Americans Are Still Unsure About EVs

June 6, 2019

Despite having more information, and interest, in electric vehicles than ever before a recent survey from AAA revealed that there is as still a lot of confusion about the product and trepidation to purchase.

The results of the survey were released in the May AAA newsletter and had some startling revelations, namely that nearly 60 percent of consumers did not know if electric vehicles were better on the highway or in stop-and-go traffic — they perform better in city driving situations, FWIW, because the car can recapture energy to charge the battery when decelerating.

Greg Brannon, Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations for AAA, said that emerging technology has always been a slow adoption in the US marketplace.

“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” Brannon said in a press release. “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 used a telephone omnibus survey for its methodology to compile its stats. The survey was conducted April 4-7, 2019 with 1,000 interviews completed among adults, 18 years of age or older. Its website states that a dual-frame approach was used, combining land-line and cell phone interviews to ensure that adults who only or primarily communicate via cell phones are included and properly represented. The survey responses were then weighted by six variables: age, gender, geographic region, race/ethnicity, education, and landline vs. cell phone only in an effort to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total continental US population, 18 years of age and older.

The site stated that the margin of error for its findings is 3.8% at the 95% confidence level.

The market confusion also included fear factors, like 57% of respondents saying that they fear they will run out of a charge while driving and 58% believing that there were not enough charging stations available.

Where the opportunity lies is with many younger buyers as they are more concerned with sustainability efforts, evidenced by nearly 74% of those who identified as interested in buying a plug-in vehicle would have environmental impact near the top of the considerations. Other key factors that play in are longterm cost savings, as 56% of potential buyers believe in the savings — despite 40% of respondents saying that gas would need to top $5 per gallon before they would purchase an EV.

Cumulatively the marketplace still has confusion even as the manufacturers continue to move more towards the technology and away from fossil fuels.

“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.”

To find out more about AAA, view its website.

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