With many of the auto manufacturers making public announcements pledging an all-electric lineup within the next 15 years, the potential landscape beneath a host of industries and our resulting way of life have shifted in an instant. While much remains to be seen around the ultimate timing and penetration of these pledges, the possible implications are breathtaking.

The Harris Poll is conducting a 4-part EV Series that will explore a wide array of insights to better understand America’s attitudes, behaviors, and the overall impact an all-electric auto industry will have on society.

Part 1 explores consumer reaction to OEM EV announcements and gauges whether they have moved the needle in various purchase funnel and reputational measures. Part 2 looks at America’s readiness to accept EV’s, loyalty toward Auto Manufacturers who plan to offer EV, top concerns over EV’s, and finally, openness to trying new technologies/advancements in relation to EVs. Finally, part 3 looks at EV infrastructure as a potential inhibitor or facilitator of EV purchase as well as the impact the future threat of gas shortages as witnessed through the recent cyber attack could have on the same.

While it seems that getting consumers beyond the vehicle-related concerns over EV purchase such as cost of ownership and range anxiety dominates the battle, associated charging infrastructure needs certainly play a role in EV acceptance.

For starters, there is diversity across charging station accessibility awareness in the population and not enough of it overall. Only a third of the public are aware of public charging stations near their home. Women and the elderly seem to be less aware if there are charging stations nearby.

Four in 10 urbanites, gen pop in the west, and those earning $100K+ are aware of public charging stations. Conversely, nearly 6 in 10 gen pop in rural areas have no awareness.

Therefore, there is an opportunity for an app/other means of notifying consumers of charging station location and proximity as well as how much they are being used. This is important as people are most interested in purchasing EVs if charging is close to or in home—especially the older generations.

Half of all Americans and nearly  6 in 10 Urbanites and Millennials would be more likely to consider an electric vehicle if a smartphone app notified them of locations of charging stations in their area.

Further backing up this point, those making less than $75K and those in rural areas are key market segments that currently present a barrier for EV manufacturers.

Directionally speaking most people who own EVs take advantage of home charging. This along with awareness of charging station availability points to the necessity of OEMs partnering with and/or investing in home charging providers and options.

Digging deeper, having a dedicated spot for their automobile and garage for the charging station are important factors in considering EVs for the majority of Americans. Again, OEMs must be part of the charging solution to win over new customers to EVs.

Beyond charging infrastructure considerations, there are other tertiary factors that may impact EV purchase intent in the future. For instance, the cyberattack on the nations largest pipeline that led to major gas shortages on the east coast made a majority of consumers more likely to consider an electric vehicle.

In summary, we have found that several factors can affect the propensity to purchase EVs beyond the traditional concerns over cost and range. In order to back up bold promises to transform their fleets to fully electric, OEMs who will be most successful will be those who also consider the full ecosystem of addressing charging infrastructure needs and other external factors in order to pull along demand for EVs in the future.

For part 2 in this series: The Road to EV: America’s Move to the Electric Vehicle 

Check out the full series along with additional automotive insights.


Greg Paratore

Research Director

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