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Consumer Interest in Electric Vehicles Begins to Wane

Hybrids may help bridge the gap between early EV adopters and drivers concerned with charging access.
Hand plugging in electric vehicle charger

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The most recent annual consumer survey by AAA on electric vehicles (EVs) indicates a decline in consumer interest in purchasing these vehicles. 

Only 18% of U.S. adults say they would be "very likely" or "likely" to buy a new or used EV (not a hybrid), down from 23% last year. On top of that, 63% cited "unlikely" or "very unlikely" to purchase an EV for their next car purchase. 

[Read more: California Boasts Growing Network of EV Charging Stations]

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"Early adopters who wanted an EV already have one," said Greg Brannon, director of automotive research at AAA. "The remaining group of people who have yet to adopt EVs consider the practicality, cost, convenience and ownership experience, and for some, those are big enough hurdles to keep them from making the jump to fully electric."

AAA found the main hesitations in purchasing an EV continue to be cost, lack of convenient charging options and range anxiety. Three in 10 respondents also cited the inability to install a charging station where they live, an on-going issue for residents of condos or apartments. 

The association believes there may be a near-term ceiling related to consumer adoption of battery electric vehicles due to the above concerns. However, hybrid options could bridge these gaps, broadening consumer interest in owning an EV. The survey found that one in three U.S. adults (31%) say they would be "very likely" or "likely" to buy a hybrid, with drivers expressing less anxiety because it allows people to enjoy the benefits of electrification without feeling like they are disrupting their current lifestyle or long distance travel plans. 

[Read more: Fuel Retailers Call for Application Standardization for Federal EV Funding Program]

The survey was conducted April 4-8 using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. A total of 1,152 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. 

Founded in 1902, AAA is one of North America's largest membership organizations. It provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of more than 64 million members across North America, including more than 57 million in the United States. 

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