Electric Hunger: Appetite for electric vehicles higher in the U.S. than Canada, says a new study

Vancouver, British Columbia — Vehicle owners in the United States are more likely to predict that their next car will be electric than their Canadian counterparts, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples of non-electric vehicle owners, 51 percent of American respondents and 42 percent of Canadian respondents say it is “very likely” or “moderately likely” that the next vehicle they acquire for themselves or their household will be electric.

“There is a significant gender gap on both North American countries when it comes to embracing the concept of electric vehicles,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Male non-electric vehicle owners are more likely to foresee an electric car in their future (48 percent in Canada and 68 percent in the United States) than their female counterparts (37 percent in Canada and 30 percent in the United States).”

In Canada, non-electric vehicle owners aged 18 to 34 are more likely to be considering a switch (61 percent) than those aged 35-54 (44 percent) and those aged 55 and over (37 percent).

In the United States, non-electric vehicle owners aged 35-54 are more likely to foresee a change in the future (78 percent) than those aged 18 to 34 (69 percent) and those aged 55 and over (21 percent).

When asked about specific issues that may make the purchase of an electric vehicle less likely, about three-in-five respondents in Canada (61 percent) say that the price is too expensive compared to non-electric options.

A majority of non-electric vehicle owners in Canada are fearful of becoming stranded if they cannot find a charging station (55 percent) and are worried about not having enough places to charge the vehicle in the areas where they usually drive (also 55 percent).

Fewer Canadian non-electric vehicle owners cited not having a place to charge the vehicle where they currently live (47 percent) and the “feel” of the vehicle compared to a non-electric one (14 percent).

In the United States, more than half of non-electric vehicle owners mentioned the fear of becoming stranded (53 percent) and price (51 percent) as the biggest hindrances to making a future purchase. 

More than two-in-five American respondents (45 percent) are concerned about a shortage of places to charge the vehicle where they usually drive, 37 percent lack a charging spot where they currently live, and 27 percent worried about the “feel” of an electric vehicle. 

The idea of the “feel” of the vehicle being a deal-breaker in the purchase of an electric car was more prevalent among non-electric vehicle owners who identify with the Republican Party in the United States (35 percent) and those who reside in the Canadian province of Alberta (23 percent).

Results are based on online studies conducted from September 4 to September 6, 2020, among representative samples of 797 adult non-electric vehicle owners in Canada and 804 adult non-electric vehicle owners in the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region in each country.  The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for each country, 19 times out of 20.

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