What Potential EV Buyers Really Want

By: Keith Wagstaff · April 19, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

EV Sales Slow Down

Consumers are hitting the brakes on buying electric vehicles. While demand is still going up, sales rose only 2.7% in the first quarter of 2024, compared to a whopping 47% the same time last year.

Tesla (TSLA), which accounts for about half of EV sales in the United States, is having a particularly rough year. This week, news broke that the carmaker plans to cut 10% of its workforce.

So how can electric vehicle makers boost sales? They might want to start with giving consumers what they want.

Consumers Think EVs are Too Expensive

In the U.S. market, only the Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, Mini Hardtop 2 Door, and Hyundai Kona Electric have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, under $40,000. But according to a recent survey from Edmunds, 47% of consumers are looking for an electric vehicle that costs less than that amount.

Per the same survey, 22% of consumers want an EV that costs less than $30,000, a price point that no automaker currently meets.

Younger people are the most interested in buying an EV. But they also have less disposable income than older generations. That means EV manufacturers might be pricing out the consumers who are most willing to go electric.

Not Into Pickup Trucks

Tesla’s Cybertruck hit U.S. streets this year. But potential EV buyers aren’t very interested in pickup trucks. The Edmunds poll found that among consumers who are willing to buy an EV, 43% were interested in a car and 42% wanted an SUV or crossover.

Only 10% would consider an all-electric pickup truck, despite the fact there are several on the market, including the Cybertruck, Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T, and GMC Hummer EV.

Confusion Over Battery Reach

When asked for an ideal range, meaning how far an EV can go on a full battery, nearly a quarter said they were OK with a vehicle that could travel 99 miles or less. Most EVs, however, easily surpass 200 miles, which could mean consumers might not understand how advanced battery technology has become.

Aside from an apparent need for more education around the technology powering EVs, the bottom line is this: Consumers want less expensive electric cars, SUVs, and crossovers.

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