Photo by Carolyn Fortuna/ CleanTechnica

Why You Should Buy An EV For Your Next Vehicle

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In recent years, the nearly total reliance on gasoline and diesel for transportation has led to a sharp increase in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide), and that reliance is now understood as a major cause of global warming and climate change. Should the number of vehicles with internal combustion engines increase in years to come, so, too, would the dependence on oil expand — it’s important to keep in mind that the transport sector accounts for about 60% of the total oil demand. When a consumer makes the decision to buy an electric vehicle (EV), they help to provide a sustainable solution to mitigate the environmental and energy crises and help meet the targets for achieving carbon neutrality under the Paris Agreement.

Clearly, the transition to electric mobility contributes to the reduction of environmental pollution, which is also beneficial for public health and helps to reduce fossil energy consumption, however. Those common sense reasons just don’t seem to be enough to convince naysayers to join the EV revolution. What would it take to get a reluctant consumer to buy an EV?

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Looking at the Details behind Consumer Motivation to Buy an EV

Certainly, the purchase of EVs is an altruistic pro-environmental behavior, so consumers’ moral norms are likely to affect their intent to purchase EVs. Consumers’ eco-consciousness is even more powerful when mediated by their assessment of quality and the product’s perceived value. Expectations of the complexity of technological innovation adoption is an important factor in generating emotion as an important eco-innovation product. Antecedents such as cognitive environmental risk and cognitive environmental benefits can weigh heavily.

Many studies analyze public acceptance of EVs and point out the gap between adoption intention and actual adoption behavior. An interesting 2023 study breaks down several characteristics that contribute to a positive intention toward an EV purchase.

  • Consumer characteristics: The category consists of attitude; perceived behavioral control; trust, perception of EV/product perception; willingness to pay; openness to experience/personal innovativeness; and previous EV driving experience.
  • EV characteristics: This category consists of price level; financial/cost factor; driving range limit; (re)charging time; maximum speed; performance; perceived usefulness and/or ease of use; perceived risk; perceived benefit; perceived barrier; and environmental impacts.
  • EV-related policies: A mostly negative impact emerged in this category in relation to two antecedents: poor professional pre-sales consulting and experience services; and perceived importance of pre- and post-sale services.

Another way to come to understand EV adoption is to zoom in on the purchase intentions of consumers with different levels of income through the addition of anticipated emotional factors, as outlined in a 2022 study. High-income consumers’ purchase intentions, it turned out, mainly depend on negative attitude emotion, while low income consumers’ purchase intentions mainly depend on positive attitude emotion. Consumers’ emotional connections with the greenness of battery EVs and supportive government policies play a significant role in their purchasing inclinations.

Moving the discussion to a more pragmatic level, some drivers continue to express hesitancy to buy an EV due to a perceived lack of public infrastructure and associated unsatisfactory driving range. Yet there are more opportunities than ever for drivers to charge their cars and alleviate these insecurities.

  • EV home charging — those charging points belong to the users for private use;
  • Public street charging — the charging points are located in a public space; and,
  • Charging stations on private property with public access.

High purchase price and the battery cost are also among top barriers to the purchase of an EV, yet, when offered a reduction of taxes, financial incentives, and the economic savings, consumers were much more motivated toward EV adoption. In 2023, the nonpartisan policy firm Energy Innovation released a report showing that these savings benefit drivers across the US: Every EV model in every state is cheaper to fill than a gas-powered vehicle.

More Reasons to Increase EV Adoption

Promoting EV adoption has become one of the important paths for countries around the world to address climate change and accelerate the transformation of energy system for achieving sustainable development. Yet many consumers react to negative EV soundbites by rejecting EVs entirely as a future mode of personal transportation.

Jose Pontes, research director and co-founder of EV-VOLUMES, explained to CleanTechnica that EVs make a lot of financial sense.

  • Lower running costs: The price per mile is cheaper on an electric vehicle than on a petrol one.
  • Lower maintenance costs: Because EVs have fewer moving parts, there’s less of a need for maintenance and smaller risk of parts failure.
  • Higher long term resale value: EVs are progressively, but surely, replacing ICE vehicles on the overall fleet. This is something similar to what happened in the past to leaded petrol cars vs unleaded petrol cars: with the exception of “future classics,” most vehicles with the “old technology” will end up being thrown away on the used car market. Needless to say, as the refueling infrastructure starts to become harder to find, newer models, with all the most recent “tricks,” become the preferred choice of buyers.
  • Tax and financial benefits (still existing):  Despite the eroding benefits, compared to some 5 years ago, the truth is that EVs still benefit from several financial and operational perks, compared to a regular ICE vehicle. Depending on which market we are focusing on, there could be EV incentives, registration benefits, road tax benefits, parking benefits, etc.
  • The possibility to leave your house every day with a full tank: While not necessarily a direct financial plus point, think about all the times that you go on purpose to top up/refill the gas tank of your vehicle. Or add the detours that you make to refuel. At the end of the month, it could be something… And because time is money, you end up saving some time/money at the end of each month. If you “fill up” at home, then there’s really no lost time going to gas station.
  • EVs are just easier and more fun to drive! Because they don’t have gears, they are a more precise machine, responding immediately to your inputs, either accelerating or braking.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the antecedents of consumers’ intentions to purchase EVs is significant to promote EVs. From the value perception perspective, this brief expose has attempted to explore the relationships between consumers’ risk and benefit perceptions and value perceptions of EVs and their effects on consumers’ intentions to purchase EVs. If there’s something missing, feel free to leave a comment below. 🙂

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Substack:

Carolyn Fortuna has 1316 posts and counting. See all posts by Carolyn Fortuna