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Nearly 50 million Americans are looking at electric vehicles for their next purchase

By Greg S · 24 replies
May 9, 2018
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  1. Electric vehicle adoption is steadily increasing as costs are slowly coming down to affordable levels. According to a recent survey from AAA, nearly 20 percent of Americans are considering an electric vehicle the next time they make a purchase.

    Last year in the same survey, it was found that only 15 percent would consider an electric vehicle. The increase is encouraging to automakers currently offering electric vehicles and also puts the pressure on those that still do not have fully electric vehicles available yet.

    Part of the increase can be attributed to pure awareness of what electric vehicles can actually do. When electric cars were first introduced, they were viewed as slow and very limited in range. Now that Tesla has pioneered the way, performance offered by electric motors is actually viewed as an improvement by the majority of consumers.

    The survey also gives some insight into why some people are unwilling to adopt an electric vehicle. The number one reason cited was lack of places to recharge. Out of the sample group, 63 percent mentioned charging to be a concern followed by 58 percent expressing concern about range limitations. Younger participants in the survey were less anxious about range compared to older generations.

    Of course, AAA would like to make it known that their roadside assistance program has trucks with on-board chargers to help electric vehicle owners should they run out of juice. Thousands of recharge requests have been made by AAA subscribers.

    As infrastructure improves to provide greater support for fast charging of vehicles, the number one reason inhibiting adoption will be fixed. Range limitations will narrow over time as batteries are improved and power management is enhanced.

    Permalink to story.

  2. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 482   +317

    How is 50 million people "20 percent" of Americans? These guys can't even handle simple math.
    Theinsanegamer and ShagnWagn like this.
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,994   +1,376

    Not only citizens are considering them, but businesses too. The city government I work for will now only purchase electric or hybrid vehicles as part of their non-utility vehicle fleet.
    Evernessince likes this.
  4. Manuel Diego

    Manuel Diego TS Booster Posts: 53   +64

    TheBigT42 likes this.
  5. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 291   +279

    I thought it might have meant 20% of drivers. When doing a search there were ~222 million drivers in the US in 2016. So, yeah. It's not convincing when bad data is presented.
    Theinsanegamer likes this.
  6. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 511   +350

    "According to a recent survey from AAA, nearly 20 percent of Americans are considering an electric vehicle the next time they make a purchase."

    I call BS on this. Did they only survey people at tesla? I know a large portion of the baby boomers wouldn't even consider an electric vehicle. I can't take any claims from AAA seriously any more.

    "The survey also gives some insight into why some people are unwilling to adopt an electric vehicle. The number one reason cited was lack of places to recharge."

    Again, this survey is BS. It's not so much as lack of places, but these cars are worthless for any kind of long duration trip. Do you seriously expect us to take 9+ hours to drive only a 500 mile trip? This is counting that you even have a charging station when the car is nearly dead. This is the prime reason I won't buy one. Another downer is what if you forget to charge one of these things at night? You aren't going anywhere the next day if you have to drive across the city again. You are going to be seriously late for work, and also either loss of income or you have to burn vacation time.

    It is going to be a while before we can consider these mainstream.
    Theinsanegamer and senketsu like this.
  7. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,994   +1,376

    You're looking at extremes. If you own an electric car and forget to plug it in at night - well, sorry to say, but you're just not too bright.

    I have a buddy who bought one of the first Tesla's. He installed a charger in his garage and it's a no-brainer to hook it up as he goes into his house. Takes maybe 5 seconds. He also takes frequent trips well over the 300 mile range and it doesn't take him that much longer than a gas vehicle which also needs to be fueled during a trip that long. He has a listing of available chargers along his route and while charging, grabs himself a bite to eat or a cup of coffee. With a super-charger, he can be charged up in 15 minutes.

    Tesla - and that's just one company offering electric vehicles - can't produce vehicles fast enough to keep up with orders. They're currently several months behind.

    So in a nutshell - these vehicles are already mainstream.
    iamcts, Evernessince and Godel like this.
  8. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 511   +350

    Not too bright to forget to plug it in? lol. You must be the only person in history to not ever forget to do something. Bright=/forgetful. Kind of like how intelligence=/wisdom. But you already know this right?

    Mainstream? Not in my city. I fail to see your claim. Maybe you work at tesla? It is extremely rare to see an electric vehicle. Maybe once a month out of thousands of cars. I am observant while driving as well - not a zombie like most people.
  9. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,994   +1,376

    You don't see them in your city (who knows if you're really paying attention to observing electric/hybrid vehicles), so that must make it true everywhere. Uh huh...

    All I can say is you must live in North Dakota or Iran then, because I see electric vehicles EVERYWHERE. Including 5 government hybrid sedans sitting just outside my office window as I type this.
    iamcts likes this.
  10. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 511   +350

    Umm... I didn't say everywhere. I said my city. Reading fail.

    I'm also a car guy plus a motorcycle rider. Yes, I do pay attention as I said. Assuming I'm lying? fail.

    That's great. Your "EVERYWHERE" doesn't include my city apparently. Fail on assumption. 0 for 3. Ouch. Why all the hate when I am just stating facts?
  11. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 319   +352

    Chill, man. Whatever you're observing is not the national norm, I can assure you that.

    And plugging in your electric car when you get home is like closing your garage door. Could you forget? Maybe, but unlikely. And even if you do, what are the odds you wouldn't have enough juice to get to work the next day? Like Tom said, a bit extreme on the examples.
  12. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 898   +624

    Well I just made a purchase...….............…….a Suzuki GSX-R 600
  13. I swear electric cars are as controversial as gun law or AMD vs Intel for most people.....This is really simple, if you want an electric car buy one and if you don't then don't.

    Then we can just sit back and see what car sales do over the next 5 years.
    senketsu and TheBigT42 like this.
  14. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Addict Posts: 122   +64

    I reckon it will be like digital cameras. Years ago people said they're too expensive, the resolution isn't good enough, people can't work them, uploading picture is hard, the battery life is poor, memory cards are too expensive, you can't get the photos printed easily, the group that takes more photos than any other - young mothers - won't want them. And then 5 years later it was hard to buy a film camera.

    As Arthur C.Clarke said, every good idea goes through three phases - 'it can't be done', 'it can be done but it's not worth doing', and 'I always said it was a good idea at the time'.
    Flebbert and Godel like this.
  15. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,318   +2,561

    I'd imagine if you forgot to charge your car the same thing would happen if you forgot to fill your gas tank.
    gusticles41 likes this.
  16. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 511   +350

    You don't have to fill your gas tank every night so you can make it one day that I know of, do you? Although I know some old timers that won't let their gas gauge go below 3/4 tank. ;)
  17. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 319   +352

    Are you aware current Teslas are pulling off 300mi+ on a single charge? That's on par with plenty of gas cars. And it won't be that long until electrics dominate range.

    I'm also a gear head/motorcycle rider. I love the sound of an engine. But electric will be the way of the future, eventually.
    ShagnWagn likes this.
  18. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve TS Rookie

    Maybe your math is just too simple? Because they have it right... they just didn't hold your hand and fully explain it.

    You are thinking (I'm assuming) that the population (325.7M) * 20% is roughly 65M people, so... "they can't do math". But how many toddlers do you know that are in the market for a car? Removing the very young and the very old, we're left with roughly 250M Americans, 20% of which is... drumroll please... 50M Americans.
  19. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve TS Rookie

    And... I now realize my point was already covered. I didn't realize the comments here weren't organized by replies. Carry on :)
  20. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 511   +350

    When I was interested in them a while back (and found out the one I want was $140,000!), I think they were a bit over 200 miles. Even less if you want the much nicer looking bigger wheels. I read some articles about retro-fitting for more mileage. Thanks for the info. I do agree that several years in the future they will be more common, but I predict much longer than most predict. Kind of like how so many predicted that all cars would be self-driving by now, and also want to eliminate everyone from the freedom of driving their own car.
  21. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 511   +350

    I'm sure many of you could care less, but with what dealers charge for repairs, I will NOT be getting an electric car until it can be serviced by myself. I repair all but major issues on my own vehicles. I have saved 10s of thousands of dollars doing so. I feel this will hold back a portion of the public - at least ones who like to do things themselves and not also bent over the dealer's service counter. :p
  22. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,318   +2,561

    Correct but you do have to periodically fill it. Electric car, gas car, both use fuel and both need to re-fuel. The difference is that electric car fueling stations are much more rare but as always that will change over time.
  23. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,406   +1,570

    50 million eh? That's misleading. I could say "50 million people will look at buying a sedan this year" and it would be just as accurate.

    The actual take rate is far, far lower. Electric cars make up only <1% of sales a year, and those numbers are not going up ATM.

    There is one other crucial difference, and that is re-fueling electric cars takes significantly longer then gas cars, and extending the range only makes this issue worse.

    In my mind, slow charge rates and short ranges are the perpetual noose around the neck of electric cars, at least in the US. We've been waiting on the "revolutionary battery" to make longer range a thing for over a decade. Look at the model S. Weighs more then a F-150 pickup truck, and it only just manages a 300 mile range on the highway, and typically it doesnt quite hit 300. The bolt claims a 238 mile range, but IRL users report struggling to hit 190 in realistic scenarios, ece.

    these are not issues for gas vehicles, because you can stop in any podunk village and fill up in 2-3 minutes tops. In an electric car, even if your location has a charger, it takes several hours to get any decent charge. A full charge can take 4+ hours unless you have a tesla with supercharger compatibility. But if you make the battery bigger, you make the charging time even longer, and people are only willing to compromise so much before giving up and getting a gas vehicle.

    All this is also ignoring the high purchase cost of electric vehicles. Which, yeah, they are in the median new car price range, but people are fickle, and spending the same amount as a regular car on something like a bolt or tesla, with significant drawbacks and interiors that make KIAs look like luxury cars, they are not going to spend the money.

    Maybe in another 10-15 years, when 200+ kWh batteries are possible in bolt level vehicles, the take rate will increase. But for right now, electric vehicles are still a niche market. Assuming they can get capacities 3-4x higher at the same or lower weight, of course.
  24. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,428   +1,412

    Consider this:

    money.cnn.com says:
    India, France, Britain and Norway want to ditch gas and diesel cars in favor of cleaner vehicles.

    In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has hinted that it's only a matter of time before the country that invented the modern car sets an expiration date of its own.

    At least eight other countries have set sales targets for electric cars. Here's a look at the goals:

    Britain: The U.K. said in July that it would ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040 as part of a bid to clean up the country's air. By 2050, all cars on the road will need to have zero emissions.

    nytimes.com says:
    LONDON — Scrambling to combat a growing air pollution crisis, Britain announced on Wednesday that sales of new diesel and gas cars would reach the end of the road by 2040, the latest step in Europe’s battle against the damaging environmental impact of the internal combustion engine.

    Britain’s plans match a similar pledge made this month by France, and are part of a growing global push to curb emissions and fight climate change by promoting electric cars. Carmakers are also adjusting, with Volvo notably saying recently that it would phase out the internal combustion engine in the coming years and BMW deciding to build an electric version of its popular Mini car in Britain.​
  25. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Addict Posts: 122   +64

    There is one other crucial difference, and that is re-fueling electric cars takes significantly longer then gas cars, and extending the range only makes this issue worse.


    I've had a Telsa for nearly 3 years now - in Australia, where distances are long and superchargers few and far between. I'd say I go away on trips more than average, and can honestly say this has *never* been a problem for me. Wherever I go I can find somewhere to stay where my car charges overnight, while I sleep. On the way, I can find a fast charger somewhere which does the job while I have lunch, or a break and a coffee.

    The only people this would truly affect are those who *want* to drive 1,000 km+ a day without breaks longer than 5 minutes, eating in the car, and they are far and few between. You get the occasional person who wants to drive 3/4 or more of the range somewhere where it's hard to find a charger and they want to drive home on the same day, and they have to wait longer than they would like, but the word is 'occasional'.

    Whatever car you have, there will be people who would say 'that's useless and impractical'. I have a friend who says any car that doesn't have real 4 wheel drive (I.e. super-low ratio you could drive up a stream bed with), a snorkel, two spare tires, a winch that can pull it out of a hole and can get 1,000km on one tank of diesel is useless. And he's right - for him.

    But most people aren't like him. They don't go where he goes or do what he does. An electric car with 350km+ range on one charge is quite practical for most of the car buying population.

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