Electromobility through the eyes of Poles – reports, analyzes and own observations

I deal with car testing on a daily basis. From cheap Dacia Logan with LPG to electric Audi RS e-tron GT for well over half a million zlotys. I have contact with electric cars very often, I know how they are operated on a daily basis and I very often meet the opinions of other drivers about electromobility in Poland and in general. How does this relate to analyzes and reports? It can be different.

Lord, how much does a monster like that smoke?

While testing the Audi RS e-tron GT some time ago, I encountered similar questions several times. They do not bother me because I know that such cars are a curiosity on the road and many drivers are simply interested in “first-hand” opinions. But what surprises me is the complete ignorance among many outsiders about the regulations and the automotive itself. The car was on the green boards, which stand out quite strongly and tell others that it is an electric car. So why questions about combustion? Perhaps I am picking on and exaggerating, but this to some extent shows how little Poles know about electromobility.


When I test a slightly less conspicuous electrician and are clearly standing by the charger, there is no doubt and then typical questions arise, such as how long does it take, how much will it go and what the hell I bought such something. When I start explaining that in the right conditions the car will travel 350, 400 or even 500 kilometers (depending on the model), it can be charged even in half an hour (on a quick charger), it has brilliant performance, dynamics, silence and comfort, most of them start either I nod my head appreciatively when I lead them out of a deep error (ranges of 100 km, charging for several hours, etc.), or forcibly come up with strange arguments. The funniest thing is that the range of 400-500 kilometers is not enough for them. When I ask how often they do 500 kilometers at a time, they usually say they are in a hurry and leave confused.

Seriously. How often does the average driver make 400-500 kilometers with one shot? Once a year? In a month? Usually it is 40-50 kilometers a day from work to home, picking up children from school or kindergarten on the way and going to the supermarket for shopping. And if someone drives more, they do not choose an electrician and then they do not complain that the electrics are simply not suitable for the mode of operation. Do I complain that the coupes or convertibles are pointless, because I prefer sedans or station wagons? I just don’t pay attention to them or consider them as the second or third car in the family for other purposes. No car is for everything. Fast, economical, roomy, comfortable, off-road, sports – find me a car with all the features.

So many of my observations from almost everyday observations. Knowledge about electromobility is in most cases meager, outdated or saturated with stupid stereotypes that are either force-created or based on the very beginnings, when electric cars actually were hopeless. It’s a bit different now. Electric cars are getting better and more interesting, but the infrastructure in Poland is not keeping up with them. For most drivers, an electrician can be an alternative, but he does not have to, and so far (key word), nobody is forcing anyone to do anything. We still have some time, so it is worth spending it on getting to know this topic that will reach everyone sooner or later. Whether we like it or not.

Reports and analyzes of specialists

And how do my observations relate to professional reports and analyzes that verify the state of knowledge and awareness of Poles about electromobility? Recently, I took part in Volkswagen Media Day, during which, during one of the discussion panels, the InsightOut Lab company, which deals with analyzes and building reports for various clients in various areas, including for Volkswagen. All reports are public and available on the InsightOut Lab website, so if anyone wants details, have a look there. In a word of explanation, most of the reports are based on the opinions of around 1,000 Poles. In our case, i.e. the topic of electromobility, the opinions of the respondents are confronted with the impressions and opinions of real users of electric cars. This might be interesting.


It’s worth starting with what average drivers think about electric car users. As it turns out, I had a slightly different impression, because in my opinion, other drivers look at me like an idiot in an electric car who wants to show off, but instead drives a washing machine on wheels. Sometimes, but as it turns out, there are also other opinions, as presented in the graphic below.


Usually, the opinions are quite positive, and women are definitely more favorable towards electric car users. Perhaps the gentlemen, treating their complexes, even want to discredit the electrician’s driver in their own head? It’s hard to say. The next slide of the report shows that Poles are more or less aware of the costs of purchasing and operating an electric car. It is true that electric cars are more expensive to buy and usually cost much more than similarly equipped counterparts with internal combustion engines, which can be easily checked by checking the price list of, for example, Opel Mokka or Peugeot 208.


When it comes to the purchase price, for many Poles an electric car is out of reach. Ba! Many of us associate it with a luxury car, although in the case of the Opel Mokka-e it is an exaggerated association. The vast majority would not spend more than PLN 150,000 on an electrician, which is probably due not only to the average wealth of our nation, but also to the lame system of subsidies to electricians. You can see it, among others in the slide below.


Okay, but what do users who switched from conventional cars think about electric cars? Among my friends, I have several users with this profile and everyone definitely praises the transition to an electrician. What does the report say about this?


The next slide is a great example of how modest and outdated Poles’ knowledge of the most important feature of electricians – range. It is because of this ignorance that most drivers consider electrics a nonsensical creation, and only when they find out that this car can be driven without any problems 35-400 kilometers or even more, the arguments just start to fall apart like a house of cards.


My conclusions?


I do not intend to convince anyone that electric cars are great, unbeatable and everyone should change to them, forgetting about exhaust fumes. No, none of those things. In many respects, internal combustion cars still have no competition, and it is mainly about trouble-free operation over a long distance, eg during a vacation trip, etc. But here the failure of electricians is not the fault of the electricians themselves, but the infrastructure without which electrics are pointless. I live in Radom, where I have only two (TWO!) Chargers with a fabulous power of 40-50 kW, which is for a city with a population of about 210,000. residents, is a funny joke.

Chargers on routes are also a joke, and this is why Poles have the opinion that driving an electric car over a long distance is a torment and a struggle for survival. In some cases, yes. But if there are several chargers on the route, even with a basic power of 40-50 kW, it is enough to stop for 15-20 minutes for recharging to cover the entire distance quite efficiently without worrying about the range. But … there must be chargers on the road, and this is still modest in our country. Sure, it is getting better, but we are far from the level of Norway or Germany.

And in optimal conditions, if the chargers were placed on the route with a frequency similar to the number of traditional gas stations, had a decent power of at least 100 kW, traveling even 200-300 percent of the declared range of the car would not be a problem. Stops every 1-1.5 hours for 20-30 minutes of charging are even advisable. Well, we will have to wait a few more years for that.

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