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Electric cars: more and more consumers want to buy them, according to a survey

According to a national survey, a growing number of Americans are turning to the idea of ​​driving electric vehicles, with 71% expressing at least some degree of interest in buying or leasing electric vehicles. published Thursday by Consumer Reports.

Of more than 8,000 respondents, 14% said they would definitely buy or lease an electric vehicle and 22% said they would “seriously consider” buying one. 35% said they “might consider getting an electric-only vehicle in the future”.

This is an increase from the 4% who, in 2020, said they would definitely buy or lease an electric vehicle.

“Millions of drivers want to go electric, it’s clear from the survey,” said Quinta Warren, associate director of sustainability policy for Consumer Reports. “So the demand is increasing.”

The poll was taken between January 27 and February 18, when gas prices were on the rise, but before they spiked to a national average of $5 per gallon last month and $6.44 in California. This leads Warren to believe that consumer interest in electric vehicles would be even higher if the survey were conducted today.

“People understand that it costs them less money to charge an electric vehicle than it does to power a gas-powered car,” she said, “so absolutely, it makes perfect sense to assume that demand (for transition to electric vehicles) would increase.”

While national figures are on the rise, 28% of respondents said they would not consider switching to an electric vehicle and some of the barriers cited are familiar:

  • 61% had concerns about where and when they could find places to charge their vehicles
  • 55% suffered from “range anxiety”, i.e. they feared that the electric vehicle would turn off before they had a chance to recharge the car battery, and
  • 52% were concerned about the list price and maintenance costs of an electric vehicle.

“People naturally have concerns and questions about the transition to electric vehicles and low-carbon fuel vehicles,” Warren said. “These are new concepts, but the more people know about electric vehicles, the more likely they are to want them.”

While California has taken the lead in adopting electric vehicles and it’s common to see them on Golden State roads, the national survey showed that many Americans have very little experience with vehicles. electrical.

More than 80 percent of the United States respondents said they had not been a passenger in an electric-only vehicle in the past year, 65% do not have a friend, relative or colleague who owns an electric vehicle, and 41% said they do not had never seen an electric vehicle in their neighborhood in the past year.

Warren said Consumer Reports is still going through the responses and plans to release California-specific data in the coming weeks.

The survey also found that 46% of respondents were unaware of federal and state incentives to purchase an EV. Some 53% said discounts or tax rebates at the time of purchase would encourage them to make the switch.

“We think this is an opportunity for policymakers and automakers to create an awareness campaign, to educate the public that these incentives exist,” Warren said.

Federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 are available, though they are phasing out after automakers sell more than 200,000 plug-ins. GM and Tesla have already reached the threshold and Toyota announced on Wednesday that it had reached the 200,000 mark and that its liquidation will begin on October 1.

In California, the state offers discounts up to $7,000 on the purchase or lease of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The auto industry is struggling to meet demand for new vehicles due to congested supply chains. Microchip shortages have led to fewer traditional cars and trucks on dealer lots, resulting in vehicles selling for more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

The sale of electric vehicles was also impacted.

Finding a consulting firm AlixPartners Estimates the average cost of raw materials needed to make EV batteries – such as lithium, cobalt and nickel – has jumped more than 140% since March 2020, leading automakers to raise prices for their models EV.

Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at automotive market research firm Edmunds.comsaid he was not surprised that the Consumer Report survey showed growing interest in electric vehicles.

“People’s attitude towards electric vehicles is changing,” Drury said. “You see the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Mustang Mach-E, they’re sold out. The F-150 Lightning is sold out until 2024… I think there’s so much enthusiasm, especially for people who have made reservations, that it’s not going to dampen their enthusiasm. They will still buy the vehicle.

The compiled data in the Consumer Reports survey were weighted by factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, and census division to be proportionally representative of the US adult population. The margin of error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 1.59 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.