fully charge the battery.

To consider purchasing an EV, the study found the magic number would be an average charge time of 31 minutes.

Range Anxiety

Despite the majority of drivers driving their vehicles less than 100km (62 miles) each day, range anxiety continues to be high on the list for potential EV owners.

According to the study, 469km (291 miles) was considered to be the ideal range, and one that would drivers make the switch to electric. In the US, the average was much higher at 513km (318 miles).

Charging Infrastructure and Vehicle Choice

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case, extensive charging infrastructure or lots of EVs to choose from?

According to the study, 70% of respondents believe EVs will become mainstream when there charging stations are as accessible as gas stations. Further, 64% said they would consider buying an EV if the infrastructure supported their driving habits.

There was also a strong likelihood to buy an EV, with 54% saying they would buy one if there was a model available equivalent to their favourite gas vehicle.

Where does that leave us?

In reading through these tipping points, you might be wondering why we haven’t seen a greater adoption of EVs since the top three concerns have already been matched, or surpassed in today’s EV marketplace.

The problem is all three are available, but not in an all-in-one package.

The Tesla Model S can get a market-leading 649km (402 miles) on a single charge, but it comes in at over $100,000 CAD. Tesla’s V3 Superchargers can get you to 80% charge in less than 30 minutes, but again don’t sell for less than $36,000 and have a range of more than 469km (291 miles).

But the future is certainly bright, as Tesla has pushed several other automakers to grow their EV presence, with many promising multiple models in the coming years.

And with Tesla’s Battery Day event on the horizon, who knows what the picture will look like next year.

You can read the full study here.

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