Most Americans Remain On Sidelines Regarding Electric Cars

Most Americans Remain On Sidelines Regarding Electric Cars
An employee of the Ford Motor Company makes his way to work following the company's announcement to build future electric cars in Cologne, Germany, on Feb. 17, 2021. (Oliver Berg/Pool via Reuters)
Naveen Athrappully

A considerable number of U.S. citizens still do not consider electric vehicles a good, practical choice, according to a recent survey by Rasmussen Reports.

“Only 28 percent of American Adults believe electric cars today are practical for most drivers. Fifty-four percent think electric cars aren’t practical, while 18 percent say they’re not sure. Those findings are little changed from March,” Rasmussen said in an Aug. 31 post discussing the latest survey results, noting that people are slightly more skeptical. In the March survey, 32 percent said electric cars are practical, 52 percent found them impractical, and 16 percent were unsure.

In the recent survey, 54 percent of both men and women found electric cars impractical. Politically, 66 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents, and 46 percent of Democrats shared such a view. Racially, 56 percent of whites, 51 percent of blacks, and 48 percent of Hispanics consider these vehicles not practical for most drivers.

Rasmussen posted part of the survey results in a tweet alongside a link to a news article about California's power grid operator asking residents not to charge their electric vehicles as high temperatures pushed up energy demand and tightened power supplies. “Great poll topic timing today, right?” Rasmussen said in the tweet.
In a May survey that included 13,000 people from 18 countries, Americans were found to be less likely than other nationalities to buy electric cars.
While 73 percent of Italian car buyers, 69 percent of Chinese, and 63 percent of South Koreans were committed to buying an EV, just 29 percent of Americans agreed to it.

EV Challenges

According to the Deloitte 2022 Global Automotive Study, U.S. customers are less interested in EVs due to concerns about cost and range.

The study found the range of the vehicle to be the top concern among American respondents who expected an EV to travel 500 miles on a charge. This is something that is only available in an EV model manufactured by Lucid Air that costs at least $139,000.

Charging infrastructure is another challenge to EV adoption. To serve its EV drivers, Norway installed 313 charging stations for every 100,000 individuals. At present, the United States only has 30 charging stations per 100,000 people. To be on par with Norway, America would need to build more than a million more charging stations.

There are also questions about the usability of EVs, particularly during a catastrophe when the energy infrastructure is compromised.

For instance, the charging time for an electric vehicle is significantly longer than filling up a gas vehicle, making parking space at gas stations an issue.

In 2020, a research team looked at how EVs would have performed when Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017. Their simulation found that the use of EVs would pose significant challenges during evacuation.

“When the exodus reached inland Florida and batteries are depleted, the power service companies there would face enormous electricity pressure, and the EV power demand would rapidly exceed their safety margins,” the team’s report said.

Some power companies were estimated to experience a power shortage of 400 megawatts to 1000MW. As a result, only 35 to 45 percent of vehicles would receive power, with the remaining receiving no charge.