Survey: 70% Of Americans Don’t Know What A EV Charger Looks Like

JUN 13 2016 BY JAY COLE 27

Ford recently put out an announcement stating that the newly refreshed Fusion Energi (details), was the longest range plug-in hybrid vehicle… with some 610 miles of total range.

While at the same time, the company passed along the information that the all-electric range and overall efficiency of the plug-in Ford had increased for 2017 – to some 21 miles AER and 97 MPGe/42MPG respectively.

New look, more miles for the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi

New look, more miles for the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi

And as part of that press release, Ford noted:

  • An online Harris Poll found 40 percent of U.S. adult drivers were frustrated with their vehicle’s range (plug-in or otherwise),
  • the survey also found Americans significantly underestimate the typical plug-in hybrid vehicle’s range, with most respondents believing the longest-range plug-in hybrid can travel just 261 miles

These facts of course dovetailed nicely with the Ford Fusion Energi’s class-lead range specs.  1+1=2

In speaking with a Ford representative about the new Fusion Energi, it was noted to us that “…while the survey indicates a lack of awareness among consumers, the advantages of plug-in hybrid vehicles are becoming more convincing.”

Which got us to thinking about the survey itself, and what other nuggets of interest it might hold as to American’s “awareness” (or lack thereof) when it comes to plug-in technology; especially as the survey deals with the US driving population as a whole, and was not specifically commissioned with plug-in vehicles in mind.

We asked Ford if they would mind sharing the data of the Harris Poll as it relates to electric vehicles, and thankfully, the company passed those results along (see below for full statistical breakdown, and additional information).

  • 1 In 20 US drivers have done this

    1 In 20 US drivers have done this

    2 out of 3 Americans are concerned that the price of gas will go up this year, 3 out of 4 are concerned with the outlook for higher gas over the next 5 years

  • only 4% of Americans know anyone outside their family who owns a plug-in or hybrid vehicle
  • only 5% of Americans have ever plugged-in an EV, with just 20% saying they know how to do it
  • 70% state they don’t know what a electric vehicle charger looks like, 62% unsure of what a charging station looks like
  • the average America thinks the longest range PHEV can travel ~261 miles, while the longest range BEV (all-electric vehicle) can travel ~203 miles

The overall take-away is that progress is being made when it comes to awareness of plug-in technology in the United States, but it still has a ways to go.

Harris Poll: Gas Concerns (via Ford)

Harris Poll: Gas Concerns (via Ford)

Harris Poll: US Plug-In Familiarity Survey Data

Harris Poll: US Plug-In Familiarity Survey Data

Harris Poll: US Plug-In Familiarity Survey Data

Harris Poll: US Plug-In Familiarity Survey Data

Harris Poll: US Plug-In Familiarity Survey Data

Harris Poll: US Plug-In Familiarity Survey Data

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27 Comments on "Survey: 70% Of Americans Don’t Know What A EV Charger Looks Like"

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Only 10% knows anyone with plug-in / EV, yet 30% knows what chargers look like? That seems way too high. Many people know I drive EV, yet they have no idea what chargers look like nor did they see DCFC station until I pointed it out. I have my suspicion that the poll is not representative of the population.

The way I read this, the poll just asks them if they can recognize an EV charger when they see it, and notes if they say “yes” or “no” (or perhaps “not sure”?).

If this involved an actual test, for example showing them a series of images and test to see if they can recognize an EV charger when they see it, then the results might be quite different.

Personally, I’m not at all sure I can recognize every type of EV charger, despite all my time reading articles about EVs.

And while I know where a Leaf’s and an Model S’s plug receptacles are, I might have to hunt around on, say, a Volt to find where to insert the plug.

According to this, the public is in the complete dark about EVs. I can agree with this sentiment.

Despite Ford and author claiming that pool represent “Americans” stance, its not.

36 mln Poland need ~1250 randomly selected respondends.

300+ mln USA need some more. Those few dozens would not cut it for anything bigger then maybe biggest state in USA.

Badly educated, but further more, actively disinformed about EVs by the century old petro-auto cartel.

We should have a reader contest: Find and link to the most absurd thing that we might be able to convince someone is an EV charger. 😉

(A Theremin is an early music synthesizer).

To aid consumers, all automotive chargers should be equipped with some safe version of Jacobs Ladders

thats ok 99.95% dont know what a hydrogen station looks like.

Nor is there any reason they’ll ever need to.

I live blocks from the Gas Technology Institute public fueling station just North of Chicago. The site is listed on several alternative fuel maps with the ability to provide CNG, but for years had additional “pumps” for dispensing hydrogen. Not anymore. They finally disassembled the largely abandoned hydrogen dispenser. Thus the last remaining source of vehicular hydrogen fuel for a radius of ~400 miles is gone.

Go to any Terrible Herbst gas station in Las Vegas, NV, and you can see what an EV station looks like. Simple, really. Although we may have a public that is too dumb to be taught much any more. It astounds me how many of them even received the privilege of a drivers license, what with the way they drive, if you could call it that, anymore these days.

The wording of questions and lack of uniformed charging style will always make this a lopsided poll.

Number of charging locations? I couldn’t tell you how many gas stations in my own city!!

Doesn’t surprise me at all. I actually thought some of the numbers would be higher.

I live in an area where the combination of rebates and tax breaks take $13,000 off any EV purchase or lease, but the vast majority of the public is completely unaware of this.

Ignorance is pretty common, but that can be changed. What is almost impossible to change is when people want to remain ignorant — when you tell them the facts and they refuse to believe them because they don’t fit their prejudices or limited world view or what talk radio is telling them or whatever.

I’ve seen this and there’s nothing quite like it. Very worrisome.

The question applies mostly to DC Fast Chargers, as non-owners are not likely to known where a PEVs on-board AC is located under the hood!

Note: almost all Level2 AC charging sites do not have a EV charger onsite … they are BYOC (ie: use your onboard charger with their AC charging dock, or EVSE)

Did the survey ask about Supercharging stations? In other studies Tesla has very high brand recognition that has been derived from the geo diversity of their station locations.

EVSE: EV Support Equipment
BYOC: Bring Your Own Charger

I can’t tell you how many times I have had to tell people that my car does not take any gas, ever. Many are shocked and dumbfounded to learn this. However, once explained, they become quite interested. It seems like no one really likes going to get gas.

Bet 70% doesn’t know the vice president’s name.

I don’t know his name but I hear he’s secretly a Muslim.

I wouldn’t expect 30% to know what an EV charging location looks like. The connectors are all new, previously non-standard things, – of course if you are talking about tesla, then they are all proprietary anyway – even between Roadster and more modern ones. In my area I wouldn’t expect 1 person in 20 to know what a public charging facility looks like, and I certainly would not criticize them for being unfamiliar with it. When I first came up to a chargepoint, I couldn’t get it to work until I called the telephone number and got them to force the thing on over the phone. Of course, this particular unit in the interim has had its access card reader fail, and then also in a 3rd separate event wouldn’t unlock the J1772’s. When I tried calling, they wanted my life story before they took the trouble complaint, so I just said ‘forget it’. It was humorous to see others come up to the thing and see how frustrated they’d get. – Apparently they got so mad that ChargePoint had to fix the unit ASAP. Of course, the new ‘video screen’ chargepoints, even when they are working right, usually refuse… Read more »

Over 50% of prepaid cell phone users, don’t know how to add additional minutes to their own phones, using their carrier’s card with a PIN.

If they can’t understand and operate their own personal technology, why should they bother about anything else? 😉

The 1-4 percent that each BEV/PHEV range bracket gets are all random guesses. Completely uneducated public on that topic. How does one expect any sales with numbers like that…

On another note, how many charging stations are around? Why would anyone know that? What expectation, if any, was there when they asked this question?

No wonder Trump is popular… A bunch of idiots…

The same group that voted for Obama….twice

47.2% did not vote for Obama. I suspect 99% of Trump supporters fall into that 47.2%

That must be why they park in front of them and block them all the time.

I bet they don’t even know their gas car makes deadly exhaust and is 70% inefficient wasting energy.

Hmmm… Interestingly, I suspect this (70%) figure pretty much sums up the proportion of the World’s population that has a complete lack of interest in/knowledge of renewable energy, too!

No need to know what an electric car charger look like for will see very soon, but we need to know how to get rid of fuel and oil to keep the environment sane.

Just like other polls show people are mostly clueless about various tax credits and other incentives applicable to EVs. We have a long way to go just improving public awareness before we can draw ANY conclusions about sales figures.