Despite the bad press, half of America is still considering an EV or hybrid — they just want them to be cheaper

Despite the bad press, half of America is still considering an EV or hybrid — they just want them to be cheaper


  • EV demand is out there, it just looks different today.
  • A new study closely tracks new EV shopper habits.
  • Toyota tops Tesla as most-considered brand.

Claims that electric vehicles don’t have enough demand may be overblown.

A new study from GBK Collective, published Thursday, found that half of the more than 2,000 US car consumers they interviewed were considering either an electric or a hybrid car for their next vehicle purchase.

This far outweighs the current ownership trends found in the study. Only 14% of those surveyed already own a plug-in or hybrid vehicle of some kind. It’s another piece of evidence of a huge opportunity for EV manufacturers to home in on the needs of these green car-curious consumers.

“These are not the same kind of customers who created the initial EV market,” GBK President Jeremy Korst told Business Insider in an interview.

Most of the EV and hybrid considerers landed much further down on the technology adoption curve than the EV owners, and are often shopping green options against gas-powered vehicles.

“These are later adopters, and because of that, they’re not as driven by innovation or even design,” Korst said. “They have more functional needs, and they’re much more pragmatic and thinking about the total cost of ownership both in price and in effort, like, ‘how do I charge so what’s that going to take? How much time is it going to take me?'”

GBK’s findings back up what car dealers and other industry experts have been telling Business Insider for the last several months. A new wave of EV shoppers is hitting the market, and the industry appears to be unprepared to meet their needs.

Toyota could win over a new wave of EV shoppers

This new wave of EV shoppers has a median budget of $50,000 for their next vehicle, compared to an average budget of $59,000 for current EV owners, GBK’s study found. These shoppers also have different priorities than current EV owners for their next vehicles, putting more weight on environmental impact and savings.

These budget-minded shoppers are also more partial to legacy car brands, knocking Tesla down the rankings for consideration among this group.

Among the group of EV considerers surveyed, Toyota was the most considered brand, with 47% showing a preference for the Japanese automaker compared to 41% favoring Elon Musk‘s Tesla. In third place was Ford, which has amped up its EV offerings in the last few years.

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

Plug-in hybrids ranked very high on EV considerer’s preference lists in GBK’s study.

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

Companies can still charge a premium for green cars

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

GBK’s study found that EV considerers are willing to pay $7,650 more on average for an EV than a gas-powered car with similar features. Plug-in hybrid considerers are also willing to pay more – $6,905 on average.

That’s a good thing for the industry, Korst said, even if the premium shoppers are willing to pay has come down from the early days of wealthy early adopters.

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


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