Survey: Consumers keen on EV purchases, though cost remains a barrier
- Even though electric vehicle (EV) adoption remains low, a new survey from consultants McKinsey & Company shows half of respondents would consider buying a battery electric or hybrid vehicle for their next car. Cost remains a major concern, with more than 60% of those surveyed saying they wouldn’t pay a premium for an EV.
- The survey, which focused on upcoming automotive technology, found that 46% of respondents feel good about using an autonomous vehicle (AV). That number rises to 50% for respondents below the age of 50, and 58% for those who live in big cities.
- The responses also showed more enthusiasm for alternative mobility options — among those who did not own a car, 36% said car-sharing was the primary reason for the decision, up 18 percentage points from 2017. More than 60% of respondents under the age of 30 said they would trade their cars for an AV taxi service, and 27% would do so even if the total cost were equal or higher than the cost of owning a car.
The survey makes clear that there’s enthusiasm for new and emerging technologies, especially among younger consumers. Even though the market for EVs has remained stubbornly small, in large part due to cost and concerns about battery range, there is growing interest. The U.S. recently crossed the 1 million EV mark, and automakers are focusing more attention on producing fully electric vehicles.
Even though the White House has threatened to pull back an EV tax credit, industry observers are still bullish. At a recent forum hosted by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), General Motors' Vice President of North American Policy Dan Turton said "the reality is, this electrification movement is going forward anyway."
"It’s not one thing that’s going to make it happen or not. It’s just whether something makes it proceed or mature more quickly or not,” he added. Still, among the three markets in the survey — the US, Germany and China — the U.S. had the highest percentage of respondents (73%) who said they would consider a gasoline car as their next purchase.
The responses around AVs reflects the mixed enthusiasm among the public, although McKinsey notes that the response level is unchanged from 2017 despite some negative coverage due to crashes. In fact, customers said that automakers’ response to the crashes actually raised their confidence in the technology.
The forecasts of shifts in consumer behavior around mobility means companies "must adapt quickly to stay in the game," McKinsey’s report says.
- McKinsey & Company Profiling tomorrow’s trendsetting car buyers
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