2015 Harris Poll: US Car Owners Slightly More Interested In EVs, 29% Would Consider PHEVs, 21% BEVs

AUG 21 2015 BY JAY COLE 17

A recent Harris poll took stock of the “electric car” pulse of America, and found that while interest in hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure electric cars was growing – it wasn’t growing all that fast.

Out of 2,225 US car owners surveyed online, 29% said they would consider a PHEV such as the Chevrolet Volt or Ford Fusion Energi, a percentage that was just up 2% from a 2013 poll.

US Driver Wish List For BEVS: Lower Price, More Range - Makes Sense To Us

US Driver Wish List For BEVS: Lower Price, More Range – Makes Sense To Us

For pure electric cars – such as the Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model S, 21% said they would considering cutting out the gas station altogether; this figure was also up 2% from 2013.

Traditional hybrids still hold a firm lead over their ‘greener’ counterparts with 48% of respondents saying they would consider a car like the Toyota Prius for their next vehicle – a number that remained unchanged from 2 years ago.

Other points of interest we found in the survey results:

* – Men are more likely than women to consider an electric vehicle (25% men, 17% women)

* – Distance drivers – those who travel over 50 miles in an average day – are especially likely to say they’d consider a plug-in hybrid (38%, vs. 28% of those traveling 30 miles or less in a typical day), or a pure electric (32% vs. 18%)

* – Democrats and Independents are more likely than Republicans to consider a traditional hybrid (53% Dem, 52% Ind and 42% Rep), or a plug-in hybrid (34%, 32% and 20%) or a pure electric

* – Millennials drivers are more likely than their elder counterparts to consider a traditional hybrid, with 57% saying they’d consider one (vs. 49% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 38% of Matures). This same trend holds true for plug-in hybrids (39% vs. 28%, 22% and 23%) and pure electrics (34% vs. 17%, 14% and 11%)

The survey also dug a little deeper into what may be holding back adoption of pure electric cars in the US.

When asked to select their top concerns related to pure electric vehicles, price (67%) and range (64%) rise to the top, followed by repair/maintenance costs (58%), reliability (53%), performance/power (50%) and the fact that it’s still new technology (42%).

Top Concerns With BEVs (via 2015 Harris Poll)

Top Concerns With BEVs (via 2015 Harris Poll)

Looking at some of the concerns potential owners had for BEVs, it is clear that more education is needed as electric cars have proven themselves to be very reliable overall, as well as costing only a fraction of a petrol car to maintain.

If interested, there is lots more data and swell charts over at the 2015 Harris Poll result page.

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17 Comments on "2015 Harris Poll: US Car Owners Slightly More Interested In EVs, 29% Would Consider PHEVs, 21% BEVs"

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Did the poll ask if they knew the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in?

It would be helpful to know if they understood the terms before getting the survey. If the survey is the first time they have heard of a BEV or PHEV, many of the questions wouldn’t really be valid.

Agreed.. I still find that most people do not understand the difference between a hybrid, PHEV, or BEV.

Agreed Josh. With repair, reliability, and performance still considered an issue, says there is still a LOT of education to be done.


Good opportunity to help educate more of your neighbors at the upcoming National Drive Electric Week events.

If you pay $200/month for gas, electrics (of any kind) can save a lot of money. Think about the kind of upgrade you could afford if that (additional) amount paid for your car, instead of gas. $24,000 over 10 years. That’s a lot of donuts.

Most interesting finding, not reported, is that ~20x the number of people currently driving electric would consider driving electric. That number swings up sharply as the matures age out. Will probably swing up even more sharply as more boomers and gen X become familiar with and then enamored of Tesla Model 3, Chevy Volt and Bolt, BMW i and new Nissan Leaf.

Education is key. People have no concept of the real value of electric vehicles. And the average person is clueless about the differences between the variation’s of EV’s. Price is the major decision factor. Long term cost savings are not even considered by most people.

Can Jay-or one of that authors, go after the Ford exec’s and get them to address the price of the Focus replacement battery, and the capacity of it? Love the car…but these (and the heater) are below the bar. The battery replacement cost of the FFE is basically what Ford is asking for the whole car. Double our range with a replacement battery,and give us a reason to stay with Ford at a price that is nearer the Nissan’s 4K.

The choice is all yours, 12 Foci.

Instead of hoping for a big corporation to make changes, for a small set of consumer, it is much better and easier for YOU to change your own thought – the reason for not staying with Ford is already there, so, adjust your mindset of only getting Fords, and just purchase something within your budget, and in this case, probably a Nissan…

Many have said this before –

2 other green car reporting sites have titled this report as “flat” instead of “growing” or “slightly more.”

If one counts margin of error and rounding, 2% is really a wash. More importantly, when one positive spins everything, there’s no sense of urgency to induce new energy, strategy or plan in order to stir up new momentum for change.

With tremendous pressure from both Fed and State Gov’t on cutting back incentives and/or increasing fees/taxes on EVs, a positive spin, imho, is not a good thing to promote future growth in this industry.

It would really help, when reporting these surveys that a link is provided to the questionnaire. How questions are worded is very important, and sometimes wording is deliberately set to skew results in a desired direction (as viewed by whoever pays for the report).

We don’t even know if a high number is good or bad. i.e. “EVs have proven to be more reliable and cheaper to service than ICEs. How does reliability and service costs influence your decision?”
vs “… A high score indicates you believe EVs will cost more to service.”

Nice improvement but those numbers are still depressingly low. 🙁

Only 29% for a PHEV? I understand the skepticism of EVs but not the skepticism of PHEVs.

“I understand the skepticism of EVs but not the skepticism of PHEVs.”

NOT to say they are justified, but the often quoted concerns on PHEV are “complexity, reliability, cost and performance”…

“No manual transmission option” . . . LOL.

Why do you want something that only exists due to a defect in internal combustion engines?!?!


The fact that there is only a tiny improvement in people being open to the idea of driving a PEV is, in my opinion, a reflection of the fact that there hasn’t been a substantial improvement in the range of PEVs in the past five years.

When the new crop of nominally “200 mile” EVs appear on the market, you can be sure the percentage of people interested will take a sharp sudden upturn.

Does those 21% who are willing to drive a BEV also count toward those 29% who are willing to drive a PHEV?

If it does, then the state of affair for PEVs are pretty sad. If it doesn’t, then it is a pretty good outlook since it is combined about 50% of the people are willing to drive a car with a plug.