Why people are buying EVs in the U.S and why they’re not: 2 new studies offer clues

J.D Power’s U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration Study showed home ownership played a significant role in the likelihood of purchasing an EV. The study showed that 27 percent of consumers who own their own home were “very likely to consider” purchasing an EV compared with 17 percent of those who rent. The study also showed that 37 percent of premium-vehicle owners were “very likely” to consider an EV compared with 21 percent of mass-market vehicle owners.

“There certainly is a correlation there between household income and EV purchase consideration and to that end, we do see a higher level of overall consideration among shoppers who are currently driving premium-segment vehicles,” Stewart Stropp, J.D Power senior automotive retail director, said in an interview. “Having said that, we are seeing a notable increase in EV consideration among people who are driving mass-market vehicles as well. It went up 6 percentage points year over year.”

J.D Power said its study found “the more vehicle owners drive, the more they are likely to consider an EV,” and that this could be an indication that increasing fuel prices could increase demand for EVs.

But the Autolist study shows 21 percent of consumers said that the price of gasoline wasn’t a consideration in choosing an EV and just 12 percent said they’d go electric if the price of gasoline reached $6 per gallon.

Undercoffler said he doesn’t think there is much of a correlation between fuel price and willingness to purchase an EV. That’s because the Autolist study was conducted during a period when gasoline prices were steadily increasing.

“I’m inclined to think there isn’t much of a correlation. Consumers are frustrated by high gas prices, but they don’t sit there and pump gas into their vehicle thinking, ‘I’m paying $6 right now, the next thing I’m gonna do is buy an electric vehicle’,” Undercoffler said. “It goes back to the price, the range … these are such key concerns of theirs that those together far outweigh frustrations over the price of a gallon of gas.”

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