A recent survey conducted by nonprofit organization Plug In America has shed light on the preferences and concerns of electric vehicle (EV) consumers. Despite expressing the need for updates to public fast-charging infrastructure, the majority of respondents indicated a strong likelihood of purchasing an EV as their next vehicle.
The survey, known as the 2023 EV Driver Survey, was released on Wednesday during a webinar hosted by Plug In America. The organization, which represents EV drivers nationwide, aims to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles throughout the United States.
During the webinar, Joel Levin, the executive director for Plug In America, highlighted the increased frustration among consumers regarding fast charging and described it as an opportunity for companies to distinguish themselves in this evolving landscape. He also expressed optimism about the improvements that will be brought about by the capital from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the heightened competition in the private sector.
According to the survey results, which gathered over 4,000 responses from EV owners and prospective buyers between December 2022 and February 2023, 90 percent of current EV owners expressed a likelihood of purchasing another EV for their next vehicle. Interestingly, despite expressing frustration with fast-charging infrastructure, the level of frustration varied depending on the charging network being used.
The survey was financially supported by notable partners including the Edison Electric Institute, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Electrify America, and Xcel Energy.
The survey findings also revealed that EV adoption is shifting from early adopters to the early majority stage of the technology adoption curve. EVs are becoming more mainstream, with increasing numbers of consumers recognizing their positive impact on air quality improvement and greenhouse gas emission reduction as the primary motivating factor for their adoption.
The survey highlighted the satisfaction levels among EV owners, with newer vehicles and pickup trucks receiving notable positive feedback. Tesla emerged as the most popular EV brand, followed by Chevrolet, Nissan, and Ford.
The majority of EV owners reported acquiring new EVs, while a smaller percentage opted for used vehicles. A few respondents also mentioned owning e-bikes rather than four-wheeled EVs.
Although EV owners expressed overall satisfaction with the information available to them for purchasing or leasing an EV, some areas, such as cold-weather performance and real-world range, were identified as gaps.
The survey also pointed out that dealership salesperson knowledge about EVs remained an area of improvement, with only a small percentage of EV owners rating their knowledge as “very high.”
However, the survey revealed a decline in satisfaction with public Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) networks from 2022 to 2023. Broken chargers were considered a significant concern for those who relied on public DCFC stations.
Plug In America stressed the need for improvements in fast-charging infrastructure, emphasizing that the lack of sufficient charging stations was a prevalent concern among respondents. Inadequate charging stations were cited as potential deterrents for EV drivers considering long trips, while broken charging stations were identified as a factor that could leave drivers stranded.
The organization pointed out that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included $7 billion in EV infrastructure investments, with a requirement that the charging equipment funded by these investments should maintain at least 97 percent uptime.
The survey concluded by emphasizing the importance of addressing charging availability in multi-unit dwellings, especially in low- to moderate-income communities with a high percentage of renters. It called for the $1.25 billion discretionary funds authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to focus on overcoming this obstacle.
Environmental concerns remained a significant motivating factor for both current EV owners and prospective buyers, with the desire for clean air and a livable climate driving their interest. Cost savings and the use of renewable energy for vehicle charging were also key considerations.
Overall, the survey highlighted the strong enthusiasm among EV consumers, despite the need for improvements in fast-charging infrastructure. As the EV market continues to grow and mature, consumer motivations are expected to evolve beyond environmental concerns and focus increasingly on price competitiveness and other economic incentives.
As the EV industry undergoes rapid development, both public and private stakeholders have the opportunity to address the concerns raised in the survey and contribute to the wider adoption of electric vehicles in the United States.