Are Electric Vehicles the Future? A New Study From Volvo Says Yes

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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A new study conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Volvo Car USA finds that 74% of American drivers think electric vehicles are the future of driving. This finding is one of many contained in “The State of Electric Vehicles in America,” the latest in a series of reports by Harris and Volvo that seeks to measure consumer sentiment about the changing automotive and mobility landscape.

Naturally, this is good news for Volvo. The automaker has already committed to electrifying its entire product lineup, and the company says that by 2025 half of its sales will be fully electric vehicles. If the 1,510 American adults* surveyed by Harris in October of 2018 are to be believed, EVs are inevitable.

Range Anxiety, Charging Station Infrastructure Are Biggest Concerns

White Volvo XC40 T5 PHEV plugged in to a charging station
Running out of power and finding a place to recharge an electric car are the biggest impediments to EV ownership, according to people who do not own one. These remain concerns for EV owners, too. (Volvo)

 

Adoption of EVs is dependent on the elimination of range anxiety, which describes the fear of running out of power. When asked why they might not choose an EV, non-EV drivers cited this as the top reason (58%) followed by concern about charging station availability (49%).

According to the report, non-EV drivers would be more likely to buy an EV:

  • If there were more charging stations (61%)
  • If they were the same price as a traditional vehicle (57%)
  • If the government offered financial incentives (41%)
  • If they could try it for 30 days before buying it (40%)
  • If they could switch to a manufacturer-provided gas or hybrid car when necessary (32%)
  • If they could charge the car wirelessly (29%)
  • If the styling looked similar to traditional vehicles (26%)

Among EV drivers, the most often cited reason for not getting another one was price (40%). However, even though they own an EV and 65% of them claim that the feeling of range anxiety subsides after a few months, running out of power is the second most frequently given reason for not getting another EV (38%) followed by charging station availability (30%).

Environmentalism Tied With Cost Savings as Primary EV Benefit

Electric Vehicle Drivers and Environmentalism
All drivers in the study, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Volvo Car USA, said that a top benefit of owning an electric vehicle is the positive environmental impact. (Volvo)

 

Among all drivers in the study, 59% reported that a top benefit of owning an EV is having a positive environmental impact, in a tie with cost savings from not buying gasoline.

In fact, Harris and Volvo found that respondents think driving an EV makes a more positive impact than if they recycle (49%), switch to paperless billing (48%), or use smart home technology to regulate energy use (44%).

Among EV drivers, however, environmental impact takes a back seat to cost savings. This subset of survey respondents also claims to have plenty of fun while driving their EVs, describing the experience as “thrilling.” The study also finds:

  • 72% of EV drivers like to gamify their vehicle’s efficiency
  • 55% of EV drivers will never go back to a gas vehicle
  • 38% of EV drivers are car enthusiasts who are passionate about their EVs

This interest in environmentalism is not lost on Volvo. The company recently announced that by 2025, 25% of all the plastic used in the construction of its vehicles would be from recycled material.

Clearly, electric vehicles are the future. Not only that, companies like Volvo are looking for ways to make their products more environmentally friendly, while continual public infrastructure improvements make more charging stations, and faster charging stations, available to support the coming change from gasoline to electricity.

Will that be enough to convince people to finally switch to an EV? Based on the study, if there’s a coffee shop with Wi-Fi (42% want this) or a fitness facility (32% want this) nearby, the answer is a solid “maybe.”

Eh, give people a few more years. They’ll come around.

* Survey respondents included 1,260 people who do not drive EVs and 250 people who do.


About the Author

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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