Electric Vehicle Buying Interest Declines for First Time Since 2021: Report

There was a markedly lower interest in EVs among people buying their first car compared with people who already had a vehicle.
Electric Vehicle Buying Interest Declines for First Time Since 2021: Report
A 2024 Tesla all-wheel-drive vehicle sits in the display room at a Tesla dealership in Phoenix, Ariz., on Feb. 1, 2024. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times).
Naveen Athrappully

American consumer interest in buying electric vehicles (EVs) dipped over the past year because of concerns about charging facilities and high purchase prices, according to a recent study by automotive data and analytics firm J.D. Power.

This year, 24 percent of surveyed shoppers said they were “very likely” to consider buying an EV, down from 26 percent a year ago. In addition, 58 percent said they were “overall likely” to purchase an EV, a decline from 61 percent in 2023.

“For the first time since the study’s inception in 2021, new-vehicle buyer consideration has dropped from the previous year,” the report read.

Among shoppers who said they were “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to consider buying an EV, 52 percent cited a lack of charging station availability for their answer. This was an increase of 3 percentage points over the past year and made vehicle charging the top concern among EV shoppers.

Other reasons for rejecting electric variants include high purchase price, long charging times, limited driving distance per charge, and the inability to charge at home or at work.

Earlier, drivers who drove more miles were found to be more likely to consider buying an EV. But in the recent report, the trend has reversed amid falling fuel prices and rising anxiety about charging. Among consumers who commute 46 to 60 minutes a day each way, only 24 percent said that they were “very likely” to consider an EV for purchase, down 13 percentage points from last year.

The study also found a difference in EV preference based on whether the consumers intended to buy their first car or an additional one.

Sixty-eight percent of consumers looking to add an extra vehicle to their household said they were “overall likely” to consider getting an EV. In contrast, only 47 percent of shoppers who plan to rely solely on the purchased vehicle for transportation said the same.

“Without a second vehicle, shoppers tend to be more critical of the logistics related to EV ownership,” J.D. Power stated.

Stewart Stropp, executive director of EV intelligence at J.D. Power, said: “The main roadblocks to getting consumers behind the wheel of an EV are the continued shortage of affordable vehicles, charging concerns, and a lack of knowledge regarding the EV ownership proposition, including incentives.

“As understanding of EV incentives rises, so does the likelihood of consideration. However, approximately 40 percent of shoppers say they do not have a solid understanding of such incentives. Prioritizing initiatives and efforts to educate consumers about the EV proposition—including available incentives and how they work—is vital to accelerating market growth.”

Lower gas prices, high interest rates, elevated inflation rates, and limited growth in EV model availability also contributed to waning demand for electric vehicles, J.D. Power stated.

Mr. Stropp noted that several automakers have deferred production and launch plans for EVs, shifting their focus more toward hybrids and plug-in hybrids. As such, many shoppers are unable to find EVs that fulfill their list of requirements.

Transitioning the US Toward EVs

The report comes as the Biden administration pushes ahead with its aim to transition the United States’ vehicle industry toward electrification. In 2021, President Joe Biden outlined a plan to have 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States by 2030 be fully electric or at least plug-in hybrids.

On March 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final pollution standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032 and beyond.

The agency said the vehicle industry can meet the new standards by ensuring that 56 percent of new vehicle sales by 2032 are electric and at least 13 percent of sales are plug-in hybrids or other partially electric cars.

The EPA claimed that the new standards will avoid more than 7 billion tons of carbon emissions and offer nearly $100 billion worth of annual net benefits to society.

“With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, these strongest-ever pollution standards for cars solidify America’s leadership in building a clean transportation future and creating good-paying American jobs, all while advancing President Biden’s historic climate agenda,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.

Former President Donald Trump has criticized the Biden administration’s EV transition plan.

Speaking to current and former members of the United Auto Workers in September 2023, the former president warned that the Biden administration’s EV policies would end U.S. auto jobs, which will be shipped off to China, Mexico, and other foreign countries.

“I want a future that protects American labor, not foreign labor,” he said.

During a rally in March, he said that “Mexico has taken, over a period of thirty years, 34 percent of the automobile manufacturing business in our country.”

China is building massive plants in Mexico that will manufacture vehicles with the intention to sell them in the United States while paying no tax at the border, the Republican candidate stated.

“We’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going to be able to sell those cars if I get elected,” President Trump said.

President Biden recently announced that tariffs on Chinese EVs would be raised from 25 to 100 percent in a bid to protect the U.S. auto sector from cheap imports from China.

“It’s the classic—China distorts all the other markets, and then they export their stuff into the United States in those import surges,” Nazak Nikakhtar, assistant secretary for industry and analysis at the Department of Commerce during the Trump administration, told The Epoch Times.

Meanwhile, more than 5,000 American car dealerships are opposing President Biden’s EV push, criticizing the EPA’s final pollution standards for model years 2027–2032.

“[Those regulations] would require an increase in sales of electric vehicles that is far beyond the consumer interest we are experiencing at our dealerships. Despite generous government, manufacturer, and dealer incentives, our customers continue to bypass EVs over concerns about affordability, charging infrastructure, performance in cold weather, and resale value,” a website that allows dealers to sign letters against the EV push states.

“This EV mandate is not the result of an open Congressional debate. This is unelected Washington bureaucrats dictating what kind of vehicles Americans can buy.”

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.