COLUMBUS — Forty million Americans say they would likely consider an electric vehicle (EV) for their next car purchase, according to a recent AAA survey. While national interest in electric and hybrid vehicles remains steady, several cities in Ohio have experienced a huge surge in the number of EV purchases and charging stations during the past two years.
Consumers that experience and understand EVs are more likely to adopt them. However, AAA’s survey revealed that consumers may not have a solid understanding of EV performance.
“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “But, like other new technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing a gap between interest and action.”
Smart Columbus Drives Growth in EVs:
In its seven-county Columbus region, Smart Columbus has been working to educate residents and change their perspectives on EVs. During 2017 and 2018, Smart Columbus provided more than 7,600 consumers hands-on experience to test drive electric vehicles through its Ride & Drive Roadshows. Survey results from these events show taking a test drive increases the likelihood consumers will say EVs are “for me.”
“As people learn about EVs, they’re more likely to adopt them,” says Jordan Davis, director of smart cities for The Columbus Partnership/Smart Columbus. “We’ve seen a 121 percent growth in the number of new EV registrations in Columbus since the beginning of 2017. That outpaces the 82 percent expansion in the Midwest region and the 94 percent growth seen in the U.S. during the same period.”
Other Ohio cities have also experienced new EV growth rates exceeding the national and Midwest trends, including Dayton (124 percent), Cleveland (102 percent) and Cincinnati (102 percent), according to an analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation.
EV Purchasing Trends:
When asked why they would likely consider an EV for their next purchase, AAA’s survey found the top reasons include concern for the environment (74 percent) and lower long-term costs (56 percent).
Previous objections to buying electric with regards to price and range anxiety continue to ease and have trended downward significantly.
Concern that there are not enough places to charge – down 11 percent from 2017. (The number of charging ports in central Ohio more than doubled from 267 in 2017 to 607 in 2018.)
Concern about running out of charge when driving – down 11 percent from 2017. (Consumers can now find models on the market with longer ranges than in the past.)
Higher cost of battery repair or replacement – down 8 percent from 2017.
Higher purchase price – down 6 percent from 2017.
Still, only 4 in 10 Americans believe most vehicles will be electric by 2029, compared to more than half that believe most vehicles will be self-driving by that time.
“These vehicles are a big part of the future of transportation, since self-driving cars, when they do arrive, will likely be electric,” said Brannon. The difference, of course, is that electric vehicles are already here and with the advancements in style and range that have been made over the last few years, they have become an even more viable option for many Americans.”
Green Car Guide for Consumers:
To help consumers make informed decisions, each year AAA (Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center) produces its Green Car Guide. This guide rates electric, hybrid and highly fuel efficient cars based on criteria such as ride quality, safety and performance. It also provides detailed reviews of each car tested and robust information on green vehicles.
In 2019, the following earned AAA’s Top Green Car award:
Overall — 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE; Subcompact Car — 2019 Chevy Bold Premier; Compact Car — 2018 Nissan Leaf SL; Midsize Car — 2018 Tesla Model 3 RWD; Large Car — 2018 Tesla Model S P100D; Pickup — 2018 Ford F-150 4×4 Supercrew; SUV/Minivan — 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE; Best Under $30K — 2019 Toyota Camry SE; Best $30K-$50K — 2018 Nissan Leaf SL; and Best Over $50K — 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE.
Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews and an in-depth analysis of the green vehicle industry can be found at AAA.com/GreenCar.
A list of EV models available at Electrified Dealers that have been certified by Smart Columbus in the Columbus region can be found at www.smartcolumbusev.com.
Consumers interested in electric vehicles, but who are still unsure should research and learn as much as possible about these vehicles. AAA also recommends drivers test drive these vehicles. Smart Columbus also offers free test drives of select models at the Smart Columbus Experience Center, located in downtown Columbus. Details available at https://drivesmartcbus.com/checkin.
Additional details on AAA’s survey can be found at Newsroom.AAA.com.