New EVs raise consumer interest but skeptics remain, J.D. Power study finds

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

With a number of new electric vehicles entering the U.S. market, auto shoppers are more likely than ever to consider going electric, according to a J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration Study released Thursday.

In this year's study, the percentage of shoppers who say they are "very likely" to consider an EV for their next purchase or lease went up four percentage points from last year to 24%. The introduction of new electric models is a primary reason for the increased consumer interest, J.D. Power found, but automakers still need to do more to get people in EVs to test them out and increase consideration. 

The Cadillac Lyriq is among the new electric vehicle offerings that are tempting some car shoppers.

Over the past year, there have been several new EV entries available for order, including the Cadillac Lyriq crossover, Ford F-150 Lightning, the Kia EV6 and the Volkswagen ID.4.

"Though the study findings show a shift in favor of EVs, about 76% of new-vehicle shoppers say they are not ‘very likely’ to consider buying one," said Stewart Stropp, senior director of automotive retail at J.D. Power, in a statement. "With new EV model introductions coming at a rapid pace, automakers must continue their efforts to persuade more shoppers to give these vehicles a try."

While electric vehicles remain a tiny part of U.S. sales, their market share is growing. Less than 1% of vehicles on U.S. roads are electric, but sales have increased steadily as more models become available and as gas prices have surged in February and March because of Russia's war in Ukraine. In the first quarter of this year, EV market share was 4.2% of total U.S. automobile sales, up from 1.9% in the first quarter of 2021, according to Inc., a vehicle information website. 

The U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration Study, now in its second year, measured responses of 10,030 consumers received from February through April 2022. The study includes reviewing overall EV consideration by geography, demographics, vehicle experience and use, lifestyle and psychographics. It also includes model-level consideration details such as cross-shopping and “why buy” findings, and an analysis of why EVs are rejected. 

The study found that 27% of shoppers who own their home say they are "very likely to consider” an EV compared with 17% of those who rent. 

Firsthand experience with EVs plays an important role in purchase consideration, with just 11% of respondents who've had no personal experience at all with EVs saying they are “very likely” to consider an EV. That proportion more than doubles to 24% among new-vehicle shoppers who have been a passenger in an EV and goes up to 34% for those who have driven an EV. And 48% of current EV owners say they are “very likely” to consider another EV for their next vehicle purchase.

Other key findings:

  • EV consideration is still higher for premium buyers: 37% of premium vehicle owners say they are "very likely" to consider an EV for their next purchase versus 21% for those who own mass-market vehicles.
  • EV consideration is on the rise for mass-market vehicle owners:  The year-over-year increase of those that they are “very likely” to consider an EV is up six percentage points among owners of mass-market vehicles.
  • More information increases consideration: The study backs last year's findings that a lack of information on EVs is a key factor in shoppers’ rejection of them. Nearly one-third, 30%, of rejecters cite a lack of information as a reason for not considering an EV. 
  • EV consideration by geographic location: 31% of those in the West say they are “very likely” to consider an EV. Surprisingly, the South at 26% tops the Northeast  at 22% of those who say they are “very likely” to consider an EV. The North Central consideration rate is also 22%.
  • Legacy automakers turn in strong showing: Owners of numerous mass-market brands express an increased interest in EVs from a year ago.