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Tesla Owners Are More Republican Than You Think

In these hyper-partisan times, you’d think Musk’s rants might put off liberal buyers who would seem to be Tesla’s natural customers: those who want an EV because of concerns about climate change and the preservation of the planet.

But Tesla buyers are probably more conservative than that assumption suggests.

Surveys show that Tesla buyers are only slightly more likely to be Democrats than Republicans.

Surveys by research firm Morning Consult show that in January about 22% of Democrats were considering buying a Tesla, while 17% of Republicans were considering buying one. And that gap has narrowed – Republican consideration to buy a Tesla has increased about 3 percentage points just since the December survey.. And Republicans are slightly more likely to trust the Tesla brand, 27% versus 25% among Democrats.

“The customer base is not significantly biased toward Democrats,” said Lisa Whalen, automotive and mobility analyst at Morning Consult.

New vehicle registration data from IHS Markit suggests that ‘blue’ states – those that voted for Biden rather than Donald Trump – are more likely to have a higher share of electric vehicles than ‘red’ states . But many of these red states are very rural and have a high percentage of pickup truck registrations, and EV pickup trucks are still virtually non-existent. Many of the more rural blue states also have low EV adoption rates. And some of the blue states have better incentives for electric vehicle buyers, such as state tax credits or the ability to drive in freeway carpool lanes.

Data from Strategic Vision, which surveyed hundreds of thousands of car buyers, shows that since 2019, 38% of Tesla buyers identified as Democrats and 30% said they were Republicans. That’s slightly less “liberal” than EV buyers overall, which drops from 41% Democrats to 27% Republicans.

“Republicans are buying Tesla, especially the wealthy,” said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision.

Tesla buyers are generally very wealthy

Electric vehicle buyers are more likely to be wealthy, especially with the price of most Teslas, by far the industry leader, significantly above the price of the average gas-powered car.

Electric vehicle buyers were able to claim a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. In 2019, the last year Tesla buyers qualified for at least some of that credit, 163,000 electric vehicle buyers filed to claim it.

Sales data from Tesla and other EV makers suggests that the overwhelming majority of those receiving the tax credit were Tesla buyers. Internal Revenue Service figures show that only 22% of people claiming the credit had an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, while 32% earned between $100,000 and $200,000 and 43% between $200,000. and $500,000. The remaining 4% won over $1 million.

The primary motivation for buying a Tesla isn’t because customers want to reduce greenhouse gases, Edwards said. Its data shows that performance and style are the biggest draws for most buyers.

“Your Prius buyers and your Tesla buyers are not the same group,” he said. “Tesla buyers are rich white men. They really want to show off a great sports car. So Elon isn’t worried at all that people will stop buying his vehicles because he’s making fun of a Democratic president.”