Turned Off: The Biggest Reasons People Aren’t Purchasing Electric Cars

A recent survey of adults in the U.S. has found that of the many reasons for not investing in an electric-powered vehicle, the worry over the lack of charging stations is the most significant barrier.

The poll, conducted by Consumer Reports, polled around 8,000 people and found that only 36% of combined votes said they would “seriously consider” or “definitely” choose an electric-only vehicle for their next auto purchase.

When polled, respondents cited their top concerns preventing them from purchasing electric. Sixty-six said charging logistics was an issue, 55% said the number of miles the vehicle could travel per charge, and 52% said the costs of maintaining and purchasing an electric-only vehicle were a negative. Statistics gathered by the U.S. Department of Energy show there are currently only about 49,000 public charging stations across the United States, and 6,000 fast charging stations. The survey was conducted in January and February of this year.

According to Quinta Warren, Consumer Reports’ associate director of sustainability policy, “The survey shows that there is a clear interest among Americans in reducing costs for transportation and lowering their environmental impact. It underscores some key concerns, but fortunately, many of these barriers to owning a battery-electric vehicle EV can be addressed through experience and education.”

Americans concerned over several electric car issues

A new poll by Pew Research also showed that while two-thirds of Americans surveyed agreed that electric cars are better for the environment, a similar number of respondents believed they were too expensive. A third were concerned about their reliability.

One reason for the slow adoption of electric vehicles is the shortage of chargers. Although accessible battery chargers are gradually being installed across the U.S., the public believes there are not enough to keep electric cars on the road, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

That perception does have some factual basis. In Europe, only the Netherlands, France, and Italy have delivered the required number of charging points requested by the European Union’s Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive, according to the IEA.

Consumers also believe the cost of electric vehicles is also a reason for hesitancy. Advocates for alternatively powered vehicles argue that electric cars are less expensive in the long run due to lower servicing, maintenance, and fuel costs.

Electric car industry analysts say the dropping cost of the lithium batteries necessary to provide power to the vehicles will cause car prices to drop in the future. Meanwhile, subsidies have helped to drive some consumers to purchase hybrid and electric cars.

Another study by Deloitte also confirmed that the most significant concern remains the lack of charging points and focus on driving range. But, in the study conducted in China, 31% of individuals surveyed pointed out worries about the safety of battery technology.

An ongoing chip shortage also provides a roadblock for potential purchasers. Around the globe, a lack of microchips is holding back deliveries of all types of vehicles, including electric vehicles. According to data, the production of 1.4 million light vans and cars was lost in the first quarter of 2021 and has continued well into 2022.

Chip manufacturers had struggled with surging demand when carmakers increased production following the Covid-19 lockdowns. Industry analysts expect shortages to continue throughout 2022 and beyond, which will impact the availability of all types of vehicles.