Exactly.Digital Trends. “Customers are buying electric cars for the distinct driving experience, the convenience of waking up fully charged each morning without ever visiting a gas station, and the desire to make a buying decision with a material environmental impact.” These customers would go electric even if gas was free, he adds. But that is only about 4% of the market.
Luxury is the key word here. The person spending nearly $80,000 on an E-Tron, or over $100,000 on a Porsche Taycan, could afford a tank of gas even if prices spiked to over $6 a gallon (which, by the way, is what many Europeans are paying). For them, going electric is a personal and an environmental choice, not a budget-led decision.
In 2019, an AAA survey found that while environmental concern motivated 74% of would-be EV buyers, 56% cited lower long-term costs as a reason to ditch gas. The problem is 64% of the North American market can't afford a new car over 40,000 and well over 89% worldwide.
Saving on fuel costs is still a component for many EV shoppers. It’s more of a consideration for some than others, but saying it’s a nonissue for all of them isn’t accurate,” Karl Brauer, the executive publisher of AutoTrader and Kelley Blue Book, said. This is especially true in California, where gas tends to be more expensive.
“The bigger issue remains the overall economic outlook,” Brauer says. “Every electric vehicle costs more than its non-EV equivalent, so buying one is always more expensive (with rare exceptions, like my $49-a-month lease on a Fiat 500e that just ended). When unemployment is up, and economic optimism is down, people spend less money. That’s going to impact car sales in general, and higher-cost cars specifically, which is bad news for relatively expensive EVs.” For example, Hyundai asks $20,300 for the gasoline-powered Kona and $37,190 for the electric model. The federal tax credit brings that figure down to about $30,000."but tax credits run out"
We’re not in Norway; the electric car is a niche product in America. Those who argue otherwise either have something to gain from it, are blind, or are overly optimistic. They’ll reach the mainstream eventually, but it’s going to take several years, and until then the segment will stay fragile and heavily dependent only on government incentives. While 2020 won’t kill the electric car, production delays, economic concerns, and stay-at-home orders will slow the technology’s march toward becoming the new normal in the United States.