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This article was published on June 4, 2021

Only 39% of Americans would switch to an EV — here’s why

Cost, age, and EV knowledge play a big role

Only 39% of Americans would switch to an EV — here’s why

A recent study by Pew Research Center shows that Americans are almost evenly divided over phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035. Specifically, 47% US adults support the proposal, while 51% oppose it.

Similarly, there are mixed feelings over switching from a gas or diesel car to an electric vehicle. 39% of Americans surveyed are likely to consider buying an EV for their next car, and a slightly higher 46% would stick to a conventional vehicle.

So which are the factors determining  consumer choice?

Pros and Cons of EVs

In terms of reliability and driving experience about half of the public (49% and 62%, respectively) sees very little difference between EVs and gasoline-powered cars. Americans also agree on the main incentive and drawback: environmental benefit vs. cost.

Roughly two-thirds (67%) say that EVs are better for the environment, while an almost same share (66%) say that they have a higher price.

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Americans consider EVs better for the environment, but more expensive
Credit: Pew Research Center
Comparison between gas-powered and electric vehicles


Consumer perception also differs with age. Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z (born after 1997) are more open to purchasing an EV, compared to Gen X (1965-1980) and Baby Boomers (1946-1964).

Specifically, Millennials would consider an EV much more than any other age group (47%), while Baby Boomers have the lowest percentage of 32%. That’s easily explainable, given that younger people are more familiar with technology and more environmentally active, contrary to older people who are less likely to change their ways.

Younger Americans and current EV owners are more likely to purchase an EV
Credit: Pew Research Center
Differences based on age group and EV knowledge

Experience with an EV

As you can see on the table above, seven out of ten current EV owners would purchase again an electric-powered vehicle. The opposite holds for conventional car owners; nearly half of them (48%) wouldn’t consider making the switch. Having some knowledge on EVs also plays a big role. More than half of the Americans who have heard about electric cars (53%) would buy one, while those who’ve had little or no information on EVs wouldn’t consider a purchase (48% and 57%, respectively).

All in all, these are optimistic numbers and it’s evident that the transition to a more sustainable motoring model is on its way. Nevertheless, cost and lack of adequate information on EVs remain major setbacks.

Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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