Consumers who are planning to purchase an electric car have different priorities than current EV owners, according to a recent Plug In America study (via Charged EVs).
Results from 8,000 United States respondents including both current EV owners and EV "intenders," defined as those that do not currently own an EV but plan on acquiring one within the next 12 months.
Both groups cited environmental protection as the most important factor in their purchase consideration, but a higher percentage of current EV owners gave that answer. The EV intenders were more interested in cost savings, convenience, and—by a small margin—style.
Indicated primary factor for EV purchases (from Plug In America study)
Results also suggest that intenders have a lower household income than owners—meaning that they face some difficult dynamics with rising prices and markups for some of the most popular EV models.
Both groups showed strong enthusiasm for EVs. About 90% of respondents said they were "very likely" (77%) or "likely" (13%) to purchase an EV as their next vehicle. And 34% of current EV owners said their did not have an internal-combustion vehicle in their garage.
This survey is based on responses from December 2021—before the war in Ukraine and the current run-up of gas prices. Analysts still haven't achieved consensus on how this might affect consumer interest in EVs. In tracking EV adoption, there's some evidence that product means more than gas prices.
2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV teaser
It's also worth noting that, while environmental concern wasn't the sole motivating factor in this Plug In America study, a couple of 2021 polls found that most Americans agreed that EVs are better for the environment.
But cost is increasingly important for EVs, and there's now widespread concern that EV affordability gains will effectively be put on hold until 2024. That's due to rising raw-material costs exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
There are a few affordable EVs in the U.S., but new-model introductions have been skewing toward premium-priced models. So mainstream models such as the $30,000 Chevy Equinox EV are likely eagerly anticipated.