Nearly one in seven Americans are “definitely” willing to own or lease a battery-electric vehicle, according to a new Consumer Reports survey – a figure that would translate to a three-fold increase in the current BEV market.
And nearly three-quarters of U.S. motorists are at least interested in going all-electric, reports the nonprofit. But there are still a number of concerns that are keeping potential buyers waiting for BEVs for now, including the lack of a viable public charging network.
The new study ‘highlights some key concerns’ about electric vehicle ownershipAccording to Quinta Warren, associate director of sustainability policy at CR, “but fortunately many of these barriers to owning a battery electric vehicle can be overcome with experience and education.”
EV sales on the rise
The new study from Consumer Reports is in line with other surveys indicating growing interest in battery electric vehicles. In the Annual “Car Wars” by Bank of America Securities, analyst John Murphy predict that 10-20% of new vehicles sold in the United States by 2025 will be fully electric.
While range and load are major concerns, Murphy said he thinks the key issue will be cost. Prices for electric vehicles have risen faster than the cost of conventional gas-powered vehicles, he noted, and that could curb demand if automakers fail to rein in those increases.
Even then, sales should continue to increase.
In its 2020 survey of US motorists, only about 4% said they would “definitely” buy or lease an all-electric vehicle. The recently released study found that number jumped to 14%, according to Consumer Reports. And 71% of the 8,027 adults who responded were at least somewhat interested in owning a BEV.
Fuel prices drive interest in electric vehicles
The increase in interest coincides with a record rise in petrol prices, and a third of respondents cited the lower cost of energy for electric vehicles compared to petrol models, while 31% noted that lifetime operating costs are lower. And 28% said BEV maintenance costs were also lower.
“The survey shows that there is a clear interest among Americans in reducing transportation costs and their impact on the environment,” said CR’s Warren.
The survey was conducted between Jan. 27 and Feb. 18, “when the national average gasoline price ranged from $3.34 to $3.52 per gallon,” CR noted. Whether that could have motivated even more people to start watching BEVs is unclear. But what is clear is that the survey results confirm what is really happening in the US auto market.
Minority groups show keen interest
Interest in battery-powered vehicles increased across all consumer groups, but the study found there was a particular increase among African Americans.
“In non-white communities, interest in electric vehicles was generally higher than in white communities. I think it’s important for automakers to know that because they don’t necessarily tend to make advertising in these communities,” Warren told trade publication Automotive News. “People in Congress and at the state level represent these communities, and we need them to understand that they are being left behind, but they have such an interest.”
During the first quarter of 2022, sales of all-electric vehicles jumped 76% year-on-yearaccording to Cox Automotive – even as the overall US auto market suffered a double-digit decline.
The new CR study also looked at consumer attitudes towards new ‘low carbon’ fuels.
“Overall, two-thirds of Americans (67%) say that if given the choice, they would be likely to use low-carbon fuel in their personal vehicle if the cost per gallon were the same as the cost of fuel. traditional fuel,” CR said. in an overview of the new study.