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Quarter of Americans say they're likely to buy an EV next as sales jump

·Senior Reporter
·3 min read

New data out of AAA finds the shift to EVs (electric vehicles) might happen faster than the industry expected.

AAA’s latest consumer survey finds that one-quarter of Americans say they would likely buy an EV for their next car purchase. The survey finds that among generations, millennials lead the way with 30% wanting an EV next and that the major factor in driving that decision is to save money on fuel costs, with 77% of respondents citing that as the top reason.

“The increase in gas prices over the last six months has pushed consumers to consider going electric, especially for younger generations,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, in a statement.

While EV supporters may cheer these results, a number of survey respondents said they were hesitant to purchase an EV, with a number of concerns keeping adoption lower. Among those reasons cited were:

  • Higher purchase price – 60%

  • Concern there are not enough places to charge – 60%

  • Concern about running out of charge when driving – 58%

  • Unsuitable for long-distance travel – 55%

  • High cost of battery repair or replacement – 55%

Also, while 25% of respondents say they will buy an EV, actual sales numbers are not bearing this out, at least not yet. New data out of KBB finds a record number of EVs were sold in Q2, up 66% from a year ago. KBB also reports EVs now make up 5.6% of the car market, a strong showing versus the 2.7% it made up a year ago.

But that 5.6% of overall sales is still a small fraction of the 25% that say they would be an EV.

3d rendering group of EV charging stations or electric vehicle recharging stations
3d rendering group of EV charging stations or electric vehicle recharging stations

A number of factors are holding down adoption figures at the retail level, supply being a big one, and pricing, where EVs maintain near luxury car sticker prices versus more mainstream automobiles, KBB says.

“People are saying, ‘I'm open to the idea of getting an electric car or a plug-in hybrid,’ but that doesn't always translate into sales, and I think what happens is people look at the price and they say, 'Okay, maybe next time,'” said Brian Moody, KBB Executive Editor in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “Right now the average price of an electric car, let's just say for June, was over $66,000 - that's quite a bit of money when you think about where we are today, even with gas prices.”

But there’s another factor that Moody thinks will boost EV sentiment in the coming years even with higher prices — actual seat time.

“I think one more thing, the average American, if they were to drive an electric car, I think they would really like it,” he said. “The average American probably hasn't spent much time in an electric car, I think they would like it once they try it and maybe that will be worth spending a little extra money for.”

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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