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Survey suggests majority of Americans say concerns over charging logistics kept them from buying an electric car

01 July 2022, Lower Saxony, Hanover: An Enercity employee stands with a charging cable for a Renault Zoe electric car at a fast-charging point in a new charging park.

Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • US adults identified charging logistics as a top barrier to EV adoption in a Consumer Reports survey.
  • Americans also said cost and range anxiety could deter them from buying an electric car.
  • Last year, one in five EV owners in California switched back to gas over charging issues.

The majority of Americans recently surveyed earlier this year by Consumer Reports identified charging logistics as the primary barrier to electric car adoption.

61% of the survey respondents who said they were not entirely sold on buying an electric car said that the logistics of EV charging availability — including when and where to charge the vehicle — would prevent them from buying or leasing an electric car.

The survey was released on Thursday. Respondents said EV range and the cost of buying an electric car could also pose a major barrier. Though, the polled Americans seemed less concerned with being able to fix the car or how it would perform in cold weather.

Increasing charging infrastructure is a top priority for US President Joe Biden. In June, the Biden Administration proposed a $7.5 billion investment in a national network of 500,000 EV charging stations. But, the current number of charging stations in the US is far from ideal. According to the US Department of Energy, there are just over 56,000 public EV charging stations in the country to date.

Consumer Reports is not the first to identify charging logistics and driving range as primary deter rants for US drivers. Last year, Insider’s Dominick Reuter reported that one in five EV owners in California switched back to gas because charging posed too much of a hassle.

Electric car drivers have reported similar concerns. In June, a reporter from The Wall Street Journal took an electric car on a 2,000 mile road trip and found that charging availability, as well as the speed of EV chargers, added hours to her trip.

Consumer Reports surveyed over 8,000 US adults to measure consumer interest in buying an electric car. The poll took place between January 27 and February 18 — a time when the average gas price was under $4 per gallon, per AAA.

The organization found that about 71% of Americans surveyed would consider buying an electric car, though only about 36% of survey respondents said they would definitely buy or lease one or at least “seriously consider” getting an electric car. 

“The survey shows that there is clear interest among Americans in reducing costs for transportation and lowering their environmental impact,” Quinta Warren, the organization’s associate director of sustainability policy, said in a press release. “It underscores some key concerns, but fortunately, many of these barriers to owning a battery-electric vehicle EV can be addressed through experience and education.”

In March, Insider’s Tim Levin reported that interest in buying electric cars was on the rise due to surging gas prices. Since, fuel prices have spiked as high as a national average over $5 per gallon.

In June, Bloomberg reported that a growing number of Uber drivers were also making the switch to electric cars. One Uber driver told the publication she switched her Toyota Camry for a Tesla Model 3 and ended up saving $15o a week.

“Most EVs are less expensive to own than similar traditional cars,” Warren said in the release. “Even when factoring a higher purchase price for a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle.” 

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