Survey: Over 48 Million US Households Could Use A Plug-In Electrified Car

Presently the number of U.S. households with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is less than 200,000, but a nationwide survey has found there is enormous room for growth with today’s electrified cars for today’s daily driving needs.

The survey was conducted by Consumers Union and the Union of Concerned Scientists and found 42 percent of U.S. households could make daily use of a PHEV, including cars like the Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion Energi (pictured), and the like.

According to 2011 U.S. Census data, there were just short of 115 million “households” in the U.S.

The survey, conducted Sept. 26, 2013, also found that 25 percent of American households could meet their needs with a BEV such as the Nissan Leaf, or other sub-100 mile range electric cars.

A household is defined as containing “one or more people,” says the Census Bureau. “Everyone living in a housing unit makes up a household.”

Sliced another way, the survey shows 28.7 million households could meet daily driving needs with a BEV, and 48.3 million households could meet their need with a PHEV.

SEE ALSO: Should You Buy An Electric Car?

The survey also found that 69 percent of U.S. households have weekday driving habits within the range of nearly all BEVs on the market today. It also found that 65 percent of Americans think electric vehicles are an “essential part of our nation’s transportation future for reducing oil use and global warming pollution.”

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To qualify as a PHEV-capable household, respondents had to meet all three of the following requirements:

• Access to parking and an outlet, as PHEVs require charging access – 56 percent of U.S. households have access to charging.
• Five or fewer occupants (including driver), as most of today’s PHEV models are 4 or 5 person passenger cars. A total of 95 percent of U.S. households report 5 or fewer occupants in their cars.
• No hauling or towing needs, as today’s PHEVs aren’t suitable for towing – 79 percent of U.S. drivers don’t need to tow.

To utilize a BEV, respondents had to meet three additional requirements:

• Access to parking and an outlet specifically at home.
• Drive a maximum of 60 or fewer miles on weekdays. Most of today’s BEVs have driving ranges between 60 and 90 miles. A total of 69 percent of U.S. drivers have weekday range requirements safely within this range.
• Own more than one vehicle or infrequently take long trips. A second vehicle enables longer driving ranges during vacations and trips. 65 percent of U.S. households have more than one vehicle.

Survey PDF, UCS Web site