On the occasion of Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of environmental preservation and sustainability, a consumer survey conducted by MINI USA revealed American consumers’ changing viewpoints and considerations regarding electric vehicles, highlighting shifting sentiments over the last four years since MINI first conducted the same survey.
The survey finds that over half of American consumers intend to buy an electric vehicle (EV) within the next five years, tracking both changes from current questions and adding a few new ones this year. Price (44%) and a lack of trustworthy public charging stations (18%) are the biggest persisting deterrents, according to a new survey investigating the barriers that consumers are facing in the EV buying process. But public awareness of electrification is still being raised by education programs.
The survey, which Engine’s CARAVAN® commissioned, investigates customers’ growing awareness with and embarrassment over EV infrastructure and ownership in relation to their daily travel requirements. Over the past four years, there has been a steady increase in the number of respondents who are aware of nearby charging stations, from 26% in 2019 to 44% in 2023. However, 72% of consumers believe that a reasonable charging time is one hour or less, which goes hand in hand with higher expectations for charging capabilities. This is an increase of 5% from the previous year and 13% from the previous four years.
“MINI is joined by several other automakers in the commitment to offer more electric vehicles each year, and making them more accessible to consumers than ever before,” said Andrew Cutler, Head of Communications, MINI USA. “It remains a responsibility of the industry to ensure that everyday drivers are equipped with the understanding and incentive to join the revolution that is vehicle electrification.”
Only 15% of respondents to this year’s survey cited driving range as their biggest deterrent to buying an electric vehicle, which is a new finding. This is also supported by a recurring survey question on daily driving distance, where consumers agree, and 73% of respondents say their daily driving distance is 75 miles or less. With only a tiny decline from 76% in 2022 and 74% in 2019, this number has stayed impressively constant over each year.
Consumer opinions on the most common uses for EVs appear to remain similarly consistent through time, albeit they are changing. Compared to 32% in 2022 and 34% in 2014, 31% of respondents listed “city car” as their preferred use for an EV. Additionally, “primary car” usage has remained steady at 27% over the past year, while it has increased significantly from just 18% in 2019.
The notion that pricing lies at the top of the pyramid for EV-centric considerations is reinforced by new survey questions about consumers’ purchase intent and consideration. According to the survey, the majority of consumers (58%) would not consider buying an electric vehicle unless it was equally as expensive as or less expensive than a gas-powered vehicle.
Surprisingly, young consumers — those between the ages of 18 and 34– show the opposite trend. Compared to consumers aged 45 to 64, where only 33% of respondents in this age group said they would be willing to pay more for an electric automobile, within the age group of 18 to 34, some 56% of respondents said that they would be willing to pay more for an EV.
The General Population survey was conducted among a sample of 1,010 adults 18 years of age and older on behalf of MINI USA. The online omnibus study was conducted from April 10–12, 2023. This survey was previously conducted in 2020 and 2022.
The survey does sound good for EV adoption, but the survey does not specify exactly the percentage of American consumers looking to buy an EV in the next 5 years. It just says more than half — is that 51% or higher? Also, I’m not sure about the “72% of consumers believe that a reasonable charging time is one hour or less,” either. The survey also does not specify the demographics of the 1,010 adults that participated in the survey. If the survey is a fairly accurate representation of American consumers, then EV manufacturers should really step up their game to fill demand.
Source & photo: MINI USA
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