Ford Authority

Study Finds That EV Owners Drive Half The Miles Of Everyone Else

A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) indicates that EV owners only put around half the number of miles on their vehicles as the average driver. The research was conducted in an effort to determine if EV owners are actually driving their vehicles, though it used calculations based on the increase in home energy usage from homes with EVs in California as its data point.

The research team combined billions of hourly electric meter measurements with EV registration records in California and found that EVs increase household electricity consumption by 2.9-kilowatt-hours per day – less than half the amount assumed by state regulators. When adjusted to account for presumed out-of-home charging, that equates to around 5,300 miles traveled per year, roughly half of what ICE-powered vehicle owners cover in that same time frame.

Granted, this data was not obtained through actual odometer readings or service records. The estimates come from roughly 10 percent of Pacific Gas & Electric’s residential meters, compared with EV registration records from 2014 through 2017, a number that totals 57,290 electric vehicles. Researchers then calculated how much extra electricity was used after the EV was purchased, which came out to 0.12 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per hour or 2.9 kilowatt-hours per day.

Regardless, this is an interesting piece of research that raises a lot of questions, mainly, why are EV owners not driving nearly as much as those that own gas-powered vehicles? It’s possible that more owners are charging their vehicles outside of the home, especially since EV makers generally offer a number of free charges with a purchase. Ford Mustang Mach-E owners, for example, get two years of free access to the FordPass Charging Network.

If anything, it doesn’t appear that EV owners are driving their cars less because they don’t like them. In fact, a new survey from Plug In America (PIA) found that 96 percent are likely to purchase another EV as their next new vehicle and that the majority of them also charge at public stations at least some of the time.

We’ll have many more EV data points to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.


Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Njia

    Did U.S. taxpayers fund this farce? The study authors don’t seem like the brightest bulbs in the bunch. By the logic used to reach their conclusions, owners of ICE-powered vehicles don’t drive at all because no one gases up at home.

    1. Motorpsychology

      Doesn’t PG&E supply power to the public and Institutional (plug in at work etc.) charging stations as well? How many kilowatt-hours are those using? Why wasn’t that data included in their study? Maybe the study is actually showing that BEV/PHEV owners are charging at home only half the time.

  2. Jason

    Or maybe, people who drive less are more likely to purchase an EV. Or… or… or…

    This is so unscientific, as there are so many variables to take into account. Stop making assumptions that fit the data. Make a hypothesis, then test the hypothesis with real-world science, data, and information.

  3. GeorgeS

    Anyone deciding for a new career or what to do for for the next 30-40 years? Get your electrician’s license. Yes, it will take about 4-5 years to qualify to take the test, more importantly do all you can to learn charging systems for EV’s. In this time frame gas stations will need to convert over at least part or all to EV support. Public charging stations are being built now all over the country. Because the charge time will be longer than to pump gas, more charge stations will be needed. Public charge stations, as I have seen near shopping centers, people will park at the charge station then go shopping or to a restaurant.
    But what about home charging? All of the EV hype advertising for EV is never mention this expense if you want to charge your vehicle at home. 120v plug in units will be a very slow charge. I can see in the future that home builders will install EV chargers in homes as an option or as an incentive. A few years ago the NEC added vehicle home charging systems to the electrical code book. For the future, electricians demands will be greater than now.

  4. John Pero

    Here’s a data point. I can drive 450 miles before I have to fill up my X4 and even then it takes all of 5 minutes and I am on the road again. Until an EV can accomplish that then it is useless to me while visiting my grandchildren who live 600 and 1500 miles away.

    Do not get me wrong, an EX is a wonderful vehicle for commuting and other short drives where the electrical grid can be drawn off of at non-peak nighttime (but electricity itself is generated at night predominantly by fossil fuels) can replace the consumption of fossil fuels directly at a rate of 15 mpg. But nowhere yet has any EV supplier become able to match not only the range or the refilling of fuel for extended driving.

    My proposal of a tagalong battery trailer for an EV has yet to see the light of day. Fact is that a trailer battery could, due to lack of passenger compartment requirements, be larger and of greater capacity than the internal battery in the vehicle itself. Then we could easily see an EV with such extended range that a 600 mile trip could be accomplished non-stop (for fuel), whith plenty of amp hours to spare

  5. Mark L Bedel

    As per above, I’m not surprised at all. Until EV’s become more popular and charging stations and the larger network become more commonplace, I would assume that many won’t have the comfort level needed for longer forays.

  6. Motorpsychology

    Doesn’t PG&E supply power to at least some of the public charging stations ? Why wasn’t this data included in the study? Maybe it actually shows that BEV/PHEV owners charge at home only half the time and drive about as many miles as anybody.

  7. David P Giles

    After I buy one (likely within the next year or so), I’ll drive an EV twice as much as any ICE vehicle I might still own. However, that presumes I’ll have installed a level 2 charger in my garage – which I of course will. Having said that, I fully understand why so many people are reluctant to buy EVs. Until there’s a robust infrastructure in place and charging times improve, the ability to simply gas and go in 5 minutes is hard to beat.

  8. Bruce Farber

    Garbage analysis. Bad data source, bad interpretation of data, bad assumptions and therefore bad conclusions. Headline clickbait, though! I am sure this “study” will get a lot of undeserved press. I owned a PHEV for over 5 years, charged half of the miles at work. Would that have been included in this “study”? They included years 2014 to 2017, and found 59,000 EV’s in one small use area? Garbage data. Most “EV’s” classified by California DMV records back in that time frame we not full battery electrics – most were PHEV’s with relatively short electric range. Even though I used my EV car 12,000 miles per year, about half of that use was all-electric. EV usage has doubled a couple of times since 2017. This “story” should be killed, or headline changed to: “Garbage Study Reveals Stupidity of NBER Researchers”…

  9. Jean-Francois Rivard

    Because it’s as far as they can go! LoL. 😉 Seriously, most (Like I did) have other vehicles for the “Real” driving. The electric cars are (Still) mostly local errands / grocery getter cars. I kinda miss my Electric Focus, perfect money saving grocery getter.

  10. Kathleen

    I am considering an EV, I don’t put a lot of miles on my car and don’t do many long distance trips. I also own another vehicle Hybrid that is used most frequently. That vehicle still has only 48000 miles and is over 10 years old. EV’s make sense for my driving, which is probably the case for other EV owners.


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