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CARB Asks, “Why buy electric vehicles?” – Survey Results

Electric vehicles are great, but we knew that already
Electric vehicles are great, but we knew that already

We all know what’s so great about electric vehicles, because they’re so clean and fun to drive, right?

As the undisputed home of the electrified vehicle, including plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery (BEV) electric vehicles, California seems like it would be the best place to ask why people buy them.  CARB (California Air Resources Board) went ahead and asked the question to nearly ten thousand owners and lessees of electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, and Nissan Leaf, to name a few, and the results are interesting. The entire results are in the interactive CARB data.

Overall, electric vehicles are attractive to drivers because they can save a lot of money on refueling and reduce the amount of pollutants their daily commute puts into the atmosphere. Of the ≈10,000 respondents, 37% cited fuel savings as their motivation for purchasing, and 21% cited environmental impact. I suspect the other 15%, who cited HOV lane access, are heavy commuters, and access to the HOV lanes makes their daily commutes less of a burden.

Interestingly, the other 27% of electric vehicle buyers cited other reasons for their purchase or lease, including increased energy independence, desire for the latest technology, simply to support the diffusion of electric vehicles, or the ever-elusive fun-to-drive quotient. Seeing that electric vehicles have such great qualities, what is it that keeps them from overtaking the market? I suppose it has to be the same old three complaints, price, range, and recharging, yet it’s still very interesting that the UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists) calculate that nearly half the country could switch over without making any significant changes to their driving habits.

Image © California Air Resources Board

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