Autolist.com's 2023 Electric Vehicle Survey highlights potential challenges to widespread consumer adoption, despite the fact that shoppers' concerns about making the switch to EVs are easing.
Consumers' top three concerns about EVs remain price, range, and where to charge them, although these have eased compared to previous years. When it comes to price, 42 percent of respondents found EVs too expensive to buy or lease, down from 49 percent in 2022, while 39 percent were worried about range on a single charge, down from 44 percent last year.
As for charging, 33 percent expressed concerns about where to charge an EV, down from 35 percent in 2022. A very positive development is the fact many automakers have pledged to adopt Tesla's charging standard, which will provide access for owners of these brands' EVs to the Supercharging network. This provides an additional reason for shoppers to switch to EVs.
But not everything in the survey reflects a positive outlook on EVs. Between February and July 2023, Autolist asked more than 3,100 current car shoppers their opinions of EVs and found that lower-income shoppers see EVs as increasingly out of reach.
"As the market matures and EVs themselves become more capable, we're definitely starting to see more shoppers view them as real-world possibilities. Unfortunately, those gains are largely limited to higher-income households. It's clear from our survey that making EVs affordable for all consumers will be essential to their widespread adoption."
Corey Lydstone, founder and CEO of Autolist
Gallery: Autolist's 2023 Electric Vehicle Survey
Approximately 42 percent of respondents said EVs are too expensive to buy or lease. That's an improvement over the 2022 Electric Vehicle Survey, when 49 percent of shoppers found EVs too expensive to buy or lease.
However, lower-income shoppers view EVs' upfront costs and infrastructure as a hurdle; 46 percent of respondents making under $30,000 a year cited upfront costs as a major hurdle, versus the survey average of 42 percent.
In addition, one-third of respondents making under $30,000 said they had no place to charge an EV where they lived, versus the survey average of 27 percent of people who cited this as a top concern.
Overall, the survey found that the lower the income of the respondent, the more likely they were to say they don't see themselves owning an EV in the future and there weren't any public charging stations in their community.
Lower-income respondents were also more likely to cite a lack of charging stations in their area as a key reason they wouldn't buy an EV, and their unfamiliarity with EVs as a key reason they wouldn't buy an EV.
Fewer people would consider an EV compared to the 2022 survey
Financial aspect aside, the poll also uncovered that resistance to EVs is becoming more entrenched for some consumers. For example, when Autolist asked respondents whether they ever see themselves owning an EV, 39 percent said yes while 26 percent said no – another 27 percent said they were unsure and the final 8 percent said they currently owned one.
Those numbers were actually worse from an EV adoption perspective when compared to the survey's 2022 results. Last year, 42 percent of people said yes, 21 percent said no, 30 percent were unsure, and the final 7 percent said they already owned one.
Another intriguing development is that fewer respondents said they believe EVs are better for the environment than gas vehicles, than did in 2022. In this year's poll, 38 percent of people agreed with that statement, down from the 46 percent of people who agreed with it in 2022.
Meanwhile, the number of people who said gas vehicles were better for the environment jumped to 13 percent in 2023, from 9 percent in 2022. Check out the survey in full for more insight.