Survey: 30 Million Americans Likely To Buy An EV As Their Next Car

MAY 2 2017 BY MARK KANE 37

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – March 2017

The Automobile Association of America predicts, based on its latest survey, states that more than 30 million Americans are likely to buy an electric vehicle as their next car.

Chevrolet Bolt EVs

30 million would be some 50-times more than the cumulative sales to date (over 600,000 since 2010). So, there is apparently quite a surge ahead of us.

Current sales numbers do illustrate a strong, increasing demand for plug-in vehicles (see above chart) despite an environment that sees gas prices lower then a few years ago.

EVs have simply become more competitive over their first 6.5 years on the market, and the segment now offers more models, that fulfill more consumer needs.

“Reasons for interest in electric cars vary, with 87 percent citing a concern for the environment, 62 percent citing lower long‐term costs, 52 percent wanting cutting‐edge technology, 29 percent wanting car pool lane access, and 12 percent giving “other reasons.”

On the other hand, Americans who are unlikely to buy an electric vehicle or are undecided are worried about the availability of charging stations and fear running out of battery power. More than half of them say the cars cost more than they want to pay, and they also are worried about battery repair and replacement costs.”

AAA’s predictions stands out in a recent CNBC article, but others still have doubts in electric car success. Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader surveys still paint a more skeptical picture.

Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst for Autotrader, in an email to CNBC said:

“Quite the contrary. If people are saying they are interested in electric vehicles and intend to make their next purchase one, then that interest is not translating into sales.”

“In contrast, the entire category of EVs, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, etc. is under 3 percent of all new vehicle sales. It has been shrinking, not growing, even before gas prices dropped. It is the most heavily discounted (biggest incentives) segment with the lowest resale values. If the tax credits go away, the segment is in even more trouble.”

Well, throwing hybrids into the same bag with plug-in hybrids and electric cars to try and diminish the current 50% growth of the segment really isn’t something we can stomach, but we do concede that the withdrawal of federal EV incentives in the US could be a valid reason to affect the EV market; in the short term.

source: CNBC

Categories: General


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37 Comments on "Survey: 30 Million Americans Likely To Buy An EV As Their Next Car"

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Gotta love the non accurate stupid surveys!

So they asked 30 million americans would they buy an EV?

I do not think so.

Also percentages are always worthless, useless and invalid

80% of people said they would buy one….. 80% of who? ROFL


my aunt and uncle bought a ford hatchback plug-in. despite him being highly intelligent (double phd, mensa) when I aked him about it he said he wasn’t concerned about climate change. so they’re effectively mainstream as far as I’m concerned. about an issue here I think people are overlooking is the the percentage of the 30 million people who, like me and my mother, plan on buying as our next vehicle but realistically no vehicle purchase in in the cards in the foreseeable future. prices need to come down which is realistically one of the reasons people want the EVS in the first — place the promise of cheaper fuel costs and the hopes for fewer repairs. those 30 million could also include people who will be buying used next, as it stands that’s the best bet for a lot people such as myself. that article about flat bolt sales says to me though that once the waiting list for the model 3 is cleared sales of that car will be flat as well. there’s no way that car will appeal more to the average buyer than the bolt. unless the model 3 sells to the same clientele supporting them… Read more »

since I accidentally replied here anyway, can we get a report function or just get a mod to warn or do away with posts that add nothing to the conversation / appear to be little more than trolling. such as those from “volt” here.

john bonnell

Very good point. They did not survey 30M people.

Martin Winlow

“80% of who?” Well, 80% of the people surveyed… extrapolated to the motoring population of the US = 30 million. It’s not exactly rocket science (though I concede it isn’t a terribly reliable method of predicting future EV sales, either).


There are many things to consider here. Sending money to OPEC not the least. Unhealthy air in the cities is another.
How much cheaper and less services a EV brings along gives you more money leftover and more time to spend on things that you want to do.


Sounds like 10 million Americans want car pool access… How will that work?

Ron M

Trump finally talked about something I like. Increasing the tax on gasoline for infrastructure. It’s been over 20 years since the Federal Gas Tax has been increased we should have raised it by $1.00 a gallon before we went to war in Iraq, people would have questioned going to war.

Eric Cote

When did he mention this? If so, I hope it’s one of the statements he actually follows through with in executing.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

It was reported by one of the news media stating he will not rule that out and it’s a viable solution.


He also said he “wouldn’t rule out” using nukes in Europe.

Tell me when he signs a bill saying so. Otherwise, it’s more useless blather from #45.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

IMHO, his approach is bassackwards.

Rather than increasing gas taxes (we all know that’s shltty unpopular) he should feather off all the gooberment petroleum subsidies.
All the money is there and then some to fix infrastructure.

this bad….
“We will increase gas taxes to pay for infrastructure maint/repair/new builds.”

this good…
“We will slowly feather off the OPEC welfare checks and use these funds for infrastructure maint/repair/new builds.”

There may even be some left for his wall!


Can’t eliminate oil subsidies because there aren’t any to speak of. At least not in the US, places like Venezuela, Kuwait, etc. subsidize oil heavily.

The main oil “subsidies” in the US are a free ride for externalities such as emissions and military/foreign relations entanglements. But there’s nothing to “feather off” there, the only way to charge for those is to add some kind of tax or fee. Any such tax will work its way into the pump price, so you might as well collect it at the pump.

Except …….. there’s a better way. You want to influence new car purchasing, so collect 50 cents a gallon when a new car is first sold. That’s $3000 for a 25 mpg car (based on 150k mile life), $6000 for a 12.5 mpg SUV, etc. A Volt is $300 (50 mpg for 20% of the 150k miles) and a BEV or FCV is zero. Use the money to fund rebates for BEVs, FCVs, PHEVs, etc.

John J Brophy

Good formula… Send it Trump rigt away!!


I can’t find any original survey info.
Who was surveyed?
Was the 15% “likely to buy”, or “willing to consider”?

At this point, it doesn’t seem to be much more than clickbait.


This survey doesn’t seem to differentiate between people looking to buy new vs. people looking to buy used.

I think there is somewhat of a disconnect between the EV cars people in the mass market want to buy, and what is available used.

The longer range cars that have been announced, but haven’t hit the market seem to be more of what the larger market wants to buy. Like the Model 3.

But there aren’t going to be a significant number of used Model 3’s and other next generation EV’s for a number of years. What is widely available in the used market is a ton of sub-100 mile pure EV’s, and I don’t believe those are the EV’s these folks want to buy.


Excellent points. Of course these analysts fail to mention that since much higher range evs are coming, that last years models look like dogs.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I wasn’t in the survey but for me, I will no longer buy an ICE vehicle.

Now, what we need are the Ski resorts to have 10KW AC L2 chargers!!!…….lol

Robert Weekley

Ski Resorts, Beaches, Malls, Theatres, Grocery Stores, Gyms, etc!


Got to love bad analysts.

Anyone who treats HEVs and PEVs the same just does not get it.

Robert Weekley

Yup! To them, ‘Electrified’, = “Electric”, hence a Hybrid, and a Plug In Hybrid, are the same, and a BEV, is just a PHEV Without a gas engine!


As far resale value goes Tesla is the highest of any brand. Also they spend less time up for sale.
Now the Leaf, with their bone-head lack of active battery cooling and poor chemistry for hotter climates, suffered immense damage to it’s resale value, bringing down the whole segment.

All these auto sites predicting catastrophe for the ev segment have cast their lots with legacy auto manufacturers, and their views are suspect at best, and merely lies and obfuscation at worst.

Murrysville EV

“more than 30 million Americans are likely to buy an electric vehicle as their next car”

That is pure fiction. And Michelle Krebs is right: elimination of tax credits will destroy sales, particularly at the low end of the market – including the Model 3.

When soccer moms, Texas ranchers, and grandmothers are buying EVs, I’ll start to believe such surveys.

scott franco

So what if “it does not translate to sales”. The purview of a car maker is to give people what they want, not to force them to buy what they don’t want.

We went through this exact same thing already. People argued incessantly “what will people pay extra for HDTV (vs “normal”). The answer in the long run was clear. Nothing. HDTV became the standard and was simply shipped with modern LCD TVs.

The lesson is important. (the majority of) People will buy EVs when it becomes a checkbox item. If the car doesn’t require them to change their lifestyle, they will prefer it over gas cars. If it does, there is low tolerance for it.

Murrysville EV

“If the car doesn’t require them to change their lifestyle, they will prefer it over gas cars.”

Exactly right.


Meanwhile Kia and Hyundai are swinging for the fences. Nearly 3000 Niro hybrid sold in April in the US. Almost no stock. They will be able to sell their good looking phev and bev Niro and Ionic as fast as they can make them. Could they unseat Toyota? Well theme Ford Fusion Hybrid already did that with the hybrid version


So where are they in the month of April?


I have frequently questioned the results of surveys about EVs that have been the focus of articles here at InsideEVs, but this is ridiculous! 30 million Americans would be about 10% of the market, when in reality, PEV (Plug-in EV) sales in the USA have only recently and only barely exceeded 1%.

Yeah okay, so part of the discrepancy is that the survey didn’t distinguish between non-plug-in HEVs (Hybrid EVs) and PEVs. But I think a better interpretation of the survey results would be that some 10% of those thinking about buying a new car would like to buy an EV. Unfortunately, when they look at the lack of availability, and the comparatively higher sticker price of currently available EVs, most of them are going to change their minds.

Robert Weekley

There are not near enough Visibilty for, and Quantities of, DC Fast Chargers yet, or properly distributed, either!

Every Freeway Exit sign that can lead to an EV Charger, should indicate “EV2”, and “EV Fast” on the overhead, or on the Faciloties listed for the exit, same as they do for Food, Fuel, Accommodations! It cold be a new sign alone, labeled: “EV Charging Facilities”, and number/distance to them, and mayb Networks or Brands!


I would like to see how many people said they were “likely” to buy an EV as their next car five years ago.

Suffice it to say that five (or even ten) years from now, I do not expect U.S. EV sales to be at 30 million. In fact, if 2016 sales doubled this year, and 2017 sales doubled in 2018, etc. after ten years of that rate of increase we wouldn’t even be at TEN million total EV sales.


Oops, terrible math blunder. What I mean to say is that if we grew by 2016 sales each year, we wouldn’t get to 10 million sales in ten years; it would be a little under 9.5 million.

Obviously, doubling the previous year’s sales each year results in a ridiculously huge number very quickly.

Justin Earhart

I spoke to several dealerships here in Michigan and they all say the same thing. The Bolts’s are selling to older people who don’t have a 9-5 job. Its just a recreational expenditure to the majority of the buyers. I personally can’t see why a family would want to buy a small vehicle like the Bolt at that kind of price. Although I have seen a few purchased by wealthy parents for their children in high school and college.

Justin Earhart

I would love to have one myself but I do not see its value with a family. I could buy an SUV or minivan for the price.

Quick question for you. If the price of a plug-in Mini-van were equal to a gas mini-van, would you guy a all-battery mini-van? Range extended mini-van or the ICE-only mini-van? Given the price-point of an “after rebates and credits” could make a mini-van equal to a gas-only mini-van, would you then buy the plug-in? I contend that if post-rebate/credit Volts were available at the same price as a ICE Malibu, the Malibu will sell more units. Right now, you can put together an out of pocket purchase of a Volt that places it still about $5k more on price than a Malibu. However, due to the way the tax credits work, it looks like not all people can take the $7500. When someone can buy the “same car” as a plug-in instead of a gas engine, then they may start to buy them in larger numbers. Cars like the Honda Accord Hybrid, offering a combined 47mpg, is “mighty green” in terms of gas usage. However, it is still $27-29k. That is about a few $k more than the Volt after credits and rebates. Volt gets some drivers into HOV lanes, such as in CA. So, many will buy it just… Read more »

It is possible the Bolt could do better in Europe than in the USA. It’s just too small for the American family dynamic. Not bad for a California Commuter type guy who drives long miles to work and can use the HOV lanes.


Is good to have a minimal knowledge about statistic before ask dummy question like “they ask 30M Americans?”…
US=321M so it is 10.7% when convert to families about 37%. If think about all type BEV, PHEV, etc. it looks real. Obviously intention to buy and real buy is a difference.
100% my next car will be EV (ZOE, LEAF or 3)


If you read sites like goodcarbadcar – you can see current sales numbers by model (car and truck). It appears that people are not buying EVs as their next car at this point. The survey is clearly reaching and using “fuzzy” phrases like “will likely” rather than “will definitely”.

EVs will grow – yes. At what rate? Clearly it depends. Price, infrastructure and cultural acceptance will determine it. A lot of people “predict” the future and get it entirely wrong. I think this is the case here because it blankets so many in one survey. Was the survey done in all communities from Detroit to West Palm Beach? Was it done in a few select locations – say Palo Alto, Los Angeles and San Diego? What about the fly-over states?