AAA Survey: Why aren’t more Americans Plugging in to Electric Vehicles?

Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE tops AAA’s annual list of top green cars

PORTLAND, Ore., – AAA’s new survey shows that consumer interest in electric vehicles remains steady. The number who say they plan to buy an EV the next time they’re in the market for a new or used vehicle is unchanged from 2018 with 40 million Americans (16 percent) saying they’d consider an EV for their next car purchase. Only 40 percent believe that most vehicles will be electric by the year 2029.

AAA’s annual survey tracks opinions regarding electric and hybrid vehicles. AAA believes that a lack of knowledge and experience may be contributing to the slow adoption of electric vehicles despite Americans’ desire to go green.

The AAA Survey shows that Millennials and Generation X are more likely to consider buying an EV than Baby Boomers (23 percent and 17 percent, vs. 8 percent). Concern for the environment and lower long-term costs remain the leading reasons to go green (74 percent and 56 percent respectively).

More than 22,000 electric vehicles are registered in Oregon and the state hopes to have 50,000 registered by the end of 2020, according to Go Electric Oregon. Nationwide, sales of electric vehicles increased 81 percent in 2018, with 361,307 EVs sold last year compared to 199,826 sold in 2017, according to Inside EVs.

Previous objections to buying electric with regards to price and range anxiety continue to ease and have trended downward significantly:

  • Concern that there are not enough places to charge – down 11 percent from 2017
  • Concern about running out of charge when driving – down 11 percent from 2017
  • Higher cost of battery repair or replacement – down 8 percent from 2017
  • Higher purchase price – down 6 percent from 2017

While consumer interest in EVs remains steady, Americans may not have a solid understanding of EV performance, which may give shoppers pause when it comes to considering an electric vehicle for their next purchase. For instance, electric vehicles, unlike those running on gas, do better in stop and go traffic because the car can recapture energy to charge the battery when decelerating. However, AAA’s survey found that a majority of Americans (59 percent) were unsure of whether electric vehicles have better range when driving at highways speeds or in stop and go traffic. This demonstrates that many consumers are not sure what to expect from an electric vehicle in two of the most common driving scenarios.

“Electric vehicles can be a great choice for many drivers. AAA recommends that consumers learn as much as possible about EVs. Do research online, talk with friends who own EVs, and visit a few dealers and take some EVs on test drives. It’s also important to understand the charging options that are available at your home,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

A fact sheet on the AAA consumer survey can be found here.

 

AAA names top green cars for 2019:

 Each year, AAA produces its Green Car Guide, naming the best fuel-efficient vehicles. The Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center conducts extensive and thorough testing of high fuel efficiency, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles each year, and assigns ratings based on criteria important to buyers such as ride quality, safety and performance.

Here are the winners for 2019. Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews and an in-depth analysis of the green vehicle industry can be found at AAA.com/greencar. B-roll video and a complete list of the 2019 AAA Green Car Winners are also available.

Snip of Green Car Guide Winners Spreadsheet

2019 AAA Green Car Guide Overall Winner Jaguar I-Pace

The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE is our top-scoring green vehicle. It’s also named as the top SUV or Minivan, and the best vehicle costing more than $50,000. The I-Pace starts at $69,500. Read our review here. The Jaguar I-Pace EV400 styling is bold, combining a traditional Jaguar grille with a fastback wedge shape. Inside, the Jaguar eschews leather seats, opting instead for a more forward-thinking denim fabric and synthetic suede. Acceleration is good and handling is agile, with a sports-car like feel.

 

AAA Green Car Guide Best Subcompact Winner Chevrolet Bolt

The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt Premier is the top-scoring subcompact car. When it was introduced as a 2017 model, the Chevrolet Bolt was revolutionary in its impact, the first truly affordable EV with an EPA-estimated driving ranges of more than 200 miles. And although it’s no longer the only game in town – the Bolt is still a strong contender in the reasonably priced EV arena.

 

AAA Green Car Guide Best Compact Winner Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is the top-scoring compact car and the best in the $30,000 to $50,000 price range. Introduced in 2010, the Leaf underwent a major redesign for 2018. And despite competition from recently released EVs, the Leaf stays near the top of the heap. The exterior and interior styling are now more mainstream and “normal” looking. The cabin is a bit larger, with good headroom in the front. The Leaf’s steering is responsive and has good handling, providing a comfortable ride.

 

AAA Green Car Guide Best Midsize Winner Tesla Model 3

The 2018 Tesla Model 3 RWD is the top-scoring midsize vehicle. The exterior is sleek and aerodynamic with a cozy cabin and large display screen where most of the vehicle’s controls can be found. Acceleration is quick and the Model 3 offers an extended range of up to 310 miles. Steering and handling are excellent and appropriate for a sports sedan.

 

AAA Green Car Guide Best Large Winner Tesla Model S P100D

The Tesla Model S P100D is the top-scoring large vehicle. The Model S, introduced in 2012, still impresses with its sleek styling, sporty handling and quick acceleration. Major updates worth noting include a new front fascia and upgrades in battery sizes.

 

AAA Green Car Guide Best Pickup Winner Ford F-150

The top-scoring pickup is the 2018 Ford F-150 4×4 Supercrew. The Ford F-150 is perennially the best-selling vehicle in America, with more than 909,000 sold in the U.S. last year. In fact, the Ford F-Series has been America’s best-selling vehicle for nearly four decades. The only pickup truck with an aluminum body, the F-150 impresses with its comfort and usability. The front seats are comfortable with plenty of headroom, and the full-size doors and grab handles make it easy to get into the backseat.

 

AAA Green Car Guide Best Under $30K Winner Toyota Camry

The best green car under $30,000 is the 2019 Toyota Camry SE. Overall, the Camry is a good value with a comfortable cabin and modern styling. The rear seat is roomy, easily fitting up to three people.

“There are so many options when it comes to purchasing a greener vehicle. Whether you’re shopping for an electric vehicle, hybrid or plug-in hybrid, or a fuel-efficient gas-or diesel-powered vehicle, it’s easy to get confused. The AAA green car evaluations are designed to help you pick a safe, comfortable and reliable vehicle that meets your needs,” adds Dodds.

Although Americans may be more eager to buy an electric vehicle, having the right infrastructure will be critical to its widespread adoption. In late 2018, the availability of Level 2 and DC fast charging stations had grown to more than 22,000 in the U.S. and Canada. Drivers can find the closest EV charging station by using the AAA mobile app.

AAA Oregon also offers mobile electric vehicle charging. AAA members whose EVs run out of charge can simply call AAA for service. The mobile charging truck can provide DC Fast Charging and Level 2 AC Quick Charging to electric vehicles, providing at least 10 miles of range in about 15 minutes of charging so the depleted vehicle can be driven to a charging station.

 

Consumer Survey Methodology:

A telephone omnibus survey was conducted April 4-7, 2019. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed among adults, 18 years of age or older.

A dual-frame approach was used that combined land-line and cell phone interviews to ensure that adults who only or primarily communicate via cell phones are included and properly represented. Survey responses are weighted by six variables (age, gender, geographic region, race/ethnicity, education, and landline vs. cell phone only) to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total continental US population, 18 years of age and older.

The margin of error for the study is 3.8% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups will have larger error margins.

 

AAA news releases, high resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

For more info go www.AAA.com. AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 810,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 59 million travelers in North America.