Study: American Interest in EVs is High but Not Translating to Sales

America may be a pickup truck country, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t interest in EVs.

At least, that’s according to the results of a new study from the American Automobile Association (AAA). The study shows that 30 million Americans say they’re likely to buy an EV, with millennials especially interested at one in five.

Gas prices may be hovering at 40-percent less than where they were five years ago, but the AAA says that hasn’t negatively impacted interest in EVs and hybrids. The study shows that 15 percent of Americans say they’d be interested in an EV as their next car – a number that’s not far off the number of respondents who say they’re interested in buying a pickup truck.

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“With their lower ownership costs and compatibility with emerging autonomous technologies, electric vehicles are poised to be a key vehicle of the future,” said Jana Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, in a press release.

The interest in EVs isn’t turning into sales. According to the AAA, that’s because of range anxiety, even though the average American commute is 31 miles/46 minutes – which would be within the range of most EVs on the market. Still, 69 percent of respondents were concerned about the number of charging stations, and 68 percent expressed concern about running out of charge before they reached the end of their drive.

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“Range anxiety stems from seeing gas stations, not charging stations, on every corner,” Tidwell said. “While electric vehicles may not yet fit every lifestyle, the number of charging stations has quadrupled over the last five years and battery ranges support average commutes.”

Perhaps the emergence of higher-range EVs at lower prices, such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3, will change that. Clearly, if the study is correct, public attitudes will need to change to boost EV sales.

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