Home » Less Than Half Of Americans Are Interested In Purchasing An EV: Poll

Less Than Half Of Americans Are Interested In Purchasing An EV: Poll

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The Associated Press is out with a poll today showing that EV adoption might continue to be slow given that, at most, 4-in-10 Americans would at least be somewhat likely to buy an electric car. You know what people seem to be open to? Plug-in hybrids.

Is this disappointing news or good news? The AP piece accompanying the poll seems to indicate it’s bad news. I’m less convinced. If people are hesitant to buy an electric car it’s not entirely a surprise given how slow every company that’s not Tesla has been to roll out chargers.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

And then, of course, there are stories of automakers like Fisker. A recent deep dive into the company seems to indicate things looked even worse from the inside than they did from the outside.

If there’s good news today it’s that Volvo has issued a passport for its car batteries using blockchain technology, which is a hell of a sentence.

How Many EV Buyers Were You Expecting?

Mustang Mach E Frunk
Filling every Mach-E frunk with Shrimp probably doesn’t help. Photo: Ford

The big polling news of the day isn’t over the presidential election, or the upcoming UK election, but over electric cars. It comes via the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, which is a name so long you’d think it was a Land Rover product.

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You can read the AP piece about it here, which gives off very ‘Biden is too far ahead of the population’ vibes:

The poll results, which echo an AP-NORC poll from last year, show that President Joe Biden’s election-year plan to dramatically raise EV sales is running into resistance from American drivers. Only 13% of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household owns or leases a gas-hybrid car, and just 9% own or lease an electric vehicle.

Caleb Jud of Cincinnati said he’s considering an EV, but may end up with a plug-in hybrid — if he goes electric. While Cincinnati winters aren’t extremely cold, “the thought of getting stuck in the driveway with an EV that won’t run is worrisome, and I know it wouldn’t be an issue with a plug-in hybrid,″ he said. Freezing temperatures can slow chemical reactions in EV batteries, depleting power and reducing driving range.

The article is very much the classic AP formula for covering anything (find a diverse mix of voices that don’t proportionally represent the AP‘s own polling data) and includes fun characters such as: Guy from Texas who doesn’t believe in global warming but has three EVs to save money and Florida lady who suddenly cares about the mining of precious metals and child labor but only in the context of electric cars for some reason that isn’t explored.

Let’s look at the actual numbers, though, because I think there’s some important context here. Right up top, 78% of respondents believe climate change is happening, which is the highest since the AP started doing this poll, with more than half of respondents saying climate change was caused entirely or mostly by human activities.

That’s pretty good considering the last eight years of a pandemic, cable news, and Facebook turned everyone’s minds into mush.

It’s the first year that this poll has asked if people have a gas-hybrid vehicle and it seems 13% of people do, followed by 6% who own a plug-in hybrid (slightly down from 2023, but within the sampling error), and 9% with an electric vehicle.

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Here’s the big question, though:

AP poll results
Source: AP-NORC

Again, we’re in the margin of error here, with more people saying they’re extremely/very likely to purchase an EV compared to 2023, but slightly down for “somewhat likely.”

More interesting is the reason why people wouldn’t consider an EV, which is that 59% percent think cost is a major issue (they’re not wrong). Another 47% list range as a major concern, and 38% of people say they don’t know of any charging stations nearby.

Perhaps the most interesting question is about Chinese EVs. The AP asked the following question:

Suppose you were planning on purchasing an electric vehicle and you had the choice between buying a vehicle made in China and one made in the United States. The U.S. made vehicle costs $__ more than the Chinese-made vehicle, but they are otherwise similar in performance and appearance. Would you purchase the less expensive vehicle made in China or the more expensive vehicle made in the U.S.?

The biggest surprise is that 22% of respondents would buy a Chinese car if they saved even $500. The scale slides until you reach 37% of Americans saying they’d buy a Chinese car over an American one if they could save $5,000. Even with double the tariffs, a Chinese automaker might be able to sell a car that saves that much money, though I think the sweet spot is $1,000.

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So what’s the takeaway here? If you’re the AP it seems to be that people aren’t embracing EVs in spite of all the rhetoric. I have the exact opposite take. People still feel roughly the same as they do about EVs in spite of all the bad news, the anti-EV rhetoric, and the lack of great EV choices. If cost is the biggest factor, as the AP suggests, then this is a problem that’s eventually solvable. (It’ll be interesting to see how well the Chevy Equinox EV does.)

Still, if 40% of people actually did buy an EV for their next vehicle that would be an enormous win for the industry which, at this point, probably can’t even make that many electric cars (at least ones that will qualify for an EV tax credit).

The Federal Government Has Committed Billions For Chargers And… Eight Stations Are Now Open

0x0 Supercharger 01
Source: Tesla

Federal, state, and local governments in the United States are bad about encouraging the building of things that are not planes or bombs and, even then, they’re not that great at planes either. Some look at this as a problem of government itself, even though most other modern countries seem to build infrastructure without as many issues.

The building of an electric charging network is one of those projects that goes to show just how complex this all is, with a total of eight chargers built out of hoped-for network of 500,000 by 2030 (encompassing both public and private chargers, currently there are 174,000 plugs online).

Some of this is the expected typical process of having to go through rounds of approvals, get power, clear regulations, et cetera. Wyoming has few EVs, and estimates show that the most popular charging station would probably charge fewer than six cars a day, so the state government isn’t in a hurry. Some reasons, according to this thorough report from Automotive News, are more unique:

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Some state applications require bid bonds or letters of credit, said Sara Rafalson, executive vice president of policy and external affairs for EVgo. State departments of transportation mandate those requirements after experiences with infrastructure projects, such as bridges.

“It just doesn’t really translate to EV charging,” she said.

Other issues include delayed proposal timelines and a lack of coordination between the state and the power company, she said.

ChargePoint shares those concerns and has been wary of states that cap charging operators’ earning potential. Minnesota, Iowa, Kentucky and North Carolina say the annual return on investment cannot exceed 15 to 25 percent, depending on the state.

To make things even more fun, Tesla walking back its Supercharger program after being approved for government funds is probably going to cause some delays. If there’s a silver lining it’s that, as a subsidy, the cost offset of federal funds is likely to make sites that do get built profitable on a much faster timeline.

Fisker Reportedly Took Parts Off Henrik Fisker’s Car, Had Suppliers Fly Parts In Luggage

Fisker Ocean 1

The great Sean O’Kane over at TechCrunch put out a whopper of a story on what happened at Fisker, and it seems to underline the idea that Fisker was not a well-run business.

The road to Fisker’s ultimate ruin may start and end with its flawed Ocean SUV, which has been riddled with mechanical and software problems. But it was paved with hubris, power struggles, and the repeated failure to set up basic processes that are foundational for any automaker.

“The lack of processes and procedures was kind of mind-blowing,” Sean O’Grady, a former regional sales manager at Fisker, told TechCrunch. “The same excuse that I kept hearing all the time was, well, if you’ve never worked for a startup before, this is what it’s like, it’s chaotic.”

The article is full of cringe-worthy anecdotes, but the one that stuck out to me was that the company allegedly didn’t stockpile extra parts because, as Henrik Fisker’s wife/CFO/COO Geeta Gupta-Fisker reportedly put it, the build quality at Magna was “superior” so the Ocean was unlikely to run into many problems and need extra parts.

There were so few parts that Magna engineers allegedly flew parts to the U.S. in luggage and pinched parts from the production line, which was not sufficient:

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So the company started cannibalizing cars that had been returned, or ones that the company had on hand for marketing purposes, according to multiple employees. This included the Ocean SUV that Henrik Fisker used. Employees removed his car’s steering wheel, some interior panels, and even his driver’s seat cushion for use in customer cars.

Employees also salvaged parts from the Ocean that former Chief Accounting Officer John Finnucan used, weeks before he left the company.

Matt DeBord, a guy who worked briefly with some of us at Jalopnik, is now the VP of Comms there and he said, on behalf of the company, that these claims are false.

Volvo Is Giving Its Batteries Passports

Volvo Ex90
Source: Volvo

Cars are complex and made of parts from all over the world. This has always been an issue and the sourcing of parts comes up for various reasons, often either logistical or political, on occasion. Now that governments are looking into battery sourcing before handing out incentives or tariffs, the sourcing of car parts has never been important.

How do you prove where a battery comes from? Volvo’s idea is a passport (though, a passport for stuff is usually called a carnet) for its batteries. The EX90 SUV, built in South Carolina, will be the first vehicle to get such a passport. The passport was developed by UK-based company Circulor.

Per Reuters:

Circulor’s system traces battery materials from the mine to individual cars, piggybacking on suppliers’ production systems to track materials throughout the supply chain and checking suppliers’ monthly energy bills – and how much of their energy comes from renewable sources in order to calculate a total carbon footprint.

That’s cool. I like this. Also, the passport will include data on the battery’s health.

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What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

It’s the second most important song called “Creep” from the ’90s, but it’s been in my mind since church this weekend when the gospel lesson was from the third chapter of the book of Mark. In this story, Jesus goes into a synagogue and sees a guy with a messed-up hand. The Pharisees wait to see if Jesus will heal the dude on the sabbath, which he does, and they get mad about it and tell on him. I’m a fan of this lesson, but I was immediately distracted by my wife, in her best Scott Weiland voice, leaning over and whispering in my ear “Take time with a wounded hand ‘Cause it likes to heal.” I stifled a laugh, but now the song has been stuck in my head for a few days.

The Big Question

Has your view of EVs changed in the last year?

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Michael Hess
Michael Hess
17 days ago

I definitely am not buying any EV’s. Already have two! Lol.

2022 Model Y and a Cybertruck. Keeping my for other gas vehicles.

But when I need to replace any, EV all the way. Literally no downsides anymore, and many upsides!

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
17 days ago

First of all. I don’t make enough income to afford a new car, let alone a more expensive EV. Second, I would have to do a lot of electrical renovations to install a charger probably $5,000-$8,000 to install a new breaker run 220v under my house in conduit and then dig a trench down my driveway to install a pedistal charger.

Last … EVs still seem like they are in the “beta” stages. prices are going down steadily and range is going up steadily plus battery life on any non tesla is sketchy.

Matthew Hogan
Matthew Hogan
18 days ago

my opinion has changed in that it is far less favorable. I see this as the ‘southern California problem.’ Most actual BEV are sold in SoCal, and therefore are made for SoCal with pricing and incentives reserved for SoCal. Several times in the past year I have seen a special lease or purchase deal for a BEV advertised here or other forums only to find out is not available in the midwest. My GF and I will likely buy two cars in the next 12 to 18 months, both will need to be reliable for intended use of 150K miles or more, and need to have relative luxury features like ventilated seats and heated steering wheels but not luxury labels and need to be out-the-door not dime over 20k. With interest rates what they are, we will not take out loans. There are no BEV that come close to that proposition.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
17 days ago
Reply to  Matthew Hogan

only gas car that comes to mind with those specs is a VW jetta but those aren’t even under 20k

Matthew Hogan
Matthew Hogan
16 days ago
Reply to  Bassracerx

Chrysler 300 is current leader in the clubhouse

Chris Osborne
Chris Osborne
18 days ago

My interest is zero. Not because I wouldn’t want to have interest. I have zero ability to charge an EV. I live in a townhome with a carport. My HOA has no policy or idea how to get this fixed. Plenty of people live in apartments and townhomes that have absolutely zero ability to figure out the infrastructure for charging. My next car would 100% be and EV if this were fixed.

Scruffinater
Scruffinater
18 days ago

OMG that was my scripture lesson this week too! I know these things are often pretty coordinated within, and even across, denominations, but I don’t listen to multiple services per week so it still feels kinda miraculous. Like does Matt go to my church and I never noticed!? And obviously, Matt, your wife is awesome. Make sure to tell her for me!

Scott Wangler
Scott Wangler
18 days ago

I drive a lot. The cost per mile is important to me. The depreciation is too much for me to justify an electric car.

MY LEG!
MY LEG!
18 days ago

What I think will induce critical mass is the “innovative” idea of… just making a good car that’s fit for purpose that just happens to have an electric powertain, instead of hyping up An Electric Car and hoping that the novelty of “WOWIE you can CHARGE AT HOME” sells it for you.

I also don’t think I’m alone in that I don’t want a “mobility solution” that, for a few bucks to the right people, will snitch me out if I’ve visited a politically-incorrect establishment (abortion clinics, gun shops, clinics that deal in gender issues, homeless shelters, protests, etc). ICE cars doing that now is bad, letting it sink in further is worse.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
18 days ago

We bought an EV because my wife really wanted one. I was interested because there is less regular maintenance, and it would be nice not to be as reliant on gas.

What I did not expect (and the part of my view that changed) is that it is the most comfortable driving experience I’ve ever had. Far better than any ICE car I’ve ever driven. It’s not a particularly fast car (Bolt EUV) but the torque makes it absolutely effortless to drive around town. One pedal driving is so nice for stop and go, it’s almost relaxing. The lack of shifting and engine noise is absolutely serene. I did not expect to enjoy the experience so much.

I’d still keep my roadster for fun, but an EV for daily duty would be really nice if I could replace my truck. Holding out hopes for a PHEV version soon.

S Chen
S Chen
18 days ago

My Model Y is the fastest, smoothest, and most enjoyable car that I’ve ever owned. I previously had Acura ICE cars in the past. I can easily charge with 240V in my private garage. The only downside to an EV is that because DCFC takes longer than filling a gas tank, road trips take more time. But I rarely drive long distances in this car. I also find it an acceptable trade off to make 99.9% of my driving time more enjoyable.

However, I do recognize that there are (apparently) people out there who need to drive 500 miles at a single stretch, while towing a trailer.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
18 days ago

Why are we not talking about this “9% own or lease an electric vehicle” factoid?

That CANNOT be right, if sales of new cars are only now pinging 9ish% and the average fleet age is 13ish years. This is the part where a more motivated version of me finds the methodology, tears it apart, and the rest of the numbers lose credibility.

Second, over the past few years, how does the percentage claiming interest in buying a BEV compare to the percentage that actually DOES buy a BEV? There’s enough data there now to extrapolate what sales will look like.

Last edited 18 days ago by Pit-Smoked Clutch
DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
14 days ago

Indeed.

BagoBoiling
BagoBoiling
18 days ago

Absolutely. 1 year ago I was planning on buying a new family hauler that was gas only. Then after two vacations where we rented EV’s my whole perspective changed. I absolutely love them. We couldn’t move to a full EV on our family hauler (due to lack of infrastructure in northern WI/Upper Michigan) but we did get a PHEV and now can’t wait to upgrade the wife’s commuter car to a full EV in 2 years or less.

WaCkO
WaCkO
18 days ago

If you would have asked me last year and I would have told you nope, not interested, it’s not made for me….
I bought a brand new EV just under 2 weeks ago, so new I didn’t even make my first bi-weekly payment.
So yes my view has changed. I drive about 750 kms weekly. My 2017 forester was due for new tires, a/c stopped working and now has over 230000kms. Figured it would cost me about the same or even less over 5 years if I would buy a new gas car+ gas. So I gave a cash down of about the price or a gas car and every two weeks I give Kia about the same amount I used to give Petro Canada.
Now, do you want to buy my high mileage forester?

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
18 days ago

I own an EV and have for 4 years now. I had a hybrid before. I wouldn’t consider a non-electrified car of some kind.

But despite having used and liked my vehicles etc, my parents still got uphold into an AWD Escape because the hybrid is only fwd, and supposedly the benefit to them won’t exist because they drive a lot on the hwy.

I tried to steer them into an awd prius if that was what they really wanted, but apparently 6+ inches of ground clearance is too little. Even when the only 7.5 of the escape is fine.

People have all sorts of weird meaningless excuses they give to themselves to avoid change, so honestly 40% isn’t that bad of a number.

Darnon
Darnon
16 days ago
Reply to  Amschroeder5

And they got misled; only the plug-in Escape is FWD-only, but the regular hybrid does come in AWD.

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
16 days ago
Reply to  Darnon

Shocking that, a sales person misleading people? Weird right

Church
Church
18 days ago

I’d buy an EV if anyone made one I wanted. I want an electric sedan that isn’t stupid expensive and doesn’t seem to object to my very presence like the model 3 does. I’d be tempted with the Ioniq 6, but I’m not sold on Kia.

WaCkO
WaCkO
18 days ago
Reply to  Church

I wanted a Ioniq5 and in my head wanted it white with Martini livery. But my Hyundai dealer told me it’s still a 6-12month waiting list. Then I called my Kia dealer on April 15, and I got My yacht blue Ev6 on may 24th.
I really like it so far, only hit 1000kms yesterday

Willybear
Willybear
18 days ago

I’m sorry… You are posing this as if it is a remarkably low percentage. That a little over 4 in 10 americans have interest in buying an EV seems honestly pretty high.

Glass (almost) half full, Matt!

Scruffinater
Scruffinater
18 days ago
Reply to  Willybear

Hear, hear!

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
18 days ago

I don’t know if my view of EVs has changed but my interest in current models definitely has.

I was interested in the small car variants that existed, and hoping more would come, the e-Golf and maybe an e-New-Beetle option, that GM or even Hyundai would electrify their small truck variants to one up the Maverick. Heck I bought a Bolt, and when doing so was looking at the Kia Soul EV and Focus Electric, basic cheap EV transportation, but those options have all gone away except the Leaf(Chademo anyone?).

By this time I was expecting more variety but it’s like we have even less than 5 years ago, it’s mostly 40K+ crossovers and 75k+ trucks, or for Sedans, 100k+, think we’re going the wrong direction.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
19 days ago

I bought an EV just over a year ago, and my opinion has changed in that time. I truly now believe that manufacturers simply going after range, and trying to duplicate how tesla has designed interiors is a huge mistake. If manufacturers were still making bolts and cars like my e-golf(even the i3), where they aren’t behemoths, had a low cd, they would keep prices low, and many more people would except 200ish miles of range. $65k+ luxury vehicles with a large amount of batteries, are a waste of the resources, and provide fewer viable options for the people who do want them.

After about 8k miles in a year, my total at home energy charging cost was $165.

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