EV Consumer Survey and Green Car Guide

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What’s Keeping Americans from Plugging in to Electric Vehicles?

AAA finds interest in going green remains strong but consumers still slow to adopt

Electric vehicles are not new to the automobile scene. In fact, they’ve been around almost as long as their gas-powered counterparts and for the last few years, Americans’ interest in owning one continues to grow. Despite this attraction to electric vehicles, though, consumers have yet to take the leap to going green. So, what’s holding people back?

AAA believes that similar to other new vehicle technologies, a lack of knowledge and experience may be contributing to the slow adoption of electric vehicles. For instance, AAA’s annual survey, which gauges opinions regarding electric and hybrid vehicles, found that only 4 in 10 Americans believe that most cars will be electric by 2029. Compare this to a separate study AAA conducted earlier this year that found over half of Americans believe that in this same timeframe most cars will have the ability to drive themselves – a reality that is much less likely to happen.

“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “But, like other new vehicle technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action.”

Understanding electric vehicle performance

Part of the disconnect could be that Americans may not have a solid understanding of electric vehicle performance, which may be giving consumers pause when it comes to considering electric for their next purchase. For instance, electric vehicles, unlike those running on gas, do better in stop and go traffic because the car can recapture energy to charge the battery when decelerating. However, AAA’s survey found that a majority of Americans (59 percent) were unsure of whether electric vehicles have better range when driving at highway speeds or in stop and go traffic. These results demonstrate that many consumers are not sure what to expect from an electric vehicle in two of the most common driving scenarios.

Considering an electric car purchase?

Since AAA began conducting its survey in 2017, interest in electric vehicles has continued to grow and remains steady this year over last. Forty million Americans say they would likely consider an electric vehicle for their next car purchase, with Millennials leading the pack. Consumers who may be on the fence about whether an electric vehicle is right for them should check AAA’s Green Car Guide. Each year the Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center produces this comprehensive guide, which rates electric vehicles as well as hybrids and high fuel efficient cars based on criteria such as ride quality, safety and performance. The Green Car Guide not only provides detailed reviews of each car tested, but also offers robust information on green vehicles.

“Consumers may not realize it, but they have many options when it comes to shopping for an electric vehicle,” said Megan McKernan, manager of Automotive Research Center. “The Green Car Guide can help first-time and even return buyers navigate the marketplace and dispel any misconceptions they may have about these types of vehicles.”

AAA believes that electric vehicles are a big part of the future of transportation since self-driving cars, when they do arrive, will likely be electric. The difference, of course, is that electric vehicles are already here and with the advancements in style and range that have been made over the last few years, they could be a viable option for many Americans.

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