A survey of 1659 Americans who plan to buy a new car within the next 2 years finds strong support for electric cars. The survey was undertaken jointly by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Consumer Reports. The results show interest in electric cars is quite consistent in all parts of the country and across all income groups.
31 percent said they would consider an electric vehicle (EV) for their next purchase, 27 percent would consider one at some point down the road, and 5 percent say they are definitely planning on buying or leasing one for their next vehicle.
That last figure is important because only 2% of new cars were electric in 2018.
“Automakers and dealers have made little to no effort to market electric cars in the U.S., and yet this survey shows that Americans have widespread interest in them,” says Shannon Baker-Branstetter, manager of cars and energy policy for Consumer Reports. “Car buyers across the economic spectrum are interested in electric cars, but automakers and dealers are not providing consumers with enough information and selection to meet this demand.”
The survey shows that interest in electric vehicles goes beyond just consumers with high incomes. 39 percent of potential buyers who earn more than $100,000 a year are considering an electric vehicle for their next purchase, but so are 39 percent of those with incomes between $50,000 to $99,999 a year. 31 percent of those making under $50,000 a year also indicated an interest in purchasing an electric car.
The results show that interest in electric cars is higher among people of color than it is among the general population — 42% to 36%. “As the electric vehicle market grows, more drivers see an electric vehicle as a realistic option,” said David Reichmuth, senior engineer for the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS. “The future is electric, and that will have real benefits for drivers, for the air we breathe, and for the climate. But we need to accelerate this change, so consumers need states, utilities, and automakers to step up and help them make the switch.”
Here are some of the other significant findings of the survey:
- 72% say automakers should provide more kinds of electric vehicles, including SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans.
- 73% say increased electric car use will help reduce oil use.
- 72% say increased electric car use will help reduce pollution.
- 65% say electric cars will help consumers save money on fuel and maintenance.
Policies that would grow the electric car market and help consumers drive electric also draw strong support:
- Around 75% feel that incentives and tax rebates for plug-in electric cars should be available to all consumers in every region and income bracket surveyed.
- 67% say electric utilities should offer discount rates for plug-in electric car charging.
- 67% are supportive of their state investing in electric car charging stations.
- 64% are supportive of their state increasing the use of plug-in electric school buses, public transit, and fleets.
With Americans showing significant interest in electric cars, it’s time for US manufacturers to stop pretending nobody wants to buy electric cars and get busy bringing more of them to market. Disinterest in EVs may be endemic inside corporate boardrooms, but those busy executives should go outside more often and see what is going on in the real world. The electric car revolution is here and gaining strength every day.