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New survey shows buyers still not sure about EVs

New survey shows buyers still not sure about EVs

Love them or hate them, electric vehicles are the future. Alongside smaller volumes of other fuels like Mazda’s algae-fuel, EVs are the most popular vision of the direction of travel for cars going forward. It seems many Americans and some Canadians still don’t buy into that vision.

A survey by JD Power released last week showed as much. The J.D. Power 2020 Q1 Mobility Confidence Index Study illustrated that both Canadian buyers and our southern neighbours are yet to be convinced that batteries will replace gas anytime soon. This is a wakeup call, both to automakers and to the car buying public. The industry is changing and everyone needs to keep up.

“Frankly, we’re concerned for automakers,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & human machine interface research at J.D. Power.

“They’re pushing forward with technology that consumers seem to have little interest in. Nor are they making the strides needed to change people’s minds. Especially now, automakers need to reevaluate where they’re spending money. They are investing billions in these technologies but they need to also invest in educating consumers. Lack of knowledge is a huge roadblock for future adoption.”

The electric car survey

The survey makes sobering reading. It says that both Americans and Canadians are losing confidence in the direction the automotive industry is travelling.

The survey says:

  • Consumers don’t believe the technology is ready—or that society is ready. It says 75% of Canadians and 67% of Americans do not think self-driving technology is ready for the mainstream.
  • Up to 70% of Americans and 67% of Canadians have never even sat in an EV.
  • Only 29% of Americans and 31% of Canadians are planning an EV purchase in the coming four years.

The survey cites the availability of charging stations, EV range and the purchase price as the three biggest barriers to entry for EVs.

Some owners who had previously purchased an EV said they wouldn’t buy one again as they didn’t seem fit for purpose. Others said they cost too much and mentioned the same range anxiety as those who had yet to own an electric vehicle.

None of the reasons given should be new to anyone interested in the auto industry but the numbers citing those reasons might. Given the numbers of inquiries we get here at Car Nation Canada around electric vehicles, we imagined the appetite to be much higher than it obviously is.

These opinions will change over time. Partly because societal changes gradually gain a momentum of their own, like wearing seat belts and not drinking and driving. Changes will also be forced by the automakers. Almost every automaker out there has committed to zero emission motoring within the next 20 years so when there are no more gas-powered cars to buy, attitudes will have to change!

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