EVs: More Education Still Needed
A recent survey from Ipsos and Yahoo Finance shows that the number of Americans planning to purchase an electric car as their next vehicle is on the rise, but that consideration of EVs is still in the minority. With consideration of EVs split by age and other factors, the study highlights the need for continued education about sustainable driving solutions. It also showed that consideration of alternative technology for transportation is tied closely to gasoline prices.
The results show a positive trend from previous surveys - but also show there's a long way to go.
Divided Views on EVs
The Ipsos/Yahoo study showed that interest in electric cars varied widely based on a number of factors. One of the most interesting was education. Of the approximately 1,000 survey respondents, those with college degrees were much more likely to consider an electric vehicle. Indeed, close to half of college-educated respondents were likely to go EV, versus less than one in five with a high school diploma or less.
Age was another major factor. Only 22 percent of baby boomers would consider an EV as their next vehicle, while a third (33 percent) of gen-Xers would consider an EV, and 40 percent of millennials. These results echo what we’ve seen in other surveys; younger buyers are generally more interested in EVs.
Cost a Factor, Americans Unaware of Incentives
Not surprisingly, annual income was another major factor. Electric vehicles continue to be less affordable than conventional vehicles – though that gap continues to close. 60 percent of respondents with an annual income below $50,000 would not consider an EV.
Interestingly, the study’s results showed the need for education on that front, as less than a third of those surveyed were aware that there were tax breaks and government incentives available for EV purchases. This despite the fact that over half of those surveyed (54 percent) supported incentive programs to encourage EV purchases.
A bigger factor in EV consideration may be gas prices. When asked if they were more likely to purchase an electric car if gas prices rose to $6 to $8 per gallon, 49 percent of respondents said they’d be more likely to purchase an EV. If that number rises to $10 per gallon, 56 percent of respondents said they’d be more likely to go electric.
EV Consideration: Political Divisions
Interest in electric vehicles was also divided along political lines. 76 percent of survey respondents that identified as Republican would not consider purchasing an EV as their next vehicle.
On the other hand, 54 percent of overall respondents supported government incentive programs to encourage EV purchases, and 52 percent of all respondents also supported government programs to reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. Support for incentives programs rose among college-educated respondents from all political stripes.
While a majority of survey respondents supported a general move away from fossil fuels. There was much less support for car manufacturers phasing out the sale of new gasoline vehicles, or for legislation that restricts the sale of gasoline vehicles. Only 30 percent of respondents supported automakers phasing out gas, and just 21 percent supported the government restricting the sale of new gasoline vehicles – regardless of education or political party.
EV Consideration: What’s in the Way?
When asked what is standing in the way of considering an EV, familiar themes emerged. The top concerns about electric cars remain the lack of public charging stations, cited by 77 percent of respondents, as well as a lack of sufficient driving range, cited by 73 percent of respondents. The high cost of EVs was in third place, at 70 percent. EV prices continue to be higher, even though their overall cost of ownership over time can be lower.
Respondents also noted that there was a lack of EV types and brands available (37 percent), a fair criticism at the moment, though automakers are continuously introducing many new models and options over time. 33 percent also said that they didn’t like the driving or styling characteristics of electric cars.
EV Consideration: The Future
While the Ipsos/Yahoo study shows that there are still hurdles for many Americans to consider EVs, the overall progress around electric driving should help to alleviate concerns over the next few years.
More EV choices, including many more affordable models from many brands, will bring EV ownership within reach of more Americans, as will the new used EV tax incentive. Starting in 2024, dealers will be able to apply for tax incentives on behalf of customers, giving them an immediate financial benefit and making the purchase process easier. And a consortium of automakers has announced plans to nearly double the EV fast charging network across North America.
2023 will be the first year that new EV sales hit one million in the U.S., likely eclipsing 8 percent market share for the first time. Industry estimates show that as many as half of new vehicles sold by 2023 could be electric. While there will certainly be speed bumps along the way, one thing’s for sure: the cars, tech, and infrastructure are getting better, and as they improve, so will the consideration by shoppers.