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Report: Most People Are Ignorant About Electric Cars

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Chevy has announced the Bolt EV could cost certain consumers only $29,995

Photo: © General Motors

A survey from Altman Vilandrie & Company has found that most people in America don’t know anything about electric vehicles, while even more haven’t ridden in one and many more would buy one if lower-priced models were available.

In response, I have to say, “Well, yeah.”

Before my reaction, though, the survey of 2,500 consumers across the US back in July found that a full 60% of the respondents were either completely unaware of electric vehicles or had heard of them but didn’t know very much. Beyond that, even if they did know about EVs, 80% said that they had never driven or even ridden in an electric car.

As for issues with electric cars, the respondents cited a lack of charging stations, high vehicle price tags, and “uncertainty over duration of charge” (i.e. range anxiety) as the top problems.

However, the survey did find a glimmer of hope, with the majority of those who had ridden in EVs reporting that they enjoyed the experience, and in its analysis the company decided that the EV market would grow considerably if prices would drop to more affordable levels, going so far as to say that the planned influx of less-expensive electric cars from automakers across the board could boost the EV market by 24 times.

Now, then, I almost have to think that this survey isn’t really saying anything unexpected. Of course most people don’t know about electric vehicles, the vast majority of electric models aren’t available outside of select markets (mostly those following California’s car sales regulations). By July, the highest-profile plug-in car to hit the dealership lot was the 2017 Volt, which had just arrived nationwide in spring, but was still not a high priority to dealers. Even I, who writes about EVs, didn’t get the chance to drive one until somewhat recently.

Also in July, the only EVs available under the suggested “affordable” price that Altman Vilandrie & Company put forward of $35,000 all put forth ranges of about 100 miles or fewer.

I suppose that I simply believe that EVs have progressed more than this survey would lead you to believe, and that should a survey be conducted similarly right now and released in six months, I would probably have the same complaint.

News Source: Altman Vilandrie & Company, Green Car Reports