By Kirsten Korosec
May 8, 2018

Demand for electric vehicles is rising in the U.S. with 20% of Americans saying their next vehicle will be an electric car, according to an AAA survey released Tuesday.

The survey results show an increase from 2017 when 15% of Americans said their next vehicle would be electric.

Lower-than-average ownership costs, added safety features, and increased driving ranges are helping steer the trend towards electric vehicles. Specifically, range anxiety—the fear that an electric car battery will run out of power—is beginning to wane, AAA found.

A few takeaways:

  • 58% expressed concern over running out of charge while driving, a 15% decrease from 2017;
  • range anxiety is less of a concern for millennials (48%)
  • about 64% of Generation X and 66% Baby Boomers who were surveyed have range anxiety

The range of an electric car’s battery is not the primary concern of prospective buyers, the survey found. Reliability is the biggest issue, with 92% of those likely to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle stating it is important when evaluating which car to buy.

Some 77% of shoppers said crash ratings were a priority, followed by cost at 71%, acceleration and handling at 69%, and advanced safety technology such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance at 60%.

Still, actual sales of electric vehicles are a fraction of overall vehicle sales in the U.S. Fully electric vehicles are just 0.05% of new car sales overall, according to data from Consumer Reports.

Despite the willingness to buy electric vehicles, headwinds remain. Charging infrastructure will be critical to its widespread adoption, AAA contends, which noted that there are 16,000 charging stations in the United States.

However, its consumer expectations that will also have to adjust. Some 68% Americans said that while out driving, a charging time of no more than 30 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to wait, AAA says.

“Today’s drivers are accustomed to a quick fill up at the corner gas station, but electric vehicle charging can sometimes take several hours,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering said in a statement. “With a little planning, electric vehicle owners can avoid a roadside inconvenience and, as technology improves, charging times will too.”

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