A new survey from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Consumers Union (the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports) has revealed that 55% of Northeastern drivers in the US possess an interest in electric vehicles, and that 35% are likely to consider purchasing or leasing one as their next vehicle.
“Consumers looking for a new vehicle this summer are thinking more about the many benefits of driving on electricity,” stated Josh Goldman, the lead policy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Clean Vehicles Program. “More than 65% of survey respondents want to see automakers offer more electric options across a variety of classes, including sedans, SUVs and minivans, and over half think that every automaker should offer a plug-in model for sale.”
The new survey was conducted amongst 1,213 randomly selected adults spread across 9 different Northeastern states + California, that were licensed to drive, and had also driven at some point in the last year. The survey took place between April 1 to April 8.
The press release provides more:
The results of the survey not only indicate a high level of interest for EVs in the Northeast, but also demonstrate that millions of Northeast drivers could utilize an EV today. The survey found that more than 4 out of 10 households in the Northeast could use an EV with little or no change to their driving habits and vehicle needs. Survey respondents met the basic criteria for using a typical plug-in hybrid EV available today if they have access to parking and an electrical outlet at home, need to carry 4 or fewer passengers, and do not need hauling or towing capability.
However, new car shoppers in the Northeast have fewer electric options compared to California. For example, since the beginning of 2016, only 1,744 new plug-in vehicles were available on Edmunds.com in and near New York City, and only 733 vehicles available on Edmunds.com in the Boston region were plug-in EVs. Searching Edmunds.com over the same time period for plug-in vehicles within 50 miles of Oakland, CA, on the other hand, yielded over 5,800 plug-in options, and 8,200 electric vehicles in the Los Angeles area. In addition, some electric vehicle models like the Fiat 500e or Chevrolet Spark EV are unavailable in some or all of the Northeast states, while all are available in California.
The survey results suggest that increased availability of plug-in vehicles at dealerships and more model options could increase consumer adoption of the technology. Over 88% of survey respondents said they would not buy a vehicle without a test drive. With fewer electric vehicles in the Northeast, car buyers will have a harder time finding plug-in vehicles to test drive and therefore not get a sense for why electric vehicles have some of the highest ownership satisfaction scores in Consumer Reports’ ratings (Tesla Model S at 97%, Chevy Volt at 82%, Nissan Leaf at 76%).
No surprises then. While consumer interest obviously plays a part, California’s success to date with electric vehicles (EVs) has largely been down to its policies. If Northeastern states were to implement similar policies, EV uptake would likely surge notably.
Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica