Consumers are more likely to believe most new vehicles will be autonomous than electric by 2029, according to a AAA study. 
 -  Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.

Consumers are more likely to believe most new vehicles will be autonomous than electric by 2029, according to a AAA study.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.

AAA's latest survey reveals that despite many Americans having interest in electric vehicles, when asked if most vehicles will be electric by 2029, only four in 10 said yes. Yet a separate study AAA conducted earlier this year found that more than half of Americans believe that in this same timeframe, most cars will have the ability to drive themselves — a reality that is much less likely to happen.

AAA analysts concluded that, similar to other emerging technologies, a lack of knowledge and experience may be contributing to the slow adoption of electric vehicles despite Americans' desire to go green.

"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 vehicle technologies, Americans don't have the full story, and that could be causing the gap between interest and action."

AAA's annual survey that tracks opinions regarding electric and hybrid vehicles found that while consumer interest remains steady, Americans may not have a solid understanding of electric vehicle performance, which may be giving consumers pause when it comes to considering electric for their next purchase.

For instance, electric vehicles, unlike those running on gas, do better in stop-and-go traffic because the car can recapture energy to charge the battery when decelerating. However, AAA's survey found that a majority of Americans (59%) were unsure of whether electric vehicles have better range when driving at highway or city speeds. This demonstrates that many consumers are not sure what to expect from an electric vehicle in two of the most common driving scenarios.

Although most Americans don't believe electric vehicles will be on the road in masses in the next 10 years, AAA did find that 40 million Americans say they would be likely to consider an electric vehicle for their next car purchase, with millennials leading the pack.

Concern for the environment and lower long-term costs remain the leading reasons to go green (74% and 56%, respectively). Previous objections to buying electric with regard to price and range anxiety continue to ease and have trended downward significantly:

  • Concern that there are not enough places to charge: down 11% from 2017
  • Concern about running out of charge when driving: down 11% from 2017
  • Higher cost of battery repair or replacement: down 8% from 2017
  • Higher purchase price: down 6% from 2017

"These vehicles are a big part of the future of transportation, since self-driving cars, when they do arrive, will likely be electric," Brannon said. "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."

Editor's note: This story first appeared on Auto Dealer Today, a companion publication of Bobit Business Media.

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