Why People Buy Electric Cars… So Far

Following up on the slew of EV survey results I’ve been sharing, this article focuses on the question of why people buy electric cars. However, I think it’s very important to remember that the data presented are from early “pioneer” buyers. Their primary reasons for buying EVs are not the same as what will stimulate mass-market buyers to buy EVs. Still, it is interesting to look at what is driving this initial ~1% of buyers.

Why People Buy EVs 3 Why People Buy EVs 2 Why People Buy EVs 1

Well, that’s pretty clear — the big attractions area:

  1. Save money on fuel.
  2. Protect the environment (aka, our health and well-being).
  3. Fun/excitement.
  4. HOV lane access (California) and avoidance of congestion charges (UK).

As we all know, it’s a relatively small percentage of the population that makes purchase decisions in good part based on environmental matters. However, many profess concern for the environment, and if given the choice between two products that are comparable in all ways except one is better for the environment, will choose the greener option. How much this will factor into future EV purchases, it’s really hard to know, but I think it will trail off as far as its role in the adoption of electric cars.

Saving money should become a more powerful driver as battery costs — and thus electric car costs — come down (which is basically a given), and as oil prices presumably rise.

The fun and convenience of driving electric cars are often identified as huge benefits once people own them, so I think these will become more potent stimulators of EV adoption as the market grows and word of mouth increases.

Of course, a lot more municipalities could help push EV adoption forward and clean up their air by implementing congestion charges and/or HOV lanes and exempting/including (respectively) electric vehicles. In fact, if many of the world’s large cities implement such things, they could greatly boost the electric vehicle market.

It will be interesting to see what such surveys find in 5 years and again in 10 years.

Again, these charts come from a recent UK study (h/t Herman Trabish). And, if you haven’t yet helped us better understand the EV market by answering our quick 7-question EV survey, please do so! You can also still complete our longer EV owner/lessee survey or wannabe EV owner/lessee survey.

4 thoughts on “Why People Buy Electric Cars… So Far

  1. Seems like there’s a serious flaw in the UK study when “Other” is the second most popular answer and barely smaller than the most popular answer.

    Then again, I think it must have been a study asking people to check any number of the available choices since the totals add up to way over 100%, so maybe most people decided to put in ‘other’ answers…

    Still, I wonder what “Other” answers that huge bar is hiding?

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