AAA: One In Five U.S. Drivers Want An Electric Vehicle

AAA Reveals Its Annual Top Picks For Electric, Hybrid And Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

GreenCarGuide_winners_overall

American appetite for electric vehicles is heating up. A new AAA survey shows that 20 percent, or 50 million Americans, will likely go electric for their next vehicle purchase, up from 15 percent in 2017. With lower-than-average ownership costs, increased driving ranges and the latest advanced safety features, AAA sees a strong future for electric vehicles. To help “green” car shoppers make an informed choice, AAA conducts independent, rigorous test-track evaluations of plug-in hybrids, hybrid and fuel-efficient, gas-powered vehicles.

“Today, electric vehicles have mainstream appeal,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “While concern for the environment is still a major motivator, AAA found U.S. drivers are also attracted to the lower long-term costs and advanced technology features that many of these vehicles offer.”

Perhaps fueling American’s desire for electric vehicles, AAA’s survey found that “range anxiety” is beginning to ease. Among those unsure or unwilling to choose an electric vehicle for their next car, 63 percent (down 9 percent from 2017) cited not enough places to charge as a detractor while 58 percent (down 15 percent from 2017) expressed concern over running out of charge while driving. Not surprisingly, range anxiety is less of a concern for millennials (48 percent) than Generation X or Baby Boomers (64 percent and 66 percent, respectively).

While range is important to most (87 percent) electric and hybrid vehicle shoppers, it is not the only consideration. Reliability is king with nine-in-ten (92 percent) of those likely to by an electric or hybrid vehicle stating it is important when evaluating which car to buy. Electric and hybrid car shoppers are also prioritizing crash ratings (77 percent), cost (71 percent), acceleration and handling (69 percent) and advanced safety technology such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance (60 percent). Fewer drivers are concerned with style, color, or design of the vehicle (34 percent) or brand of the vehicle (33 percent). Full survey results available here.

To help drivers looking to making the switch or find their next green vehicle, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center conducts extensive and thorough testing of high fuel efficiency, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles each year, and assigns ratings based on criteria important to buyers such as ride quality, safety and performance.

“A first-time buyer may feel overwhelmed or confused by the differences between gas-powered, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric,” said Megan McKernan, manager of Automotive Research Center. “Our evaluations are designed to help drivers select a safe, comfortable and reliable vehicle – not just the most efficient one.”  

In 2018, the following vehicles earned AAA’s Top Green Vehicle award:

 

Category

Vehicle

Overall

Tesla Model X 75D

Subcompact Car

Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

Compact Car

Nissan Leaf SL

Midsize Car

BMW 530e i-Performance

Large Car

Tesla Model S 75

Pickup

Ford F-150 4X4 XLT Sport

SUV/Minivan

Tesla Model X 75D

Best Under $30K

Kia Niro LX

Best $30K - $50K

Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

Best Over $50K

Tesla Model X 75D

 

Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews and an in-depth analysis of the green vehicle industry can be found at AAA.com/GreenCar.

Although Americans may be more eager to buy an electric vehicle, having the right infrastructure will be critical to its widespread adoption. In 2018, the availability of charging stations had grown to more than 16,000 in the United States and, although anxiety over range has reduced, AAA’s survey found consumer expectation for charging time while on the road may not align with reality. Seven-in-ten (68 percent) Americans feel that while out driving, a charging time of no more than 30 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to wait.

“Today’s drivers are accustomed to a quick fill up at the corner gas station, but electric vehicle charging can sometimes take several hours,” said Brannon. “With a little planning, electric vehicle owners can avoid a roadside inconvenience and, as technology improves, charging times will too.”

Editor’s Note: Additional Green Car Guide winner photos are available. Video of AAA’s Top Green Vehicle award can be found here: https://vimeo.com/266355158

Password:  2018greencar

Drivers can access EV charging station locations through the AAA Mobile app or TripTik Planner. 

Media Contacts

Elaine Beno
(714) 885-2324
Beno.Elaine@aaa-calif.com
Jeffrey Spring
(714) 885-2333
Spring.Jeffrey@aaa-calif.com