42% Of Brits Are Confused – Think Electric Cars Can’t Go In A Car Wash

JUL 3 2018 BY MARK KANE 54

Say what?

Go Ultra Low, the industry and government campaign to promote plug-in electric cars in the UK, found out that there are a lot of myths connected EVs in the country.

Black Tesla Model 3 Getting Washed

One of those issues is that apparently, 42% of Brits don’t know if you can put an electric car through a car wash – it’s electric right? And electricity and water surely don’t mix.

Well, the Foolproof Guide To Electric Driving comes to mind immediately as the wash the car topic was illustrated quite entertainingly.

The latest research shows that market potential is even bigger than previously anticipated, because people simply don’t know much about electric cars. UK motorists underestimate the benefits of EVs:

  • 47% of people think that petrol or diesel cars accelerate faster than pure electric
  • 25% think EVs are more expensive to maintain
  • 42% of Brits aren’t sure if you can put a pure electric car through a car wash
  • 52% of Brits saying they wouldn’t be able to describe what an EV is to someone else

Here are some details on the survey:

“New research published today by Go Ultra Low1 has revealed that there is a huge amount of misunderstanding within the British public when it comes to pure electric cars, with many unaware of the benefits around performance, charging and cost.

One of the biggest areas of confusion is whether you can put an electric car through a car wash. While this is no issue – just as with a petrol or diesel car – 42% of Brits admit they aren’t sure if this is an option for pure electric car owners.

As well as this, half of Brits (52%) think they wouldn’t be able to describe what a pure electric car (a car powered solely by a battery) is to someone else. Underestimating the performance is also commonplace. Nearly half (47%) think a petrol or diesel car accelerates quicker than a pure electric, even though, in many cases, the opposite is true.

Cost is a big area where people are also undervaluing their potential: 1 in 4 (25%) of Brits think that, over the lifetime of the car, maintenance costs are higher for pure electric cars than they are for petrol or diesel, when in fact a pure electric can cost around 70% less2. Brits also believe it’s significantly more expensive to charge one than it actually is. On average, people think it costs £21.54 to fully charge a pure electric car, even though charging at home could cost as little as £3.643

Most underestimate the number of models available for purchase – the average Brit thinks there are just nine models currently available in the UK, nearly half the correct figure (17) – and 42% of Brits think there are fewer than 15,000 pure electric cars on UK roads when there are already nearly 40,000.

Many Brits don’t realise how many charge points there are throughout the UK. On average they think there are only 6,000 charge point connectors, when actually there are more than twice that amount, at around 17,0004.

There’s also confusion about the different methods for charging a pure electric car – over a quarter don’t realise you can charge an electric car through a charge point installed at home (29%).”

“The survey asked respondents to answer questions regarding their knowledge of pure electric cars, which are powered purely by a battery and electric motor, not featuring an internal combustion engine. It did not ask questions regarding plug-in hybrid cars, which are powered by both a battery and electric motor and an internal combustion engine.

  1. Research by OnePoll on behalf of Go Ultra Low in June 2018 with 2,000 people aged 18 and over
  2. Kee Resources, 2017
  3. Based on fully charging a 30kW Nissan LEAF with average overnight electricity rate of 13p per kWh, Source: pod Point
  4. Source: Zap-Map accessed 29/06/2018
  5. Source: Inside EVs
  6. Saving calculated using the Go Ultra Low cost calculator, using a Volkswagen e-Golf vs comparable petrol and diesel-fuelled variants, with an average mileage of 700 miles per month. A hybrid would save around £300 per year in tax and fuel.”

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said:

“The research shows that there is much confusion and misunderstanding with the British public when it comes to pure electric cars. Over half of those surveyed don’t feel confident describing a pure electric car to another person and many aren’t aware of the many benefits electric cars can bring. Pure electric car drivers benefit from lower running costs, convenient charging and high-performance driving, all while producing no tailpipe emissions and helping to improve local air quality. Dispelling these misconceptions and highlighting these perks is therefore vital if we are to see more motorists make the switch to electric motoring.”

Top 5 myths about electric vehicles busted:

  1. Myth: Pure electric cars are slow.

              Fact: Electric cars are quicker off the mark!

While 47% of people think that petrol or diesel cars accelerate faster than pure electric, actually the opposite is true. Because an electric motor can generate power quicker than an internal combustion engine, most pure electric cars accelerate quicker than a petrol or diesel equivalent. The 2018 Nissan Leaf accelerates from 0-60mph in just 7.4 seconds!5

  1. Myth: They’re too expensive.

               Fact: Actually, an electric car could save you money.

Pure electric cars may have higher upfront purchase costs, however you could actually save around £650 a year in tax and fuel if you choose pure electric over petrol or diesel6. And, with maintenance costs also around 70% less over a car’s lifetime, when it comes to your wallet, going electric is a no brainer. The government also provides a grant of up to £4,500 off the purchase of eligible pure electric cars.

  1. Myth: There aren’t enough public charge points.

               Fact: Not true! There are plenty of places to charge your electric car.

The average Brit thinks there are only 6,000 charge point connectors in the UK, when in fact there are more than double this, at 16,738! As well as this, there are rapid chargers at more than 96% of Motorway Service Areas, and the UK has one the largest rapid charge networks in Europe.

  1. Myth: There are only a few of models to choose from.

               Fact: Not anymore! There’s now an electric car for everyone.

When it comes to buying pure electric cars, people don’t realise how much choice there is. Go Ultra Low’s research reveals that the average person thinks there are 9 models to choose from, but in fact there are now 17 pure electric car models available for purchase in the UK.

  1. Myth: Pure electric cars are a technology for the future!

               Fact: Here in the UK, the switch to electric has already begun

Though the average person in the UK thinks that pure electric cars are still a novelty on our roads, many motorists are already driving zero emission electric cars. There are nearly 40,000 already on the roads today and this figure is on the rise – around 6,000 have already been registered in the first 5 months of this year.

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54 Comments on "42% Of Brits Are Confused – Think Electric Cars Can’t Go In A Car Wash"

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42% think you may not be able to put an EV through a car wash. They must have heard about all those EV drivers who were electrocuted during heavy rains. Oh wait…

No one is left to tell the story 🙁

Yeah, it’s not like shorting out a 100KW-hour battery pack could have consequences…

https://www . bloomberg . com/news/articles/2018-05-15/electric-car-era-threatens-firefighters-with-new-roadside-risks

Are you under the mistaken impression that ICE cars haven’t been burning for decades?

You want to know what scares the F’ing crap out of firefighters? It is Gas delivery Truck fires, and Oil Refinery Fires, and Oil drilling fires.


Don’t forget the exploding suspension, hood and trunk gas struts.
“The cylinder end of the strut shot out through the engine compartment and grille and pierced Marsh’s bunker gear and upper leg. The strut was so hot it actually cauterized his wound as it passed through. Just missing his femur, it exited through the back of his leg and was found 50 feet down the road.”

Or the plastic gas tanks that melt and dump tens of gallons of fuel at the firefighter’s feet.

Wait ’til someone rolls a Toyota Mirai and the hydrogen tanks don’t pop until they put it on the trailer. That’s gonna leave a mark.

Firefighters are PAID to be nervous, you call it “survival.” In general, electric cars aren’t more dangerous, they’re just different. The electrons don’t fall out of the pack onto the roadway and catch fire, for instance.

The kevlar and carbon-fibre wrapped tanks will be the last signs left of humanity after the inevitable nuclear holocaust resulting from the last fight over remaining fossil fuels. I suspect they are literally bomb proof…

They have a 15 year lifespan, and then must be disposed of. They literally have a “Do not use after” date on them.

Are you predicting the inevitable nuclear holocaust within the next 15 years?

Yeah, emergency responders have heard all those horror stories about firemen and police officers electrocuted while trying to rescue someone trapped in an EV..

Oh, wait…

FUDster Troll rating: 2

And Mr Sabatini is completly clueless about EV.
He his the exeption here that confirm the rule.
BTW, this informative video about the lack of EV’s knowledge, date back to january 2016.

So much progress have been made since…oh wait!

-delete me-

I wonder how long it’ll take before people realize that you’re more likely to be stuck in a gas car because you ran out of battery than an electric one.

Not if you know how to push

Only pregnant women know how to do that

I think the trickier bit is explaining the different car charging levels and how to adjust the way you think about fueling up your car.

People,don’t understand all the different charging types and standards. A lot of new terms for people. DCFC, Level 2, ChaDeMo, CCS, Supercharger, etc.

To this I would add another myth: “Electric cars would not sell if they were not subsidized by the government”.

I’m so embarrassed, being a Brit. 🙁

I had some of my ‘smart’ colleagues at work say there would be a problem going through floods. Don’t know if they were sort of joking but a video of a LEAF ploughing easily through really deep water put them right.

It’s not hard to work out. Greased connectors. No air intake and impossible to stall makes them better than ICE in water.

Not sure I would be so fast on that one. Insulators degrade with age as well, it would not be that difficult to imagine water in a flooded car finding an open terminal. You probably are safe in a flooded vehicle primarily by self bias more than any other factor. self bias = current wants to flow between positive and negative terminals on its source. Thus to be electrocuted, you need contact both terminals of a current source. Batteries are self contained potentials, meaning that you cannot be shocked unless you get between the terminals of THAT battery. You get shocked by 110v power because they ground it, thus you get shocked by the path though your feet to ground. This is why power line workers in an insulated bucket truck can work on power lines barehanded. If you put, say, a car battery in water it will try to short between the terminals and heat up the water, according to the resistance of the water. You have, if you wet your fingers, about the same resistance as water. But if you touched a battery underwater, you would be a longer path between terminals than already given by the water,… Read more »

What is the fear of “400 volts DC”?

You are about as likely to get blasted by a modern car’s high energy discharge ignition systems that can be 10,000 volts, 20,000 volt, even 30,000 volts. The battery isn’t the only electrical system in a gas car. The “high voltage” system in ICE cars is by definition high voltage.

hyping the number of volts is pretty pointless fearmongering.

I design electric cars for a living. One mantra you learn early in this business is “it’s not the voltage, it’s the current.” Yeah, 400V is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not what is dangerous. What kills you is the CURRENT going through your body.

On that point, water, even muddy dirty water full of minerals and salts, is a LOUSY conductor. You might be able to short a battery pack out by submerging it, but it’s not gonna pump hundreds of amps through the water, and especially not in an area AROUND the pack.

There was a Tesla Model S that got flooded in Hurricane Harvey. The car is being salvaged right now. As far as I know, the vehicle itself didn’t short out or otherwise destroy the vehicle– the damage that happened to it is the same damage that happens to an ICE car– that is, the interior was growing mold, the underhood electrics got messed up, etc. I don’t believe the pack survived the flooding, but the car didn’t KILL anyone, either.

Ironically, my Model 3 hasn’t seen a carwash since I got it. I’ve discovered waterless washing. Easy and cool to clean my car in the garage and avoid the 95F temperatures outside. It also works will with my ceramic coating: https://www.carpro-us.com/wash/waterless-rinseless-wash/carpro-ech2o-waterless-qd-concentrate-500ml-17oz/

Or the -30F degrees outside.

36 pack of Kirkland micro fiber towels from Costco for $15 has me set for years.

As a Brit I can tell you that non of the above surprises me. There remains limited interest in a technology that most still view as a gimmick. In a low income area like mine no one can afford one even if the running cost was nothing.

The good news is that EV drivers are becoming common in affluent areas and doing a good job of leading by example.

I wash my Model 3 on a weekly basis.

So far.. no issues lol

As long as you don’t touch any metal surface in the car while you’re in the car wash you will be just fine.

Why? Touch all the metal surfaces you want while in the car wash.

Unless you are a Priest and you are in the car with one of your altar boys, you can safely touch anything in your car as much as you want in a car wash.

Why spread FUD that implies in the negative that people shouldn’t touch metal surfaces in the car, when there is no risk involved? There is no reason to tell people not to touch something that is perfectly safe to touch.

I was told that masturbation in an EV while in a car wash is a bad idea LOL

Given that most car washes have cameras to keep the insurance companies happy about incidental damage to customer’s cars, I’d say it doesn’t MATTER what kind of car you’re in.


As long as you don’t pick your nose and touch any metal surface in the car while you’re in the car wash you will be just fine LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

I won’t go into my shtick again about how the biggest hurdle EVs face in the US is consumer psychology/education. People here have likely heard it all before.

But I will say that I’ve heard several questions about and objections to EVs that are as absurd as the car wash thing, and almost all of them can be translated to some variation of “EVs aren’t real cars”. There’s a very significant portion of the car-buying public that won’t go near an EV until it overcomes its ignorance and understand how they work, how capable they are, etc. I am constantly trying to educate people about EVs, and sometimes it feels like I’m filling a swimming pool one tablespoon of water at a time.

I’ve got my tablespoon full of water too…

That’s actually the key to all of this, sadly. The only solution is to spread around the tablespoons and hope as more and more people get tablespoons the pool will fill faster.

Sadly, most folks won’t buy anything new until enough other people in their lives do it first. Whether it is direct relatives or friends, or complete strangers on the internet giving a review, lots of folks want someone else to take the risk first. As people see neighbors, coworkers, relatives, strangers on the street, etc with EV’s they will slowly follow.

I blame it on human clan/herd instincts that are similar to many other herd animals, where the safest place to be is in the middle of the herd.

Trying to explain that refilling an electric car is easy because you can walk away and do something else is simple and inversely impossible.

People just can’t rap their heads around the fact that overnight charging will continue even when you are asleep. Or that 40 minutes at a rapid charger on a long journey will continue while you have a poo extra.

Someone asked me in all seriousness if I overfill it with electricity, will electricity start pouring out of the tank …. At least it’s not 42% of the population thinking things like that.

I drove a bunch of co-workers to lunch in my Honda Fit EV. One of the guys I worked with (and I was working at an ELECTRIC CAR COMPANY at the time, folks) looked around the interior of the car and said “Huh. It’s just like a regular car.”

To which I replied “Did you THINK I was taking a golf cart up on the freeway every morning?”

I then punched up Sport mode and slammed his head into the headrest at the first stoplight.

great story! The Fit EV was a good car. Hopefully the reboot works out.

Love it !

What electric car company?

I don’t know how the smart Brits deal with this S@#$ on a routine basis. All that I can say is “wow”. What do people think and talk about all day? Kate Middleton’s hats?

Sadly Myth #4 is still true in Australia 🙁 But things are changing!

Yes, 42% of americans were confused too, and they voted for he who must not be mentioned by name

Sure …. gotta make it political.

100% of American were stuck choosing between two losers for president.

“Fact: Not anymore! There’s now an electric car for everyone.”

2 seater sports car?
Estate / station wagon
Need to tow?
Want it within a month or so rather than a 6 month – 2 year wait ?

BTW, I drive an EV but I am not blind to the fact there’s much less choice in body shapes and types than with ICE cars at present.

p.s. this level of ignorance is not an issue whilst there are 6 month waits for most EVs. Once we get to a point you can walk into a showroom and buy one for delivery next week, then it would be an issue, but by that point familiarity with neighbours collegues friends cars will have debunked all this nonsense apart from the most terminally stupid anyway.

So rather than, for example spending money running an information campaign to get more people interested teh end result of which will be the delivery dates slide out to 9 months from 6, with no more cars sold because production is the bottleneck, not sales, spend the money on more chargers at more locations, and a solution for those who can’t charge at home. This will have a bigger and longer lasting effect than a transitory publicity campaign.

Bobby Lew and Johnny Smith have their job cut out for them. Yet the UK has made a huge progress towards sustainable energy and transportation and in a way this is a testament of how successful those efforts have been in seamlessly integrating into people’s lives so they remain unaware.

Where have they been taking this survey? In a retirement home where more then a few have lost to altzheimer? I worked two month in London, and I got the impression I worked with wise people, making smart choises. I also studied chemisty in the UK, and there were plenty of bright/brainy people there. I have not travelled much in the UK (yet), but I noticed that many places in the north eastern part looked poorer, and looked like a lot of people stayed at home during normal working hours. Didn’t look like the safest part to be in either. Parts of western Wales had some poorer areas too. I was a bit surpriced that there were areas in the UK that was so poor. . But in general.. my reference was just geography from school, history (with focus on older history, industrial revolution, bright people in science and litterature, discoveries and wars).. the rest is from Bergerac, Midsomer Murders, Lock stock and two smoking barrels, Snatch, The 51st State, 🙂 . . so not the best. 42%. . . have they asked the question in a weird way? If not, I would like to see those people living through… Read more »

But, but, but . . . what is this “car wash” of which you write?

Surely we all know that ICE spark plugs/wires (voltage way higher than anything in an EV ) and other battery based subsystems are all vulnerable to such waterings, nay, inundations.

Brits – please wake up! And cease this foolish “car washing”! Immediately, for your own safety!

That is most likely pretty accurate in the US as well.

That’s true about the speed. I’m having trouble finding ludicrous mode on my five year old plug in Prius. Also, when are they going to sort out the carwash issue? My windscreen’s filthy!

A car wash?

What happens if they get rained on? I hear an electric car will short-circuit if they get any water on them at all!
😀 😀 😀


It is sad and this kind of story makes me feel sad. What an age of the computers and internet we live in, and yet there are more misinformation than ever. I know plenty of people which are wealthy enough to go electric, but they are so uneducated. I tried to personally convince some of them about the advantages of an EV, but a lot of times the answer was so dumb, like: “I like the way gas smells”… They do not know that smelling gas is not at least exactly healthy. Big facepalm for these people!