August 13, 2022

MSVW-Auto

Beyond Automotive

This is the biggest barrier to buying electric cars, survey shows

2 min read

American consumers are willing to make the switch from pumping gas to plugging in the charger. A Consumer Reports survey indicated that one-third of Americans are willing to “seriously consider” buying or “definitely” buy an electric vehicle.

The University of Chicago administered the survey online and by phone, accumulating over 8,000 interviews, with the sample size proportional to that of the U.S. adult population.

Quinta Warren, Consumer Reports’ associate director of sustainability policy, pointed out that there is a “clear interest” in the benefits of owning an EV — cheaper transportation and lower environmental impact.

Meanwhile, less than 3 in 10 said they would not consider buying an electric vehicle and more than 3 in 10 have some major concerns, the survey showed.

What is the biggest concern when buying an EV?

A majority of respondents on the survey stated various concerns that deter them from owning an EV.

More than 60% said that charging logistics is the biggest concern, followed by driving range, which was noted by 55%.

This range anxiety is not unheard of, and neither is the fear of not making it to one of the 48,000 charging stations in the U.S. (The country has 150,000 fuel stations.)

It’s worth noting that the Biden administration plans to roll out 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations nationally by 2030, per The Detroit News.

Meanwhile, 52% of respondents indicated the price of the vehicle as an issue. Currently, the cheapest EV on the market is the 2023 Chevy Bolt, with a $26,595 price tag, although its competitors are raising prices. Per CNBC, Tesla’s starting model is now at $46,990, which is up from $38,190 in 2021.

“It underscores some key concerns, but fortunately, many of these barriers to owning a battery-electric vehicle EV can be addressed through experience and education,” said Warren.

Close to half of American adults surveyed knew nothing about EV incentives, like tax rebates and charger installation subsidies, according to Protocol.

A treat to drive?

As more EVs line up on roads and park in driveways, there will be a corresponding increase in interest and demand, Deidre Popovich, an assistant professor of marketing at Texas Tech University, told CNN.

“Early adopters ask questions to support their natural desire to try something new. Late adopters, on the other hand, tend to ask questions to gather evidence about why they should not try something new,” she explained.

But it’s undeniable that sales are steadily going up, with 158,689 new EV registrations in the U.S. in the first three months of 2022. Tesla has dominated the market, followed up by Kia, Ford and Hyundai, as Art Raymond reported for the Deseret News.

The Consumer Reports survey also found that Americans’ experience with an EV could affect their interest in buying one. These vehicles are “enjoyable to drive, with quick, silent acceleration, and balanced handling, aided by their large, low-mounted battery,” said Gabe Shenhar, associate director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, per the report.

“In short, they are often quite a treat to drive,” he said.

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