Despite the bad press, half of Americans still want an EV or hybrid

Despite the bad press, half of Americans still want an EV or hybrid

Electric car charging
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  • There is a demand for EV, it looks different today.
  • A new study closely tracks the new habits of EV buyers.
  • Toyota has overtaken Tesla as the most valued brand.

Claims that there is insufficient demand for electric vehicles may be greatly exaggerated.

A new study published Thursday by GBK Collective found that half of the more than 2,000 U.S. car consumers they interviewed are considering an electric or hybrid vehicle for their next car purchase.

This is well above current ownership trends found in the study. Only 14% of those surveyed already own a plug-in or hybrid car. This is further evidence of a huge opportunity for EV manufacturers to meet the needs of consumers interested in this green vehicle.

“These are not the customers that created the original EV market,” GBK President Jeremy Korst told Business Insider.

Most EV and hybrid thinkers are further down the technology adoption curve than EV owners and often buy green options over gas-powered vehicles.

“These are late adopters, and so they’re not driven by innovation or even design,” Korst said. “They have more functional needs and they’re more pragmatic and think about the total cost of ownership in terms of both price and effort, like, ‘How do I pay, how long will it take?’ How long does it take? pick me up?'”

GBK’s findings confirm what car dealers and other industry experts have been telling Business Insider over the past few months. A new wave of EV buyers is hitting the market and the industry doesn’t seem ready to meet their needs.

Toyota could win a new wave of EV buyers

According to GBK’s research, this new wave of EV buyers has an average budget of $50,000 for their next car, compared to an average budget of $59,000 for current EV owners. These buyers also have different priorities for their next vehicle than current EV owners, placing greater importance on environmental impact and savings.

These budget-minded buyers tend to lean more towards older car brands and downgrade Tesla to consider among this group.

Toyota was the top rated brand among the EV thinkers surveyed, with 47% favoring the Japanese automaker and 41% favoring Elon Musk’s Tesla. In third place is Ford, which has increased its EV offerings in the last few years.

It’s another sign that a more pragmatic buyer is taking over the EV segment, Korst said. Toyota’s more hybrid-heavy approach to electric vehicles speaks more directly to this group of consumers entering the market than EV-heavy approaches at other legacy car companies.

Plug-in hybrids ranked very high on the choice lists of those considering EVs in GBK’s study.

“What we see in the data is that the majority of the market is still looking for that bridge,” Korst said. “Maybe that’s why Toyota resonates more in this market.”

Companies can still receive premiums for green cars

While affordability and practicality are high priorities for the next wave of EV buyers, GBK found that these consumers are still willing to shell out more if a battery-powered vehicle meets their other needs.

GBK’s research found that those considering an EV are willing to pay an average of $7,650 more for an EV than a gas-powered car with similar features. Those considering a plug-in hybrid are also willing to pay moreā€”an average of $6,905.

That’s a good thing for the industry, Korst said, even if the premium buyers are willing to pay is down from the early days of rich early adopters.

“We believe the market for battery-powered vehicles is ripe for greater adoption if the industry does the work to listen to consumers and better understand the market,” Korst said.

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