More than half of all people in a recent survey in the northeast United States are considering an electric car when shopping for a new vehicle. But the survey shows that number increases to 63 percent when considering only millennials. When considering Baby Boomers alone, the number falls to 38 percent.
That is just one bit of many statistics coming from a “Drive Change. Drive Electric.” campaign study. The study says that electric vehicle sales make up only about 2% of new-vehicle purchases in the region. But if either group — millennials or Baby Boomers — follows through on its interest level for EVs, the Northeast will see a “huge spike” in electric vehicle sales, according to the study.
But for all age groups, the study shows some additional noteworthy statistics about electric vehicles. Although only 3 percent of Northeasterners are currently driving an electric vehicle, 52% are considering an electric vehicle as their next purchase. And the No. 1 concern about electric vehicles? Availability of charging stations.
A total of 83% of those surveyed say not enough charging stations are available, but almost half have noticed more electric vehicle charging stations in their area over the past year.
“In the Northeast, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in building out charging infrastructure to meet growing demand. In the last year alone, the number of public charging stations increased by more than 20 percent in the Northeast, and there are plans to add even more stations in 2019,” Northeast States for Coordinated Use Management policy and program director Elaine O’Grady said in a news release.
“Also, people without electric cars often don’t realize that most charging takes place at home overnight,” she continued. “In any event, the fact that people are noticing more charging stations in their communities is encouraging and a clear indicator that we are making significant progress toward raising awareness and building confidence that public charging stations are available.”
Another main concern of survey participants: range. The survey shows that 81% of drivers in the Northeast say the distance an electric vehicle can travel before a re-charge is necessary is a concern.
And 85% of Northeasterners say high upfront costs are a barrier to going electric, even though 64 percent believe EVs will allow them to save money overall. The study finds that national and state financial incentive programs such as tax credits and rebates are a major purchase motivator for Baby Boomers and Millennials.
The study also addressed gender differences: 53% of Northeasterners don’t feel knowledgeable about electric vehicles, with the number higher among women, at 64%.
But the study found additional positive signs for the future of electric vehicles:
—60% of Northeasterners say their household is more likely now to consider an electric vehicle today than it was a year ago. Eighty-two percent of Northeasterners would like more types of electric vehicles to be available in the marketplace.
—88% of Northeasterners would like to lower their vehicle emissions footprint. About seventy-five percent say gas-powered vehicles are becoming “antiquated.”
—80% of Northeasterners would more likely consider EVs if more charging stations were available in their area.
But the generational findings of the study could have high impact on EV sales. Despite some generational differences in electric car knowledge, the study says millennials and Boomers agree on one main point: Electric is the future of automobiles. Both generations want to see the introduction of more electric vehicle models.
“Although we know the future is bright for electric cars, the need for education and awareness of the benefits of driving electric has reached a critical point,” O’Grady said. “Through the ‘Drive Change. Drive Electric.’ campaign, states and automakers are working together to increase awareness, instill confidence and make the switch to electric an easy choice for drivers of all ages today.”
Drive Change. Drive Electric. is a public-private partnership between auto manufacturers and Northeast states. Advancing consumer awareness, understanding, consideration and adoption of electric cars, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles, is a campaign goal.