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Published on November 11th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan


45% of Current Electric Car Drivers Plan to Buy a Tesla Next — #CleanTechnica Report

November 11th, 2018 by  

Below is one chapter of our new electric car driver report, Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams.

You’re going to be shocked — the electric car that respondents most frequently said they were most likely to buy next (or for the first time in the case of non-EV drivers) was the Tesla Model 3. Over 100,000 reservations ($1,000 each) were placed for the car in under 24 hours — even before the car was shown. The demand was through the roof and ended up being the single biggest product reveal in history by certain key metrics. So, it is not a surprise in the least that this electric car tops the list of “expected next EV model.”

That said, the Tesla Model 3 didn’t account for the majority of answers, demonstrating that the electric car market is broad and goes far beyond the Model 3. Delving into the less desired models is perhaps more interesting than dwelling on the Model 3’s dominance, since they get much less attention but are still cars that many consumers are eager to place in their garages.

As with our first two EV owner reports, one thing that stands out is how loyal many consumers are to the brands and models they are currently driving. Many Volt drivers plan to get a Bolt, many LEAF drivers plan to get another LEAF, and many Tesla drivers are filling out their family fleets with other Tesla models or are upgrading to the latest and greatest versions of the Tesla vehicles they already have.

For example, 87% of North American Tesla drivers plan to buy another Tesla next, and that is without removing several respondents who said they didn’t intend to buy another car or had no idea what their next car would be. More specifically, 33% of them intended to get a Model 3, 17% a Model Y, 17% a Model S, 16% a Model X, and several even wrote in “Tesla Roadster” or “Tesla Pickup” since those vehicles weren’t on the list of options.

In Europe, the figure was 83%, with 34% choosing the Model 3, 28% the Model S, 13% the Model Y, 8% the Model Y, and 2% the next Roadster.

Back to North America, where 60% of plug-in hybrid respondents said they drive a Chevy Volt, the Tesla Model 3 still won the race for next EV purchase, landing 22% of responses. However, GM models took the next two podium positions, with 16% of respondents planning to buy a Chevy Bolt EV next and 9% a Chevy Volt. The Tesla Model S and Tesla Model Y each scored 4% while the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV each pulled in 3%. Beyond those options, the remaining responses were spread across several models, and there were again a number of respondents who simply didn’t have a guess about what they’d buy next or didn’t intend to buy another car at all.

Regarding pure electric cars, 30% of North American respondents had a Tesla (meaning 70% had something other than a Tesla) and 29% of European respondents had a Tesla. In other words, the Tesla-to-non-Tesla split was almost identical.

Non-Tesla pure-electric drivers largely drove LEAFs (43%) and Bolts (27%) in North America and LEAFs (34%) and Zoes (25%) in Europe. Other vehicles with fairly strong showings in North America were the Fiat 500e (6%), BMW i3 (5%), Ford Focus Electric (4%), VW e-Golf (4%), and Kia Soul EV (4%). In Europe, the cars at or above 4% of non-Tesla, pure-EV market share were the pure electric BMW i3 (10%), Hyundai Ioniq Electric (10%), Kia Soul EV (6%), and VW e-Golf (5%). (Note: The BMW i3 REx was categorized as a PHEV for the purposes of this report.)

Yet again, this category of drivers expected to buy a Tesla Model 3 next more than any other EV, but the hottest EV on the market pulled in only a quarter or so of responses (23% in North America and 27% in Europe). In North America, another 4% intended to get a Model S next and 4% a Model Y, but the more popular choices for these respondents’ next electric cars were the Chevy Bolt (16%) and Nissan LEAF (14%).

In Europe, other high-demand electric cars included the Nissan LEAF (12%), Hyundai Kona EV (10%), Renault Zoe (6%), BMW i3 (5%), Tesla Model S (5%), and Hyundai Ioniq EV (4%).

The following chart provides an overview of the most popular models for respondents’ expected next EV, broken down by the 6 distinct EV driver groups. There is also one chart for all responses combined, but just displaying the top 30 models.

New to this year’s edition of the report, we also surveyed non-EV drivers. We were very curious how their responses regarding their future electric car (or cars) compared to responses from EV drivers. Note that these respondents were able to choose more than one model, which presumably led some of them to include multiple top options for a single purchase while also allowing some respondents who did intend to buy more than one EV the ability to select all of their expected purchases.

In Europe, a whopping 59% of respondents expected to buy a Tesla Model 3, an impressive 40% expected to buy the Nissan LEAF (presumably boosted by a longer range version of the car expected next year), 22% expected to buy the Hyundai Ioniq EV, 21% expected to buy a Renault Zoe (currently Europe’s top selling electric car), 15% expected to by a Tesla Model S, 15% expected to buy a VW e-Golf, 12% expected to buy the Hyundai Kona EV (not yet on the market), 11% expected to buy the BMW i3, 11% expected to buy the Open Ampera-e, and 10% expected to buy a Tesla Model Y (a car that hasn’t even been shown yet).

In North America, the results were similar, but with some notable differences due to vehicle availability. The top models were the Tesla Model 3 (58%), Chevy Bolt (34%), Nissan LEAF (32%), Chevy Volt (18%), Tesla Model S (15%), and again Tesla Model Y (14%). That’s right, not as many models rose above the 10% marker, but that’s in good part because of how diversified responses were for this segment.

In terms of when they expected to “go electric,” 60% of European respondents expected to do so within the next 3 years while 57% of North American respondents expected to do so in the next 3 years.

To learn more, check out our full 2018 electric car driver report: Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams.

Compare these results to last year’s report: “23–50% of Electric Car Drivers Plan to Get Tesla Model 3 Next (CleanTechnica Report).”

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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