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Survey shows that 20% of Americans will go electric for their next car, great progress but could improve

A new AAA survey shows that 20 percent or 50 million Americans will likely go electric for their next vehicle purchase.

The data can be encouraging or depressing depending on how you look at it.

The figure is an increase from just 15 percent in the same AAA survey from last year.

Based on the current electric vehicle adoption rate, it’s an encouraging number and it shows that automakers need to increase their EV production capacity in order to meet that demand.

But it also shows that electric vehicles have an awareness issue since a large majority of the population still doesn’t think that they are suitable for them.

The survey gives some insight into what are the main concerns of those who don’t see EVs as fit for them:

“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).”

Charging options and range anxiety still seem to be the main barriers to adoption even though they are mostly non-issues for most people.

With the survey, AAA also released its Top Green Vehicle awards for 2018:

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

Tesla vehicles take 4 categories while the Chevy Bolt EV gets away with two on its own.

Electrek’s Take

We have been saying for a while now that despite the presence of companies like Tesla and vehicles like the Chevy Bolt EV, electric vehicles still have an awareness issue.

Many buyers simply think that EVs are not for them. Of course, charging and range are those people’s main concerns.

Most charging happens at home and for the times when that’s not possible, public charging networks are growing at such an impressive rate that it will not be an issue for long.

As for running out of charges, unless you are literally someone who drives with the mindset of “wherever the road takes me” and you don’t do any planning when going on the road, it’s very hard to run out of charge.

Ask AAA, who did that survey, about it. They deployed a fleet of trucks with EV charging in order to serve their customers who run out of charge.

While they did have to help of a few AAA members, it’s nothing in comparison to the  ~500,000 assistance requests AAA received every year from drivers who ran out of gas.

I think that’s why ‘EV ambassadors” are important. I know we can seem annoying sometimes, but don’t be afraid to talk about EVs. People need to hear more about it and understand the benefit of ownership.

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Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

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