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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