Consumer Reports has released the results from its largest ever national survey, and it found that over a third of Americans are interested in buying electric vehicles.
There is reason to be optimistic about an EV future when Consumer Reports (CR) says that “36% of Americans plan to buy or lease an electric-only vehicle or are seriously considering doing so.” However, the survey of 8,027 Americans nationwide also found that people were surprisingly naive regarding the costs of EV ownership, the capabilities of the newest EVs, and even government incentives.
Of the 36% of people interested in buying an electric vehicle, the top reasons for their interest included low charging costs (33%), lower lifetime vehicle costs (31%), and lower maintenance costs (28%). Around 14% of the respondents were part of the most interested group of buyers, a group that has grown by 4% since a similar CR survey in 2020.
Compared to a Texas poll that we covered previously in Teslarati, Consumer Reports‘ poll showed a lower level of interest. They were also almost entirely focused on the cheaper cost of ownership, instead of new technologies or the environmental impact of EVs.
CR notes that data from Cox Automotive last quarter showed that EV sales rose by 76%. This seems to match sales reports from manufacturers this quarter, confirming that interest in EVs is increasing. However, CR put a unique focus on Americans uninterested in buying an EV for their next vehicle.
Unlike the Texas poll that showed that a sizable group simply preferred gas/diesel vehicles, CR did not replicate this result and found three other reasons why consumers were wary of electric cars. About 61% of those who were uninterested in EVs cited a lack of charging infrastructure, 55% cited range anxiety, and 52% said the cost of buying and or maintaining an EV was too high.
While it is unclear if the consumers surveyed were aware of current charging infrastructure or the range of newer electric vehicles, other reasons were often related to a lack of knowledge.
Most predominantly, 46% of respondents were unaware of Federal and State EV purchasing incentives, a factor that could have influenced whether they could afford an EV. Furthermore, while upfront costs for many EVs remain high, the maintenance costs of these vehicles are far lower than that of their ICE counterparts, once again showing that many consumers are unaware of the benefits of EV ownership.
On top of these facts, the demographic that was one of the most likely to be considering buying an EV was people who had either ridden in or had driven EVs within the past year. Only only 7% of respondents have driven an EV in the past year, yet these people account for over 20% of those who are interested in buying EVs. This shows that often people lack the interaction with EVs that could prove pivotal to changing their minds on whether these vehicles are viable for their personal use.
Other demographics that were more likely to buy EVs include men, younger people, people who live in urban areas, those with higher levels of education, and people with higher incomes.
The path forward is clear for auto manufacturers who want to bring more customers in to buy electric vehicles. They must address their concerns about cost, allow potential customers to test drive and experience EV charging, and make them aware of incentives that may help them purchase a vehicle. Each of these tactics will become far more important as more and more manufacturers begin offering EVs, bringing in a wider (and sometimes less knowledgeable) audience.
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