J.D. Power has released its third-ever U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study, the results gathered from surveying car shoppers on their thoughts about buying a battery-electric vehicle. As far as intentions go, they’re up across the board. A year ago, 24% of those in the market said they were “very likely” to consider buying an EV; this year that stat passes the one-quarter mark, to 26% of shoppers. The study showed the same bump for shoppers in the “overall likely” category of potential EV purchasers, going from 59% to 61%.
Those are exceptionally modest rises, though. While factors like high gas prices in certain parts of the country, high inflation, high interest rates, and renewed incentives have sharpened interest in electric vehicles, the study found that charging availability away from home has become a much larger factor keeping many shoppers from taking an EV home. So on the one hand, there have never been more EV models available and there’s never been better charging infrastructure than now. On the other hand, whereas 34% of shoppers in 2022 said the lack of public charging made them unlikely to consider an EV; that figure jumped to 49% this year.
Stewart Stropp, executive director of EV intelligence at J.D. Power, called public charging stations “the biggest friction point for consideration,” because it “isn’t keeping pace with the rising number of EVs on the road. While owners are impressed by what automakers are offering, they’re also thinking about how, when and where they’ll be able to charge their vehicles away from home. A resounding effort to build out and improve the public charging infrastructure will emphatically increase EV purchase consideration.”
Populating the public charging landscape to manage the uptick in EV adoption is a big, massively expensive task at the same time as EVs are proving to be big, massively expensive investments. State and federal government initiatives — and automakers — are working on it, but we see it being a friction point for years. Our experience continues to show that away from home, even with all the available apps, the odds of plugging into a good charging experience on the first try are somewhere between zero and Mega Millions Jackpot winner.
A shame, because the study hints at the potential audience for EVs. Among those who commute more than 45 minutes each way to work, 35% are “very likely” to consider and EV. Among those who’ve had nothing more than a ride as a passenger in an EV, 25% are “very likely” to consider buying one. And this year, more drivers of ICE-powered vehicles and EVs say they’re leaning into buying a first EV or another EV than did so last year.
You can get more details on the 2023 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study at J.D. Power. Perhaps with Ford and GM throwing in with Tesla on charging, there’ll be better news in the 2024 study. Or there might just be more clogged lines for more chargers in more parts of the country.