CHOKEPOINTS

Market expert: Consumer confidence in electric vehicles is on the rise

Jan 20, 2022, 5:52 AM
electric vehicles...
Electric vehicles are displayed before a news conference on April 22, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Car makers are making the move to electric vehicles. States are making the move as well, but the big concerns for consumers continue to get in the way of mass adoption.

Price, charging infrastructure, and range. These are the big three obstacles, and the gap is actually getting closer between electric vehicles and gas-powered cars.

I spoke with Matt Degen, an editor with Kelley Blue Book, this week about the gap, and some findings of a few new studies.

“Range has always been one of the big sticking points with EVs,” Degen said.

Let’s not forget that the first electric cars could get you about 40 miles. The range has been pushing up over 200 miles, and soon there will be standard EVs out there capable of over 300 miles per charge. (Yes, I know there is one that gets close to 500 miles, but it costs over $150,000 so I’m not including it.)

“Americans want more range out of EVs,” Degen said. “They want more range than what has been offered up to now, and the good news is that’s changing fast.”

A new study from Deloitte asked a thousand Americans how far the cars would need to be able go before they invested in an EV. The answer was a shocking 518 miles, which Degen said seemed high.

“The 518 number that they found that was pretty surprising for us too,” he said.

Most drivers want the range they get out of their current gas-powered car, or about 300 miles.

Price has also been a huge issue for getting into the EV market. The average new EV starts at $56,000, though you can certainly buy in at a cheaper price point. That price usually comes down with a nice rebate check. The used EV market is also a good place to start.

But when you consider how inflation has rocked the gas-powered car market, the gap on price is narrowing too.

“Not only are the price of EVs coming down, but keep in mind that new car prices are going up,” Degen said. “The average new car price is over $47,000.”

And as for charging infrastructure: It is coming along, but it’s going to take more time. Degen says I could certainly travel to Bozeman, Montana, and back with an EV, but only if I did some careful planning, like laying out where charging stations are located. He also said I could get an 80% charge in about a half-hour. That was really surprising, and means I could plan our charging stop around lunch.

The other big issue for charging remains at home. Using the normal home power, it could take 20 hours to charge your car, so Degen recommends installing a 220 outlet, like you have for your dryer. That should get you ready overnight.

While I’m not sold yet, I’m glad to see the gaps in those major issues narrowing. Will we all have EVs by 2030? Probably not, but I think we’re closer than a lot of people think.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Market expert: Consumer confidence in electric vehicles is on the rise