The level of skepticism around EVs looks to be declining.
Once automakers had figured out how to make a practical electric vehicle with a decent range, they started doing something else: making them desirable. Other EVs like the decade-old Nissan Leaf sold well, but they haven't always gotten our pulses racing. Tesla played a big role in enhancing the image of EVs, but with cars like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Nissan Ariya, Elon Musk's company is no longer the only producer of pretty zero-emissions cars.
In a new nationwide study of 3,392 licensed drivers by Consumer Reports, it's clear that EVs are increasingly finding favor, with 71 percent of US drivers now saying they'd consider switching to electric power.
What's interesting is that despite only 30% of respondents saying that they didn't know much about EVs, a bigger group remains interested in getting behind the wheel. In fact, close to a third of those surveyed would consider buying an EV as their next vehicle. Unsurprisingly, range anxiety and access to charging stations were two main barriers to EV ownership, but with modern EVs beginning to surpass 500 miles of range, these aspects are no longer as concerning as they once were.
Approximately half of the drivers surveyed indicated that a range of over 300 miles should meet their requirements. Outside of range, an EV's purchase price and a lack of knowledge about these vehicles were also mentioned as barriers to ownership.
Other interesting nuggets from the survey indicate that over a third of drivers think that federal and state governments should make it mandatory for automakers to sell EVs, while 60% unsurprisingly were supportive of incentives to bring the vehicle cost down. Interestingly, despite concerns about public charging infrastructure, the agency found that an EV with 250 miles of range can receive over 90% of its charging at home.
"These results show that there is robust consumer interest in electric vehicles," said CR's senior sustainability policy analyst, Chris Harto. "But consumers need automakers to deliver more compelling choices at competitive prices."