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PlugInsights Explains EV Owner Changes Since 2011

Electric vehicles have begun entering the mainstream consciousness over the last few years — moving from a niche product in 2011 to a widely known and discussed one in the last few years.

In particular, Tesla Motors has played a significant role in spreading the word about electric vehicles (EVs) — though, Nissan (through the LEAF), GM/Chevy (through the Volt and Bolt), and BMW (through the i3 and i8) have definitely played a large part as well.

During this period of rapid growth, what has changed with regard to the qualities of EV owners? Are EV buyers now significantly different as compared to EV buyers in 2011?

PlugInsights research division, PlugInsights, recently explored these questions — utilizing over 7,000 survey responses from EV owners and lessees — and came up with some interesting findings.

What are the major findings of the investigation? Here you go:

The average age of EV owners and lessees has fallen notably — the vast majority were over the age of 45 back in 2011–2012, but now nearly half are under 45.

age EV buyers

While buyers and lessees started out primarily male… they are still primarily male…. Though, the gap has been closing to some degree — with more and more women EV buyers and lessees every year.

more women EVs

Single drivers are becoming somewhat more common, as opposed to the “married with kids” demographic that dominated the field previously. Interestingly, single drivers seem to be particularly inclined towards plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) like the Chevy Volt. I wonder if this is because it’s likely to be their sole vehicle, while married folks are more likely to own multiple vehicles?

marriage electric cars

Those concerned with “environmental issues” are becoming somewhat less common. The exact phrasing used in the PlugShare coverage was: “As more drivers join the ‘plug-in club,’ we are starting to see a modest tailing off of the strength with which drivers agree they’re ‘informed on environmental issues.’ Today, a lot fewer people ‘strongly agree,’ and now most simply ‘agree.’ Still, there’s no question that today’s EV-drivers are eco-minded.”

This trend is not surprising, given that climate/environmental concerns have been leading adoption drivers for early adopters, but EVs are moving more and more into the mainstream — where people are shockingly ignorant about climate/electric matters.

green electric cars

Also quite notable to us here at CleanTechnica, home solar energy system ownership amongst EV drivers has been falling — in line with lessened interest in “environmental issues” and lower economic strata (not everyone can afford a home solar energy system and it’s likely a smaller percentage of new EV adopters own their homes anyway.)

Here’s more on that last key finding: “As the circle of EV owners/leasers widens, we’re seeing home solar penetration dropping steadily. Early adopters had an astonishing 25% penetration rate, but among those who adopted an EV in 2015, it was down to only 12%. Still, given that the national home solar penetration rate is well under 1%, today’s 12% remains quite remarkable.”

I wonder if that trend will hold up? Home solar energy system costs should to continue to fall over the coming years.

solar electric vehicles


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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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