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EV Insights What are the most commonly asked questions when it comes to electric vehicles?

The UK government recently announced that new sales of petrol and diesel cars are set to end in the UK by 2035, in a bid to achieve net-zero emissions, and while sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are certainly on the up, the uptake has yet to really kick into gear.

Some of the barriers that are preventing people from going electric include the cost and the lack of charging infrastructure, but what are the main questions that people have when it comes to EVs? We’ve turned to Google search data to find out.

Most common electric vehicle questions

Buying an electric car is still a pretty new experience for most of us, who have spent our lives filling up at the petrol station, so it’s a pretty big change!

With that in mind, people often have a lot of questions when it comes to buying an electric car, with concerns over charging and range anxiety, as well as how much all of this is going to cost and even just how it works!

Here are the most common questions when it comes to the broader issues on electric cars.

1. What is a hybrid car? - 395,400 annual searches

It’s often the simplest questions that get asked the most, and the most Googled query surrounding electric cars was “what is a hybrid car?”, with just under 400,000 searches in the last year.

You may have heard the term hybrid flying around when it comes to cars, but what does it actually mean?

Hybrid vehicles combine a regular petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor, so they consume a lot less fuel and are much better for the environment, but aren’t fully electric.

Hybrids usually have a variety of power modes to choose from too so you can alternate between optimising efficiency or performance.

Best of all, they don’t need charging up as they charge their own batteries (with the exception of plug-in hybrids).

2. How to charge electric cars? - 384,500 annual searches

Unlike hybrids, fully electric cars need to be charged up to be able to run, which you can do by plugging them into a charging point.

Most people will have a charging system installed at home, although public charging stations exist in an increasing number of places around the country, including service stations, supermarkets and some workplaces.

There are three types of chargers: slow, fast and rapid, with rapid chargers usually only found in places such as service stations. They’re more expensive to use but can quickly get you up to speed if you’re on a long journey and need a quick boost to get you to your destination.

3. How long does it take to charge an electric car? - 239,300 annual searches

The answer to this question depends on a couple of factors such as which of the types of charger mentioned above you’re using, as well as the size of your car’s battery, with larger batteries taking longer to charge.

To give you a rough idea, a slow charger will take around 13 hours to fully charge, but this decreases to just a couple of hours for a fast charger and just 30 minutes for a rapid one.

4. How much does it cost to charge an electric car? - 178,600 annual searches

Much like the previous question, this depends on the size of your car’s battery and again, a larger battery means a more expensive charge.

For example, Compare the Market research found that to fully charge a Tesla Model S costs around £13.27 in the UK.

However, if you want an exact figure for your own vehicle, you’ll need to multiply the size of your battery (in kWh) by the amount that you pay for your electricity (pence per kWh).

5. How do hybrid cars work? - 153,800 annual searches

Going a little deeper into exactly how hybrid cars function, they use two methods of propulsion, a combustion engine and an electric motor, but the different types of hybrid all work slightly differently.

For example, a parallel hybrid car uses both of these propulsion systems, either independently or together, usually using the electric motor when pulling away, before the petrol engine kicks in as you start to accelerate.

Range extender hybrids only use their petrol or diesel engine to generate electricity for the electric motor, whereas plug-in hybrids can be plugged in to charge their batteries and are effectively a halfway point between a regular hybrid and fully electric.

Most common questions about electric vehicle brands and models

If you’ve managed to answer the basic questions and decided that you’re ready to buy an electric car, the next big step is to decide which make and model you want to go with, which can throw up all manner of other questions too.

From technical questions to which are simply the best and cheapest to buy and run, here are the most common questions about specific brands and models of electric cars, although as you can see, the vast majority are about one brand in particular, Tesla.

1. What is a Tesla Supercharger? - 8,654,000 annual searches

There were also a large number of searches relating to specific electric vehicle makes and models, specifically for Teslas, with an incredible 8.65 million searches in the last twelve months for “what is a Tesla Supercharger”.

Superchargers are Tesla’s own system of public rapid chargers that allows you to charge while on the go, charging in around 30 minutes, with over 2,500 stations and 25,000 chargers around the world.

2. How much is a Tesla S? - 1,882,000 annual searches

A very simple and easy one to answer here! The Tesla Model S starts at £87,980 for the Long Range version and £118,980 for the Plaid model.

3. Who owns Tesla? - 1,239,500 annual searches

Almost as well known as the revolutionary electric vehicles that the company makes is Tesla’s owner, Elon Musk.

As well as founding Tesla, Musk also started the SpaceX commercial space rocket manufacturer SpaceX and is known for his outspoken use of Twitter.

4. How to charge a Tesla?- 1,095,000 annual searches

As with any other electric vehicle, a Tesla can be charged by being plugged into a charging point, either at home or on the road.

As previously mentioned, Tesla also has its own global charging network of Superchargers too and you can also monitor and control charging from your phone too.

5. How long does it take to charge a Tesla? - 512,600 annual searches

Charging a Tesla depends on the model you’re driving and the type of charger that you’re using, but according to Electrek, it can take between eight and twelve hours to charge a Tesla at home on a Tesla home charger, although if you’re using a public Supercharger, they should reach full charge in between 15 and 25 minutes.

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All search volumes relate to the number of annual Google searches made globally between June 2020 and May 2021.