Future Looks Bright for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

20 percent of Americans say their next car will likely be an electric

BOISE – (May 8, 2018) – There’s no doubt about it – fears surrounding electric vehicle technology are fading fast. According to AAA’s new survey, 20 percent of American drivers (50 million people) say that their next car will likely be an electric vehicle, up from 15 percent just one year ago.  The top motivations to switch from a gas-powered vehicle are concern for the environment (80 percent), lower long-term costs (67 percent), and access to cutting edge technology (54 percent).

Barriers to adopting the new technology are likely falling due to increased public awareness. For example, 63 percent of the motorists who are unlikely to purchase an electric vehicle expressed concern that there aren’t enough places to charge, but that number dropped from 69 percent in 2017.  Drivers are also less concerned this year over last about running out of charge while driving (58% vs. 68%) and the higher cost to repair or replace the battery (49% vs. 55%).

“The landscape for electric vehicles has changed dramatically in recent years,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “Just like the early days of the gas-powered car, the first priority was functionality.  As concerns like ‘range anxiety’ subside, automakers and consumers will focus more on style and expanded product offerings.”

Electrics aren’t the only popular alternative vehicle. Three in 10 U.S. adults say they are likely to select a hybrid vehicle for their next purchase.  That interest level is unchanged from 2017.

 

Drivers who told AAA they were likely to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle ranked the following characteristics in order of importance:

  1. Reliability
  2. Fuel economy, or how far the vehicle can go on one charge
  3. Crash rating
  4. Cost
  5. Vehicle performance
  6. Advanced safety technology such as automatic emergency braking or lane keep assistance

 

“It’s clear that few buyers expect electrics or hybrids to be the cheapest thing around or outperform a Ferrari,” Conde said. “More than anything, they just want peace of mind that their vehicle is capable of safely and consistently reaching their destination.”

In Idaho, adoption of electric and hybrid technology will likely continue to favor urban areas that have more vehicle charging stations and other support infrastructure.

 

Green Car Guide Highlights the Best Options

As gas prices continue to climb, some drivers may seek alternatives to the traditional combustion engine. The Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center rates and ranks electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas-powered, diesels, and high fuel economy gasoline-powered vehicles for the annual AAA Green Car Guide.  The following vehicles earned AAA’s Top Green Vehicle Award this year:

Green Guide 2018 Winners list

 

The Tesla Model X 75D was also this year’s overall winner. Visit AAA.com/greencar to learn more.

Green Guide 2018 Winner Tesla

 

While electric vehicle technology grows in popularity, it is clear that some consumer confusion remains. Roughly 70 percent of Americans feel that a charging time of no more than 30 minutes is reasonable, yet it can take several hours or even overnight for a car battery to completely recharge, depending on the type of charger or outlet available.

Baby Boomers and Gen Xers reported feeling less trusting of the technology than Millennials.

“We’re still in the early days of developing the support infrastructure needed to tap the full potential of these technologies, including as the eventual platform for fully autonomous vehicles,” Conde said. “There are many details to work out, but this is an idea whose time has come.”