U.S. Drivers’ Interest in EVs Is Inching Toward the Mainstream Says Consumer Reports

According to a recent survey, interest in electric vehicles (EVs) is growing, particularly among drivers in the U.S. But what is it about EVs that have American drivers so interested in them? Well, based on Consumer Reports’ data, there are a few reasons that have U.S. drivers considering buying an EV

A Mercedes-Benz EV being plugged in
A journalist holds a charging cable next to an EV’s charging port. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

How Consumer Reports conducted its survey 

Way back when in July and August of 2020, Consumer Reports surveyed 3,392 American adults with valid driver’s licenses. A big part of Consumer Reports’ survey was determining how U.S. drivers felt about electric vehicles and what they see as barriers to EV ownership. Chris Harto, Consumer Reports’ senior sustainability policy analyst, added, “We conducted this survey to learn more about people’s familiarity with EVs, and their attitudes regarding them, to better understand what might be holding them back from buying one.”

What U.S. drivers think of EVs

As it turns out, U.S. drivers’ interest in electric vehicles is inching toward the mainstream, according to Consumer Reports. While the survey found that only 30% of respondents knew much about EVs, nearly all of them had heard of electric vehicles. But according to Consumer Reports, what’s even more significant is the level of interest U.S. drivers have in electric vehicles. According to its data, 71% of U.S. drivers would consider buying an EV at some point in the future. Nearly a third of respondents also indicated an interest in purchasing an electric vehicle as their next vehicle. 

What is it that has these drivers leaning toward an electric vehicle? According to Consumer Reports, a lot of interest in EVs has to do with the environment. Upwards of 70% of respondents agreed that EVs would reduce climate pollution. Many respondents also agreed that automakers should begin offering other vehicle types alongside their EV models, including plug-in electric pickups and SUVs.

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Why some drivers aren’t convinced

Consumer Reports’ survey included asking respondents about what they consider to be barriers to EV ownership. For most, how far an EV can go and how many charging stations are nearby were among their top concerns. According to Consumer Reports, about half of those surveyed said they would prefer an electric vehicle that offers more than 300 miles of range between charges. A little less than half of the respondents who don’t plan on buying an electric vehicle as their next car said inadequate charging stations is what’s holding them back from purchasing one.

But those aren’t the only reasons that some U.S. drivers aren’t quite ready to buy an electric vehicle. According to Consumer Reports, 43% of survey respondents said that buying an EV was out of their price range. Another 30% of respondents said they felt as if they didn’t know enough about electric vehicles to actually buy one. 

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Charging an EV is a problem for some, but not others

Lastly, 28% percent of respondents said they lacked a place to charge an electric vehicle at home. However, despite those concerns, 71% of those surveyed shared that they would do most of their charging at home if they did buy an EV. As for apartment dwellers? Consumer Reports says that its survey revealed that those living in apartment complexes would be more likely to charge an EV at a public fast-charging station if they did buy one.

“American drivers are accustomed to having ready access to gas stations, and may not realize that if they have a personal garage or driveway, they’ll be doing most of their charging at home with an EV,” Harto explained. “Even though we have found that the typical driver would make as few as six stops at a public charging station every year, a more robust network of fast charging stations would help alleviate buyers’ concerns about switching to an electric vehicle.”

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Is it time you bought an EV?

There are plenty of reasons to buy an electric vehicle. Whether you’re looking to save on fuel costs or simply want to drive a vehicle that’s a tad more eco-conscious, purchasing an EV can make for a great choice. Fortunately, nowadays, there are plenty of excellent options to choose from.