Concerns about charging infrastructure have contributed to a modest increase in U.S. car shoppers looking to buy electric vehicles, with just one quarter of potential buyers showing interest, according to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration Study.
The research firm discovered that 26% of shoppers are now "very likely" to consider an EV, a 2% increase from the previous year. The research focused on measuring interest in fully electric vehicles, not hybrids or plug-in hybrids.
Researchers cited three factors contributing to the slower increase in interest:
- Lower gas prices, which reduce the economic benefit of switching
- Higher interest rates, which increase the cost of already higher models than gas-powered
- Still limited public charger availability
“… the biggest friction point for consideration” is charger availability, according to Stewart Stropp, executive director of EV intelligence at J.D. Power. The research showed 49% of buyers rejected an EV purchase over worries about charging station availability. Stropp stresses that the growth in public charging isn’t keeping pace with the growing number of EVs on the road.
Manufacturers are stepping to the plate to address that issue. GM and Ford signed deals that let EV owners charge their models at 12,000 Tesla Superchargers starting next spring. Tesla’s proprietary, nationwide charging network is considered the most extensive and reliable nationwide, J.D. Power reported.
However, Tesla chargers use the North American Charging Standard port, which differs from the Combined Charging Standard port used by the Detroit automakers and others. Other OEMs must update their EVs with Tesla’s connector, and Ford and General Motors plan to starting with their 2025 models.
Still, the number of models and types of EVs is rising rapidly, researchers said.
There are over 50 available EV models now, including large pickup trucks and SUVs, luxury sedans and smaller crossovers, compared to 30 a year ago. EVs comprised 7% of U.S. light-vehicle registrations through April, compared to 4.4% in April 2022, according to Experian.
The study also found:
- Some aspects of range anxiety are declining. The more miles motorists drive, the more likely they are to consider an EV, according to the research. J.D. Power reported consumers find electricity is less expensive than gas.
- Longer commutes align with greater EV interest. Those with shorter daily drives say they will likely stay with combustion-engine vehicles.
- EV seat time more than doubles purchase interest. Just 12% of shoppers who have never driven or ridden in an EV would consider purchasing one. But 25% of those who have used one say they’re “very likely” to make an EV purchase.
- Previous ownership increases purchase consideration. Eighty percent of those who have previously owned or leased an EV say they are “very” or “somewhat likely” to get another.
- Location matters, too. California leads the nation in EV consideration, with 73% of consumers saying they are “very” or “somewhat likely” to consider an EV. Washington came in second at 67%.
J.D. Power's U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration Study draws conclusions by asking a wide range of questions about EV purchase consideration. Responses from 8,136 consumers were collected in a survey conducted between February and May of this year.
Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today