Exploring pathways to negate safety concerns and improve public acceptance of alternative fuelled electric vehicles
Restricted emission regulations force the transportation sector to seek a better vehicle fuel solution, and the uptake of Electric Vehicle is to be encouraged because it has no exhaust emission. Previous literature had shown that range freedom and cost were the main barriers and safety aspects were often considered as technological issues. Recent research indicates that early adopters of innovative EVs do have concerns about safety issues although it was not on top of the list. However, research into the public perception of alternative fuelled EVs in terms of safety has been limited to date. In this paper, a quantitative study is undertaken to investigate the public safety concern of three types of vehicle powertrain: the internal combustion engine, the hybrid electric and the solely electric vehicle. The survey consisted of two identical sets of questionnaires (one was in English, and another in Chinese) to collect data from people with different cultural background. It was expected that this would provide a reasonable number of responses to reflect the public. This study indicates that the main safety concerns are associated with the level of vehicle knowledge and the power supply components despite the powertrain type. The high awareness of mechanical failure is only evident in the conventional fuel powertrain and gradually reduced when moving towards solely electric powertrain to compensate for the rise of electrical failure awareness. It also indicates that the awareness of the specifics of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is not widespread amongst the public as almost all the participants considered that the electric vehicle is powered by batteries only. As a result, this paper suggests that there is a need to educate the drivers with the desired knowledge while simply driving the vehicle could potentially be an effective way to improve public acceptance of any alternative fuel vehicle
This research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) through the Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and Their Fuels at Loughborough University.