US Consumers Grow More “Unlikely” to buy BEVs, J.D. Power

A consumer backlash against being herded into buying electric vehicles appears to be building among US car buyers, according to J.D. Power’s latest study.

While the long-term trend in EV market share has grown from 2.6% of all new-vehicle sales in February 2020 to 8.5% in February 2023, sales have slumped in March, with monthly market share falling to 7.3%. While the study acknowledges that some month-to-month volatility is expected, many new vehicle shoppers are becoming more adamant about their decision to not consider an EV for their next purchase.

The study found that 21% of new car buyers say they are “very unlikely” to consider an EV, up from 18.9% in February and 17.8% in January. Meanwhile, the percentage of auto shoppers who say they are “very likely” to consider an EV is 26.9% and has been largely flat for the past three months. Reasons given include the persistent challenge of poor public charging infrastructure plus the sheer forecourt price of an EV against that for an equivalent ICE powered vehicle.

Price and poor infrastructure

J.D. Power’s E-Vision Intelligence Report suggests a stubborn stability in these two reasons consumers provide for sticking with ICE vehicles. These objections have been the top two concerns for the past 10 months, along with related issues involving range anxiety, time required to charge and power outage and grid concerns.

While the majority of older Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers aren’t considering EVs, 33% of the age group seen as the future buyers, Gen Z shoppers, say they’re “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to spend money on an EV. Also, the report highlights consumer confusion over tax breaks instigated by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) promoting US made products over imports. This criteria introduced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which limit tax credits on the sale of new EVs based on details of the chemical composition of their batteries, will reduce the affordability of EVs, potentially limiting future sales.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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