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Poll suggests Americans still doubt electric vehicles


Poll suggests Americans still doubt electric vehicles

While plug-in vehicles are gaining ground in Europe, accounting for 21% of all new registrations in the first quarter of 2022, they have been less popular in the United States. Only about 5.2% of US registrations were plug-in (representing hybrid and purely electric vehicles) during the same period. Although the industry spends billions to develop and market these vehicles, with some progress being made, the overall turnout in North America remains disappointing.

Ardent fans of battery powertrains will no doubt disagree. But a few studies came out this month that made the point. Automatic list Annual Electric Survey dropped earlier this month, effectively explaining why EVs haven’t been able to make more headway in the states.

After surveying more than 1,300 American car buyers, Automatic list determined that there are several key factors prohibiting the growth of the segment. Some of the thinking has changed over the past 12 months. However, despite soaring energy prices, people’s general acceptance has not changed that much. This was reinforced by a recent study by JD Power which reported that 24% of its 10,030 respondents (surveyed between February and April) said they were “very likely” to buy an electrified car. But that’s a modest increase of just 4 percentage points over last year, which he attributes to the upcoming deluge of battery-powered electric mics.

The actual take-up rate was lower, representing something like a 2.5% increase in national EV sales between the first quarter of 2021 and 2022.

Automatic list suggested this was due to a few key factors – the limitations of the all-electric range being the most significant. Around 61% of respondents said this was the main reason they would avoid buying an electric car. Price also played a role, with 50% of respondents saying electric vehicles were simply considered too expensive. Charging was the third most important element, with 49% citing long charging times and a lack of infrastructure to support vehicles at a level similar to what is already available for petrol (or diesel) automobiles .

Charging and range are of particular interest to those driving in the US or Canada. Historically, Americans have driven more miles per year than anyone else in the entire world. This is largely due to the region’s geography and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway system which helps supplant rail transportation. But the cheap and accessible gasoline and the tons of gas stations dotted around the country didn’t hurt. Thus, 70% of people Automatic list said home charging would be an “essential” factor in the decision to buy an electric car.

I guess the good news is that range anxiety is likely to decrease as vehicles continue to improve battery capabilities. There doesn’t seem to be much social stigma around owning an EV either – with just 3% of respondents suggesting embarrassment might keep them from buying one. David Undercoffler, editor of Automatic listsuggested that the other issues might also resolve themselves over time.

“Two years is a long time in the world of electric vehicles, and buyers today have more models to choose from and more places to plug them in,” he said. “It helped ease concerns about price and billing while putting the range at the top of the list. »

Since Automatic list:

The decrease in buyer concerns about electric vehicle prices is likely due to two factors.

For one thing, battery technology has continued to get cheaper. In 2019, the average cost per kWh was around $157. By 2020, that amount had dropped to $140, according to Bloomberg. By 2023, it is estimated that batteries will average $101 per kWh, making battery electric vehicles as cost-effective and profitable as their gas-powered counterparts.

While most consumers don’t watch these trends closely, they are helping to erode the perception that electric vehicles need to cost more.

Second, consumers in 2021 are faced with an ever-increasing number of electric vehicles to choose from. These include the Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID4, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volvo XC-40 Recharge.

While these newcomers aren’t necessarily cheaper than what was available in 2019, the new additions are closer to the well-known petrol models in size, vehicle type, execution and perceived value than the previous electric cars.

It’s confusing, as the outlet literally goes from discussing how EVs are getting cheaper to claiming that the latest models “aren’t necessarily cheaper”. Worse still, they may not become more affordable in the years to come. Battery prices are expected to increase by at least 22% by 2026. That may not sound earth-shattering on its own. But the batteries that go into all-electric vehicles are often the biggest expense per car for the automaker and prices seem to have bottomed out for now. While it doesn’t matter if the prices of other materials rise to similar levels (which seems possible) or if people decide that buying a slightly more expensive electric vehicle is worth it at long term.

“Car shoppers are less price sensitive to electric vehicles when the models you show them resemble the gas-powered vehicles they’re already familiar with,” Undercoffler said. “So a Ford Mach-E seems more value-oriented today, as it looks like many other non-electric crossovers in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. »

“Consumers had a harder time making these calculations work several years ago when the only non-luxury EVs they saw were small hatchbacks that cost $40,000 before incentives,” he added. .

Something tells me this is more than a matter of perception, however. A majority of respondents said they wouldn’t be willing to wait more than 30 minutes to restore 300 miles of range to an electric vehicle, with a third saying they wouldn’t even bother waiting that long. Right now, this is only achievable via the latest and greatest DC fast charging points scattered around the network. Although it is believed that this will be corrected as technology evolves, engineers noted that placing the cells under higher load loads is likely to reduce their lifespan. This has been one of the biggest issues holding back solid-state batteries. However researchers at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science now believe it is possible to allow them to sustain high levels of load (reducing wait times) without disrupting their chemistry. The automotive industry is also working on it. But it’s hard to believe a breakthrough is imminent when we’ve powered this line for years.

[Images: JL IMAGES/Shutterstock]

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