A new JD Powers study emphasizes a rift in electric car adoption between present and future drivers. In summary, while environmental reasons were a compelling call to action for the first wave of drivers, new drivers are looking for a faster cost recovery. Overall, 82% of current drivers will say that they “definitely will” or ”probably will” buy another electric car from the same brand.
Green Vs. green- money or environment. According to the study, the first wave of drivers are educated, financially well off and environmentally conscious individuals. For 44% of them the motivation to purchase an electric car stemmed from the need to reduce toxic emissions. While potential drivers don’t sidestep these environmental concerns the majority of them want to save money. 45% of those considering an electric vehicle indicated that they are doing so for fuel saving reasons. Only 11% indicate that environmental concerns are their primary reason. ”Current EV owners focus on the emotional benefits of owning an electric vehicle–which are having a positive effect on the environment–but the way for manufacturers to take EVs to the masses and increase sales is to address the economic equation,” said Neal Oddes, senior director of the green practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “There still is a disconnect between the reality of the cost of an EV and the cost savings that consumers want to achieve.”
Do EVs actually save money? According to current users the answer is yes. On average EV drivers save $147 on fuel monthly, while seing only a minimal $18 increase on their electricity bills. Looking at total cost of ownership the picture gets a bit trickier. As electric cars sell at a premium, it will take an electric car driver between 6-11 years for owners to recoup the premium they paid for going electric. “The payback period is longer than most consumers keep their vehicle,” said Oddes. “The bottom line is that the price has to come down, which requires a technological quantum leap to reduce the battery price. There also needs to be an improvement in the infrastructure, or the number of charging stations outside of the home. Until those two concerns are addressed, EV sales will remain flat.”
What about range anxiety? For potential users limited range seems to be the top operational concern, alongside the availability of public charging. The good news on this front is that while this is a barrier to entry for new drivers, once behind the wheel electric drivers tend to forget about range. According to the study EV drivers travel 34 miles a day, and only 11% of them are concerned that their batteries will run out.