US EV market 'not meeting' consumer expectations

Consumers want cheaper and smaller EVs, survey finds

US EV market 'not meeting' consumer expectations
Range remains a major concern for many consumers

Sizeable gaps remain between US consumers’ critical EV purchase considerations and the actual vehicles available for purchase, according to a 2024 EV sentiment survey conducted by auto research firm Edmunds.

Price, vehicle type and driving range were the key areas in which the market reality did not reach consumer expectations. 

“New consumer survey results from Edmunds on consideration of electric vehicles illustrate a significant mismatch between car shopper preferences and the realities of today's EV market that could be reflective of current market challenges,” says the report.

On price, 47pc of those thinking about purchasing an EV say they are seeking an EV purchase below $40,000, and 22pc are interested in EVs priced below the $30,000 threshold.

But currently there are only four EV models available below the $40,000 mark — the Mini Hardtop 2 Door, Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e and Hyundai Kona Electric — and none available below $30,000.

According to Edmunds data, the average transaction price of an EV was $61,702 in 2023, while all other vehicles stood at $47,450. 

“It is worth noting that the consumers who are most comfortable with the idea of purchasing a new EV [young people] might also not be in a financial position to afford one,” says the report.

On body type, 43pc of those interested in buying an EV are interested in a car purchase, 42pc would consider an SUV/crossover and only 10pc would consider a truck.

But the electric truck market appears bloated with too many vehicles on offer, targeting a small segment of consumers.

"[The market already offers] the Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV, Tesla Cybertruck, with possibly the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV and Ram 1500 Rev arriving in the not-so-distant future,” notes the report.

When asked their desired range for an EV they would consider purchasing, 46pc of consumers said they were comfortable with 200 miles or less. Some 24pc said they were comfortable with 99 miles or less.

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Although 200 miles is a target easily met by the vast majority of EV models on the market today, the significant percentage of respondents who indicated they were comfortable with a range below 100 miles signals: “a potential knowledge gap surrounding realistic range expectations”, according to Edmunds.

“The electric vehicle market is growing, but consumers have enough reservations about the current options and charging infrastructure challenges to limit more significant growth in the short term,” the report concludes. 

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