GCR readers - we apologize for this story, which was ill-conceived and should not have run. Rather than take it down we're going to leave it here as testament to our mistake. We hope we haven't discouraged any readers to join us and participate in the discussion. If you'd like to offer your thoughts, the comments below are open.—The Editors
Some of our recent Twitter polls have brought our attention to a startling, if anecdotal, discovery: The most vociferous defenders of electric cars, particularly all-electric cars are overwhelmingly men.
Don't get us wrong, we have a few female commenters, and know plenty of women automotive writers who are often unusually insightful.
Yet when we wrote about one writer's challenges finding adequate electric-car chargers in the middle of an Iowa holiday, some commenters even accused his wife of jeopardizing the planet her children would inherit because they said she was too vain to drive a plug-in hybrid minivan.
The other thing that's striking about this revelation is that it's the opposite of the last time electric cars were popular 100 years ago. Electric cars were mainly marketed, then sold, to women for their simplicity and safety of operation. There were no cranks to turn, mixtures or spark advance to set. (Legend has it that it was the electric starter, introduced in 1912 that shut the coffin on electric car sales for 100 years.)
One 2018 study by AAA showed women are more likely to cite environmental concerns as a reason for buying an EV than men, 90 percent to 68 percent. But it did not address how many women intended to buy an EV compared with men.
We're puzzled why EV advocacy and interest today seems so lopsided, so we thought we'd put the question to our readers in this week's Twitter poll.
After polling a few women we know about the question for their thoughts, we came up with a few possible suggestions:
Why do men seem more invested in electric cars than women?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) June 25, 2019
- Women have greater security concerns than men about being left stranded if they run out of charge. Range anxiety may be a taller hurdle for women to overcome than men.
- A lack of larger EVs on the market. Women have long been known as more practical car buyers than men, preferring models that can meet a larger majority of family needs. Since most pure electric cars on the market today are compacts—and the few larger models available are quite expensive—women buyers just don't find the selection they're looking for among EVs—so they don't pay them much attention.
- Women are too busy. Converting from driving on gas to electricity is a big transition, and building confidence with using the new technology requires a lot of research that many women don't have time for, or in some cases interest in.
- They're not; we at GCR are clueless. This is generally a popular response to just about any of our polls, so we decided to include it here.
Maybe we are wrong. Maybe women are just as interested in buying, driving, and advocating for electric cars as men, but we're hearing from very few of them.
We'd love to hear from you, especially if you have any data that points to whether men are more interested in buying and supporting electric cars than women. Either way, click on over to our Twitter poll and let us know what you think.
And remember that like our comments, our Twitter polls are unscientific, because of low sample size and because our audience is self-selected. We'd love to know if that's all that's going on and if the gender disparity is only in our own heads.