Electric vehicles are undoubtedly part of our future car scape, so to speak. But when it comes to electric cars, Americans stand divided. 

A recent study from CivicScience surveying more than 9,000 U.S. adults found that close to one-third of Americans say they would buy an electric vehicle (EV), while 44% would not, and the rest remain uncertain.

Tracking shows that those who are pro EV are on the up and up, rising 1 to 2 percentage points since March of this year. However, that’s not as high as numbers were at this same time last year (hovering around 34%), as the chart below shows. In other words, in one year’s time, we’re not seeing much significant change in sentiment toward owning an EV.

Granted, the coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on spending, and has dramatically slowed automaker production. A CivicScience study published in February found that 11% of people said they would purchase an electric vehicle as their next car purchase. It may be quite a while until that number alone becomes reality. 

Why aren’t there more potential EV buyers in the U.S.?

Americans Lack Enthusiasm for Electric Cars

As oil exploration declines and more automakers release plug-in electric models, there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome to get buyers to invest in an EV. Price can be expected to dissuade buying, as well as battery charging and service infrastructure concerns. And what about the lack of variety in EV models? The survey found that the majority of those would NOT buy an electric car drive an SUV, crossover, or truck as their primary vehicle.

However, when asked about what was keeping people from going electric for their next car purchase, the survey shows that the primary deterrent in the U.S. is just a general lack of interest, more than twice that of price, or charging concerns:

It turns out that there are significant differences amongst non-owners who plan to buy an EV and those who don’t plan to buy one. 

Price is indeed the biggest factor keeping potential buyers from purchasing an EV, followed by charging concerns. On the other hand, that’s not the case for those who say they don’t plan to buy an EV — half of this crowd are just uninterested to begin with.

As demand grows for cars, electric automakers and auto sellers should take note of these differences. Would-be buyers may be held back by price and charging concerns, but there seems to be a need to generate more overall interest in electric vehicles among Americans.