Editors: B-roll of an electric car being driven is available here to preview the Auto Club's zero-emission vehicle show in Los Angeles.
AAA’s latest consumer survey reveals that one-quarter of Americans say they would be likely to buy an all-electric vehicle when shopping for their next automobile, with Millennials leading the way. Of those who want to buy electric, the common factor is a strong desire to save on fuel costs, with 77% citing this as a top reason for their interest.
Following skyrocketing gas prices this year and the new California Air Resources Board requirement to stop selling new gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035, consumer interest in purchasing electric vehicles will continue to increase. However, drivers still have concerns about green car technology.
AAA’s survey showed the top concerns drivers have about EV purchases include:
- Higher purchase price – 60%
- Concern there are not enough places to charge – 60%
- Concern about running out of charge when driving – 58%
- Unsuitable for long-distance travel – 55%
- High cost of battery repair or replacement – 55%
- Inability to install a charging station where they live – 31%
Another recent study by the Automobile of Southern California shows that two-thirds (62%) of vehicle owners, surveyed across various parts of the U.S., have positive opinions about EVs, but a sizable minority (21%) have negative views.
Among those with positive opinions of EVs:
- 74% believe EVs are better for the environment
- 28% believe EVs will save people money, especially with high gas prices
- 13% believe EVs are the future of automobiles and give people hope for a cleaner future
For those with negative opinions about EVs, the following were the most common concerns:
- EVs are not as accessible to people with lower incomes – 84%
- EVs are not as convenient for people who live in locations where a charger is not available (rural areas/multi-family housing) – 81%
AAA research shows that much improvement has been made in EV design and charging infrastructure as sales of EVs became more widespread over the last decade.
- Performance: Electric vehicles are more efficient in stop-and-go traffic because the car can recapture energy from braking to charge the battery when decelerating.
- Public vs. Home Charging: A previous AAA survey revealed electric vehicle owners do 75% of their charging at home. Most electric vehicles come with a 120-volt, Level 1 AC charger that plugs into a standard household electrical outlet. Level 1 charging provides between 2 and 5 miles of range per hour, which is adequate for a typical U.S. driver who averages about 30 miles daily.
- Accessibility: Often, public charging is less accessible for people living in dense cities or multi-family housing. In those cases, public charging is the only option. The U.S. Department of Energy data suggests there are nearly 55,674 charging stations throughout the nation. While charging infrastructure has improved, more work will be needed to support greater consumer adoption in the coming years.
- Integration: According to previous AAA research, most owners of electric vehicles (78%) usually have one or more gas-powered or non-plug-in hybrid vehicles in the household in addition to their electric vehicles. Educating consumers on the benefits of using an electric vehicle for shorter commutes while using their gas-powered vehicle for longer trips may go a long way in addressing range anxiety.
- Roadside Assistance: AAA is synonymous with the automobile, whether electric or gas-powered, which includes servicing those members who own electric vehicles. AAA finds that much like gas-powered vehicles, the top reasons for roadside assistance for electric vehicle owners include issues with tires or needing a tow, but rarely for running out of charge.
U.S. electric car sales climbed sharply this year, despite inventory shortages. Vehicles that run on batteries accounted for 5.6% of new car sales from April through June, still a small slice of the market, but twice the share compared to a year ago. EV sales in 2021 doubled, compared to a 29 percent increase for other types of vehicles, according to industry consulting firm Cox Automotive. Currently, the California Air Resources Board reports that 12.4% of vehicles sold in the state are zero-emission and are primarily electric-powered.
A recent analysis found that California needs at least 1.2 million new electric vehicle chargers by 2030 if it will have a chance to meet the state’s goal. Currently, there are only 80,000 public and shared chargers in the state
For those interested in learning more or who need help with selecting an electric vehicle, the AAA Car Guide provides consumers with car reviews. All category winners for 2022 are electric, plug-in electric hybrid, or hybrid vehicles.
The AAA Car Guide is published annually and includes value-added information about a range of vehicles, including all electric and fuel-cell cars and trucks.
AAA also provides an online Your Driving Costs calculator. The tool is updated annually and provides the latest information for consumers to determine the full cost of driving, including vehicle purchase, operation, fuel/energy, maintenance, insurance, and fees and taxes. The calculator, available at aaa.com/autorepair/drivingcosts, is customizable by state, amount of driving, and vehicle make, year, model, and trim. This is a great tool to empower drivers to know what it will cost to get around in a new or used car or truck which they are thinking about buying, whether it is powered by gasoline or electricity.
For decades, the Auto Club has researched and supported cleaner vehicle options for drivers. The Auto Club's Automotive Research Center (ARC), located in Los Angeles and founded in 1967, evaluates automotive industry developments and vehicles, including their fuel efficiency, emissions, and safety, and publishes the annual AAA Car Guide.