The share of consumers expressing interest in acquiring a pure electric vehicle has grown to 21 percent this year, compared to 17 percent in a similar study from 2014.
Millennials and the college-educated appear to be driving this upward trend, a promising sign for the future. The study found that 29 percent of young adults between 18 and 36, along with one-quarter of college graduates, are interested in pure electric vehicles. Interest in electric vehicles is also rising among older generations. Between 2014 and 2017, the share of drivers aged 45 to 64 who would consider an electric car for their next vehicle has increased from 16 percent to 20 percent. More electric vehicles are hitting the road, as major automakers attempt to stake their claim in what many consider to be an electric-centered future for the industry.
Back in 2011, only three electric vehicle models were available for sale compared to 30 today. Further, a 2016 report from ChargePoint, which operates the world’s largest EV charging network, found that the number of electric cars on U.S. roads has climbed from just 73,000 in 2012 to 542,000 in 2016.
The recent growth in sales reflects Federal tax credits, technological advances by manufacturers and longer range batteries.
Today, eight electric vehicle models in the U.S. offer a range of more than 100 miles, compared to just two in 2015.
In addition, automakers are slowly bringing down the electric car’s hefty price tag. Due to advances in battery technology, automakers are beginning to release EVs at prices that almost match the average cost of a new car in America.
For instance, GM surprised many when it unveiled the first long-range pure electric vehicle the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Introduced at the end of 2016, it offers a range of 238 miles at a price of around $30,000 (after the $7,500 federal tax credit). Despite these milestones, electric vehicles still have a way to go in order to be adopted by the wider public.
Range remains a top concern. In fact, our study found that, among consumers interested in EVs, range is the most important factor.
A number of surveys have shown that most Americans would only feel comfortable buying an electric car that has a range over 200 miles.
There is one dark cloud on the horizon: EV sales could be seriously stunted if the federal tax credits, which have made prices attractive to consumers, are eliminated in the tax bill currently being considered by Congress.
Raghavan Mayur directs the IBD/TIPP poll, credited for its accurate results in each of the past four presidential elections. In 2016, IBD/TIPP was the only national poll to show Trump defeating Hillary Clinton in a four-way matchup.
Tom Westervelt is a research analyst at TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence.
The article appeared in the December 2017 edition of the Newsmax magazine.