Despite the fact that gas prices are about 40 percent lower than five years ago, a new AAA study found that consumer interest in electric vehicles and hybrids has not waned. In fact, more than 30 million Americans are likely to buy an electric vehicle for their next car.
The number of Americans interested in an electric vehicle approaches the number planning to purchase a pickup truck, with 15 percent of U.S. drivers reporting they are likely to buy an electric vehicle for their next car. Millennials are even more accepting of electric vehicles, with nearly 1 in 5 interested in going electric for their next car.
Concern for the environment remains the primary motivating factor for electric vehicle shoppers, but AAA also found that lower long-term costs, desire for the latest technology and access to car pool lanes are all influential.
The survey also found that fuel economy remains a major purchase consideration for all U.S. drivers, with 70 percent rating it as an important factor in selecting any vehicle – equal to the importance of the cost, crash rating and performance – ahead of safety technology, brand, style, color and design and smartphone connectivity.
While electric vehicles are an attractive option for car shoppers, AAA found that more than half of Americans are hesitant to make the switch due to “range anxiety” – the concern over running out of charge or having too few locations to charge a vehicle. This fear persists despite the fact that U.S. drivers report an average round-trip commute length and time that are well within the range that most electric vehicles offer. In addition, the number of charging stations has quadrupled to more than 15,000 locations over the last five years.