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Electric car interest remains high in a truck world

Nissan Leaf at a fast-charge station (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

Light trucks, including everything from crossovers to pickups, accounted for almost 61 percent of vehicle sales in March, according to Autodata Corporation. Which kind of makes sense since gas prices are about 40 percent lower than they were 5 years ago.

Interestingly, even though truck sales are continuing to grow, people are still showing an interest in electric cars as well.

According to a new AAA study, more than 30 million Americans are likely to buy an electrified vehicle for their next car.


Primary reasons for this purchase include:

  • Concern for the environment (87%)
  • Lower long-term costs (62%)
  • Cutting-edge technology (52%)
  • Car pool lane access (29%)

Additionally, the study reveals 70 percent of the people surveyed rated fuel economy as an important factor in selecting a vehicle – on par with cost, crash test data and performance.


Other key findings:

Level of interest in electrified vehicles remains unchanged since 2012. Even though gas prices have gone down and passenger car sales are in the pits, people are just as interested in EVs today as they were 5 years ago. One in six Americans are likely to buy an electric car for their next purchase, and one in three are likely to buy a hybrid.

Millennials are the most likely generation to buy an EV or hybrid. The study showed that 18 percent of Millennials surveyed would likely consider an electric vehicle and 40 percent would consider a hybrid.

Range anxiety is real. Nearly 70 percent of respondents cited concerns related to the number of charging stations and running out of a charge while driving. Even though Millennials are the most likely to consider an EV, 62 percent of those surveyed were concerned with running out of a charge.


OUR TAKE

Electric cars aren’t going away, and these days many of them are quieter, faster and more technologically advanced than their gasoline counterparts. So, why wouldn’t you want one? Oh. Yeah. That whole range anxiety thing.

Infrastructure is still a huge drawback, and as we discovered during the Chevrolet Bolt EV launch, automakers themselves seem to have an attitude that if they build great electric cars, then the infrastructure will follow.

But when?


Right now, if I wanted to drive from Chicago to Detroit or Indianapolis in an electric car, I couldn’t do it because of a lack of mid-point charging stations. So, until the charging infrastructure is as prolific as gasoline fuel-up stations, the EV culture will be limited to those who own more than one car or rarely take road trips.

The in-between solution: plug-in hybrids. You’ll get 25 to 50 miles of electric-only range, depending on the vehicle, and then flip to hybrid mode after the charge runs out. Range anxiety not included.

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