Although we reported less than 3 months ago that more education is needed to accelerate EV adoption, a recent survey provides some encouraging news. In a survey commissioned by Toyota Canada this month, 36% said they had “seriously considered buying a more fuel efficient vehicle, such as a hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell vehicle.”
Looking into the future, slightly over half (52%) “say they are likely to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle in the next 5 years.”
Not surprisingly, those in the rural provinces are the least likely, while the more urban provinces are more likely. More interestingly, the study shows it is rising gas prices that is both prompting a change in summer travel plans and encouraging consumers to reconsider their choice of vehicle.
Although this research shows that older drivers are the least interested in electric vehicles and tend to view the technology as unproven, they are also the demographic most concerned about rising fuel costs. Younger drivers show an increased interest in performance. That suggests EV education targeted toward an older audience should focus on the practical aspects of the EV (low fuel and maintenance costs), while advertising targeted to the younger demographic should lead with the driving experience and improved performance.
It’s hard to say if Canada’s recently added EV incentives, described here, or the regional incentives described in this article have moved public opinion. It could simply be the result of the increased fuel prices. We continue to think the biggest influence on people’s behavior is awareness of both the existence of modern EVs and their advantages — by either advertising, a family member, or a close friend buying one and sharing their experience — but the role of fuel prices is one that should not be forgotten.