With Earth Day 2023 on the horizon, Americans show interest and rising awareness for electrification despite price as a barrier
On the occasion of Earth Day, a global celebration of environmental protection and sustainability, a consumer survey conducted by MINI USA reveals American consumers’ changing perspectives and considerations regarding electric vehicles (EVs), highlighting shifting sentiments over the last four years when MINI first carried out the same survey.
Tracking both changes from existing questions and adding a few new questions in the mix this year, the survey indicates that almost half of American consumers plan to purchase an electric vehicle in the next five years. With a new question probing the barriers that consumers are facing in the EV purchase journey, factors such as price (44%) and lack of reliable public charging stations (18%) are the main lingering deterrents. Education campaigns continue to raise the bar for general public knowledge about electrification, though.
Commissioned by Engine’s CARAVAN®, the survey further explores consumers’ growing familiarity and embrasure of EV infrastructure and ownership as it relates to their daily travel needs. Awareness of local charging stations continues to rise steadily over the last four years, from just 26% of respondents in 2019 to 44% in 2023. Alongside this heightened awareness comes greater expectations for charging capabilities, though, with 72% of consumers finding an acceptable charging time to be at or under an hour. This is a 5% increase from last year and a 13% increase over the last four years.
“MINI is joined by several other automakers in the commitment to offer more electric vehicles each year, and making them more accessible to consumers than ever before,” said Andrew Cutler, Head of Communications, MINI USA. “It remains a responsibility of the industry to ensure that everyday drivers are equipped with the understanding and incentive to join the revolution that is vehicle electrification.”
A new insight in this year’s survey, just 15% of respondents said driving range was their main setback in purchasing an electric vehicle. This is further validated by the recurring survey question on daily driving range where consumers align with this sentiment showing 73% of respondents indicating their driving habits fall within 75 miles per day. This statistic has remained remarkably consistent over each year, with only a slight decrease from 76% in 2022 and 74% in 2019.
Tracing over time, consumers show a similarly consistent albeit shifting opinion of the top use cases for EVs. 31% of respondents cited “city car” as the top usage for an EV compared to 32% in 2022 and 34% four years ago. “Primary car” usage also remains consistent at 27% since last year, though it is a marked rise from just 18% in 2019.
New survey questions around consumers’ purchase intent and consideration, reinforce the idea that cost sits at the top of the pyramid for EV-centric concerns. The survey reveals that a majority of consumers (58%) would not consider an electric vehicle purchase unless it is equal to or cheaper than a gas-powered vehicle. Surprisingly, the opposite is true for young consumers, aged 18 to 34, in particular. Among this age group, 56% of respondent are willing to pay more for an electric car compared to just 33% for consumers aged 45 to 64.