Why U.S. Consumers Balk at Buying Electric Vehicles
Current conditions slowing down acceptance of green mobility rollouts
While pundits proclaim it’s only a matter of time before green-powered vehicles will overtake their fossil-fueled counterparts, projections indicate that’ll happen later than expected.
In 2019, sales of electrical vehicles slid by nearly seven percent from tallies of the previous year, with only 325,000 of them leaving showroom floors in the U.S. This has resulted in a greater scenario of supply exceeding demand since production of plug-in cars actually doubled, including rollouts of 45 new models in that mounting inventory.
Despite the urgency among climate change activists urging consumers to be more eco-friendly when it comes to transportation, electric and hybrid autos totaled a paltry two percent of all vehicles sold in the country last year.
The car rental industry might be paying attention to that environmental initiative, but so far they haven’t altered their own fleets accordingly, despite already making green-friendly vehicles available to consumers. Enterprise, for example, includes the Ford Fusion, Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S in its fleet.
Why aren’t electric vehicle sales rising?
Whether U.S. consumers aren’t entirely buying into climate change claims as a motive for eschewing the green mobility route is a matter of debate, but other reasons are far less disputable. For openers, gas prices still remain stable after several years despite the occasional market fluctuation and are still relatively low enough to discourage thriftier consumers from going eco-friendly.
It also doesn’t help that electric vehicles are still far more expensive than internal-combustion autos. Adding up the figures when it comes to a return on investment on an eco-friendly source of mobility and especially taking fuel costs into account tips the budgetary scales towards purchasing a more conventional vehicle. While federal subsidies and tax credits have helped decrease sticker prices, those grants will be as good as gone this year.
Consumers are also concerned about the lack of electric vehicle infrastructure, especially the availability of charging stations, which are reportedly expensive to install. With very few of these stations available and with the maximum range of a fully-charged electric vehicle battery peaking at around 300 miles, that nervousness is understandable.
And while Tesla easily surpasses the rest of the electric vehicle pack in terms of sales, which spiked by 14 percent in 2019 over results posted the previous year, the company’s promotion of the vehicle signaling a shift in driving lifestyle has created confusion among consumers more reticent to change. In short, many are left wondering what else will be different.
The short answer is easy: For now, not much.