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EVs gain market share, but buyers who wouldn’t consider one also rises


May 2, 2023
EVs gain market share, but buyers who wouldn't consider one also rises


21% of car shoppers said they wouldn’t buy an
electric car as their next vehicle, according to JD Power.
  • Americans are getting more divided on electric vehicles. 
  • While EVs gain market share, more and more people say don’t want one as their next car. 
  • Factors repelling buyers from EVs include long charging times, lack of charging stations, and high pricing. 

Battery-powered cars seem like the next big thing, but a growing portion of Americans aren’t ready to give up internal combustion.

The percentage of Americans who say they’re “very unlikely” to buy an electric vehicle as their next car is growing, according to JD Power, which keeps close tabs on consumer sentiment around EVs. In JD Power’s surveys, the EV-skeptic contingent has steadily grown from 17.8% to 21% of respondents between January and March. 

The share of consumers on the opposite end of the spectrum (those “very likely” to go electric) has stayed mostly flat this year, most recently measured at 26.9%. 

“Top-line metrics on overall EV market share, availability and affordability have been on a long-term upward trend,” the market research firm said. “But beneath those headline numbers we are starting to see some consumer behaviors that suggest a possible bifurcation of the automotive marketplace.”

Some potential car buyers are getting more adamant about not wanting an EV during a transformative and crucial time for the auto business. Carmakers who didn’t pay all that much attention to EV technology in years past are dumping billions into developing cleaner cars. That’s in part due to tightening environmental regulations around the globe. Plus, they’ve seen the success of Tesla (now the world’s most valuable carmaker by market capitalization) and they now want in on the EV party. 

But for that to happen, automakers need to convince shoppers to embrace a new and unfamiliar technology. As JD Power’s research shows, that’s easier said than done. While interest in EVs is growing — EV market share shot up from 2.6% in February 2020 to 8.5% in February 2023 — there are still lots of sticking points keeping buyers from considering a Tesla or the like. 

High purchase price and lack of charging stations were the most-cited reasons for not wanting an EV, followed by limited driving range and time required to charge. Respondents were also concerned about EV performance in extreme temperatures, cost of ownership, lack of repair shops, reliability, and power outages. 

Interestingly, it isn’t just rigid older folks who are skewing the numbers. While the majority of Boomers and Pre-Boomers aren’t considering EVs, 33% of Gen Z shoppers also told JD Power they were either “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to buy an EV. 

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