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That bad habit some men have of seeing how far they can go when the "empty" fuel light is on? Many challenge their electric vehicles in the same way. Some things don't change.

Men and women approach driving plug-in vehicles differently, according to a report by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Researchers interviewed early adopters of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S in 2011 and 2012. One of the findings in the 18-page study was that women appreciated the practicality of paying a fraction of the refueling costs compared to gasoline, while men were likely to approach the practice as a research and development opportunity. The study participants were all in California (Los Angeles and San Diego), which makes sense given the focus at the time.

The researchers found that the men involved in the study often explored just how far they could go on a charge before the plug-in conked out. Women, on the other hand, generally made sure that there was at least two to three times the necessary juice in the battery before embarking on their quiet voyage.

Last fall, multiple reports surfaced on gender habits in terms of buying plug-ins and suggested that women were about twice as likely to buy a Nissan Leaf as they were the year before, while the Tesla Model S remained almost exclusively a man's car. Whatever the vehicle in question, the UC Davis report says that, "gender represents the learned behaviors associated with masculinity and femininity. Increased mobility among women is construed as a challenge to these traditional gender ideologies."

You can find an abstract of and a link to the UC Davis study here, the details start on page 8.


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  • 15 Comments
      Ben Crockett
      • 10 Months Ago
      That sounds exactly like me at the moment. I purchased my first EV a PHEV Mitsubishi Outlander just last week and I have been pushing the range of the vehicle in EV mode and Series mode to try to push the long distance (beyond EV only range) efficiency though different driving techniques, regen, timing of switching to Series mode etc. Could say I have 'petrol anxiety'.
      Eggshen
      • 10 Months Ago
      I hope it was not taxpayers dollars that paid for this waste of time study.
        Joeviocoe
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Eggshen
        Um... where do you see that? UC Davis pays for lots of things with students tuition money.
        GoodCheer
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Eggshen
        Yeah, because knowing things about stuff is for commies!
          Eggshen
          • 10 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          And just who besides auto marketing managers has a need for this information?
          paulwesterberg
          • 10 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          CARB and other regulatory bodies that form public transportation policies. Companies interested in building fast charger networks, utilities, etc.
      BraveLil'Toaster
      • 10 Months Ago
      This study is terrible! And no conclusions drawn from it should be used as fact for the basis of anything at all! 1) They were studying a grand total of 15 people, 4 women and 11 men. This alone means that you cannot generalize to the greater population any of the study's conclusions. 2) The number of women in the study is less than half of the men, and less than 1/3 of the total sample size. Not that this really matters for a study of a grand total of 15 people. 3) Every last one of the study's subjects was an early beta tester for the Mini-E. 4) It was done in 2011, when very few people had any experience with EVs at all, never mind the test subjects. It was also a time when there was little charging infrastructure to speak of beyond what the testers had in their own garages. And yes, all of them had their own garages, because it was a requirement of the Mini-E program. 5) I don't think they studied people's attitudes over a long period of time, but I couldn't really tell from the parts of the study I read. I also gave up on reading most of it because of the statistics and methodologies used. So the 4 women in this study were more cautious about their driving range because... what? Women are more cautious? Or they only studied 4 women, all of whom were more cautious than the men? And the women never went on trips where they didn't have at least two or three times as much range as they needed? Other studies have shown that over time, people get more comfortable about the potential range of their vehicles, especially when they learn about charging infrastructure in their area. As an added bonus, modern infrastructure completely erases any range anxiety if you live in the right place. In the UK and Ireland for example, you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere to go that isn't within easy reach of a DCQC, whereas in Alberta, you're basically stuck in your metropolitan area, and that's only if you're the intrepid sort who doesn't mind having to stop to charge for 4 hours before continuing on with whatever else you wanted to do. In Ireland, you could literally drive a Leaf the entire length of the island *and back* in less than a day and never be more than about 50 km from any DCQC. But this study instead focuses on "the difference in attitudes to EVs between men and women". It couldn't possibly be more wrong, in my opinion.
      Christopher Evans
      • 10 Months Ago
      So no performance anxiety when it comes to their electric vehicles...
      Letstakeawalk
      • 10 Months Ago
      Just the other day I was explaining to my wife that even when the light comes on, her car still has about 50 miles of range left...
      imag
      • 10 Months Ago
      Consistently stretching the range will reduce battery life. If you can recharge, you should.
        Joeviocoe
        • 10 Months Ago
        @imag
        That depends on the EV. Some have larger buffers than others.
      eric
      • 10 Months Ago
      I must be somewhat feminine, lol. I have no urge to push the range limit on my EV, and it's a rare occasion when I don't stop to charge before the battery is 50% depleted.
        eric
        • 10 Months Ago
        @eric
        Of course, my car does go over 100 miles on a charge.
      paulwesterberg
      • 10 Months Ago
      84 miles is the longest trip I have taken our leaf on. It could have probably done a few more in turtle mode before it shut down completely.
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