The latest annual survey by AAA found that, while many Americans are interested in electric vehicles, a lack of knowledge about them is likely contributing to the slow rate of adoption. AAA conducted a telephone survey of 1,000 adults in April 2019.
“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “But, like other new vehicle technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action.”
AAA found respondents to be ignorant of some of the most basic facts about electrified vehicle performance. For instance, every owner of a plug-in or hybrid vehicle knows that they get better mileage in stop-and-go traffic because of regenerative braking. However, AAA’s survey found that 59% of respondents were unsure of whether electric vehicles have better range in highway or city driving.
AAA found consumer interest in fully electric vehicles unchanged from 2018. Sixteen percent of respondents said they are likely to buy an EV the next time they are in the market. Unsurprisingly, Millennials and Generation Xers are more likely to consider buying an EV than Baby Boomers (23% and 17% vs 8%). Concern for the environment (74%) and lower long-term costs (56%) continue to be the key drivers of interest in EVs, and remain unchanged from 2018. Access to carpool lanes was also a powerful incentive (21%).
Objections to going electric have trended downward significantly – the number of respondents who were worried about “running out of charge” is down 11% from 2017.
AAA also produces an annual Green Car Guide, which rates EVs, hybrids and fuel-efficient legacy cars based on criteria such as ride quality, safety and performance, and provides detailed reviews of each car tested.
“Consumers may not realize it, but they have many options when it comes to shopping for an electric vehicle,” said Megan McKernan, Manager of AAA’s Automotive Research Center. “The Green Car Guide can help first-time and even return buyers navigate the marketplace and dispel any misconceptions they may have about these types of vehicles.”