Consumers Faltering On EVs Despite Widespread Availability

Adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has dropped to its lowest level since August 2021, according to the J.D. Power EV index. The index showed that while consumer interest in EVs is waning, availability is “the highest it’s ever been.”

The 2024 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration study, released last month, showed the first-ever drop in the number of shoppers considering an EV for a new purchase. Last year, 26% of shoppers were “very likely” to consider purchasing an EV, but this year, only 24% said the same. Only 58% of consumers were “overall likely,” to consider an EV this year (down from 61%).

Other polling is even less optimistic about consumers’ interest in EVs. Only 44% of consumers in an April 2024 Gallup poll were “seriously considering or might consider buying an EV.”

According to Stewart Stropp, executive director of EV intelligence at J.D. Power: “The main roadblocks to getting consumers behind the wheel of an EV are the continued shortage of affordable vehicles, charging concerns and a lack of knowledge regarding the EV ownership proposition, including incentives.” 

Despite billions of dollars of well-advertised incentives, including the tax breaks and subsidies of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), consumers aren’t warming toward EVs. In fact, “other factors contributing to waning EV demand include… stubborn inflation and high interest rates.” Funny how a so-called “inflation reduction” law packed with uncapped subsidies, set to double or triple its initial cost estimates, has inflationary consequences for consumers—even those trying to take advantage of its EV perks. 

Shoppers increasingly cited the unavailability of charging stations as a key reason they are “unlikely” to consider an EV, alongside high purchase prices, limited driving distance per charge, and long times to charge. Notably, drivers with longer commutes are less likely to consider an EV than those with shorter commutes. 

One might think that the government could step in to fix unavailability of charging stations but the Federal Highway Administration is already bungling a $7.5 billion rollout. Of the 500,000 chargers to be built by 2030, only eight have been installed across four states as of last month. Consider that the U.S. already has 183,000 charging stations built overwhelmingly by the private sector.

The study also found that consumers who would be adding another vehicle to their household are more likely to consider an EV (68% of shoppers) than those who would be relying on only one vehicle (47% of shoppers). For those consumers who can only afford to purchase one vehicle and need it to be reliable, EVs are out of reach. Other polling shows that upper-income consumers are the most likely to own or consider an EV.

Consumers ought to be free to purchase the kind of vehicle that best fits their circumstances—and polling suggests that most prefer to eschew EVs.

This piece was originally published at Independent Women’s Forum on June 19, 2024: