Debunking Electric Vehicle Myths

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Electric vehicles provide a more sustainable option to personal transportation than a gas-powered car. But are they catching on? While a recent study by Cars.com found that 81 percent of current electric vehicle (EV) owners plan on purchasing another in the future, only one-third of participants who haven’t owned an EV would consider purchasing or leasing one. We want to know why.

Earth911 asked automotive expert Jenni Newman, Cars.com editor in chief, about the findings of the study. Are potential EV buyers worried about electric vehicle myths or are they valid concerns? And what are the implications to the success of EVs?

Consumer Concerns

Earth911: What are people concerned about before they buy an EV?

Jenni Newman: A recent Cars.com study revealed that, when it comes to electric vehicles, the aspect sparking the most concern is range anxiety — essentially the fear that an EV’s battery will run out of power before reaching the destination. The second largest concern among consumers is the limited battery life span of EVs, followed by the high initial vehicle price, lack of charging stations, and actual charging times.

List of "least appealing EV aspects" from Cars.com survey

Image: Cars.com

Earth911: Are those concerns realistic or has technology advanced to eliminate the shortcomings people believe exist with EVs?

Jenni Newman: When it comes to EVs, range anxiety is a real thing, so we weren’t surprised to see this was a top concern among consumers. In addition, concerns around charging times are certainly realistic, too. If you’re going to own or lease an EV, you need to commit to charging it overnight at your home.

However, it’s important for car shoppers to know that electric vehicles have ranges from 73 miles for a used 2011 Nissan Leaf to 150 miles for a new 2019 Nissan Leaf to an impressive 310 miles for a 2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range. EVs are more than capable of taking people where they need to go without running out of battery power.

Cars.com data also shows that the vast majority of commuters fall below the driving range limit of the average EV. Nearly one-third of survey respondents reported traveling only 11 to 25 miles per day on average.

Growth in EV Sales

Earth911: What does the 81 percent growth year-over-year in EV sales mean to the consumer?

Jenni Newman: When you take the most popular Tesla Model 3 out of the mix, 11 percent of car sales were attributed to EVs in 2018, growing by 81 percent over 2017. And while new EV shoppers still have hesitations about going electric, our research supports continued growth. Ninety-five percent of current EV owners say they would purchase another EV, hinting that despite those concerns, there is interest in this growing segment.

Consumers interested in EVs should look out as trusted brands such as Kia, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi, and Jaguar prepare to launch new mass-market EVs.

Future of EVs

Earth911: Are prices about to fall dramatically as EV manufacturing achieves scale? 

Jenni Newman: The EV segment as a whole is still quite new and will undoubtedly change rapidly over the next few years as technology continues to advance.

EV prices will continue to be a concern for shoppers as federal tax incentives are being phased out for some automakers such as Chevrolet and Tesla. Potential buyers may see deals on electric vehicles, however, as automakers work to pull in new buyers and combat the cheap gas prices that keep shoppers from seriously considering EVs — for the time being.

Learn more about electric vehicles and read Cars.com reviews about the newest makes and models at Cars.com.

Feature photoby Free-Photos from Pixabay 

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