Consumer Interest in Electric Vehicles Remains Steady, But Adoption Remains Slow

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Consumer Interest in Electric Vehicles Remains Steady, But Adoption Remains Slow

05/10/2019
Electric vehicle

ORLANDO, Fla. — U.S. consumers may be interested in electric vehicles, however, only four in 10 consumers believe most vehicles will be electric in 10 years.

The insights from AAA's recent survey are in contrast to the results from an earlier poll by the association that found that more than half of Americans believe that in this same timeframe most cars will have the ability to drive themselves — a reality that is much less likely to happen, according to AAA.

Similar to other emerging technologies, a lack of knowledge and experience may be contributing to the slow adoption of electric vehicles despite consumers' desire to go green, the association added.

"Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. "But, like other new vehicle technologies, Americans don't have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action."

AAA's annual survey that tracks opinions regarding electric and hybrid vehicles found that while consumer interest remains steady, Americans may not have a solid understanding of electric vehicle performance, which may driving their hesitation when it comes to considering one for their next purchase.

According to AAA, electric vehicles, unlike those running on gas, do better in stop-and-go traffic because the car can recapture energy to charge the battery when decelerating. However, its survey found that a majority of Americans (59 percent) were unsure of whether electric vehicles have better range when driving at highways speeds or in stop and go traffic.

However, 40 million Americans said they would be likely to consider an electric vehicle for their next car purchase, with millennials leading the pack, AAA said. Concern for the environment and lower long-term costs remain the leading reasons to go green (74 percent and 56 percent, respectively).

Previous objections to buying electric with regards to price and range anxiety continue to ease and have trended downward significantly. AAA's survey found:

  • Concern that there are not enough places to charge – down 11 percentage points from 2017
  • Concern about running out of charge when driving – down 11 percentage points from 2017
  • Higher cost of battery repair or replacement – down 8 percentage points from 2017
  • Higher purchase price – down 6 percentage points from 2017

"These vehicles are a big part of the future of transportation since self-driving cars, when they do arrive, will likely be electric," Brannon said. "The difference, of course, is that electric vehicles are already here and with the advancements in style and range that have been made over the last few years, they have become an even more viable option for many Americans."