From Jessica Rabe of DataTrek Researck
A new nationwide survey from Consumer Reports shows that range anxiety and cost are the primary factors holding back consumers from purchasing an electric vehicle. Only 14 pct of respondents said they would definitely buy an EV, not enough to support a vibrant used EV market.
Consumer Reports recently released the results of its nationally representative survey of 8,027 American adults on their views towards electric vehicles. Here were the major takeaways:
On buying/leasing an EV: Fourteen percent of respondents said they “would definitely buy or lease an electric-only vehicle”, over half (57%) said they would consider/seriously consider it and more than a quarter (28%) said they would not consider buying one.
Obstacles to buying/leasing an EV: The top 3 concerns preventing respondents from buying or leasing an electric-only vehicle were:
“Charging logistics, such as where and when I’d be able to charge it” (61%),
“number of miles the vehicle can go before it needs to be charged” (55%) and
“costs involved with buying, owning and maintaining an electric-only vehicle” (52%).
When it comes to cost-related factors preventing respondents from buying or leasing an EV, the top 3 were:
“purchase price” (58 pct),
“maintenance and repair costs” (40 pct) and
“the cost to install a home charger” (30 pct).
In terms of charging-related concerns holding people back, the top 3 were:
“not enough public charging stations” (59 pct),
“nowhere to plug in my car to charge at home” (44 pct) and
“inconvenience of charging” (42 pct).
Knowledge of tax incentives: Almost half (46 pct) of respondents had not heard of any incentives available for EV owners. Just over a third (34 pct) knew about “tax rebates/discounts at the time of purchase or lease”.
Further, most respondents (60 pct) said they are not too familiar or not familiar at all with the fundamentals of owning an EV. Most respondents have not driven (93 pct) or been a passenger (83 pct) in an EV over the last year.
Takeaway: This survey is instructive in that it captures the receptivity to EVs among BOTH new and used car buyers. For the EV market to prove robust and sustainable, it will need to achieve broader adoption to support the EV ecosystem that helps drive resale values and affordable lease rates.
At present, more than a quarter of Americans are not open to getting an EV, with range anxiety and costs the primary factors holding back consumers. Many Americans are also still unfamiliar with EVs in terms of how they work and the tax incentives available. Spurring more EV adoption will come down to improving the technology (i.e. extending vehicle range), expanding the number of public charging stations, and offering/publicizing financial incentives which help bring down purchase prices.