Average EV driver is a well-educated and affluent white male
New study digs into the demographics of electric vehicle drivers.
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Photo: Melissa Hincha-Ownby
The Electric Vehicle Information Exchange (EVIX) conducted a survey of 970 panelists and concluded that the average electric vehicle (EV) driver in the United States is a well-educated, affluent white male. The survey, which was conducted over a six-week period between July and September 2012, queried panelists in three categories: EV drivers, people interested in EVs and individuals not interested in owning or purchasing an EV.
Since 2010, more than 60,000 electric vehicles have been purchased or leased. There are about one dozen plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles (BEV) on the market today, but EV adoption rates are low. Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit and various other incentives available, the market is not growing as rapidly as automakers had expected. A look at the EVIX survey data may provide some insight into the slow adoption rates.
According to EVIX, the profile of participants in the EV driver group includes the following characteristics:
- Well-educated, upper-middle class white men in their early 50s
- Four-year or greater degree and make well over six figures annually
- Last of boomers and first of Generation X
- Over half live in the West and about one-quarter live in the South
- Most drive a full battery electric, and the BEV is their primary vehicle
- More than half are still looking for a new vehicle
- Energy independence was the primary reason for interest in EVs
- One-third use home solar or wind generation
The interested in EVs group is slightly younger and less affluent, however individuals in this group still earn about twice the national annual median income of $51,914. Interested panelists include more females than the EV driver group, but men still dominate the category. Although the individuals in this group earn in the low six-figures, putting an EV within financial reach, these survey respondents aren’t completely sold on EVs even though many are planning to buy a new car within the next 12 months.
After conducting the survey, EVIX concluded, “"the next wave of EV drivers will not be as willing to make sacrifices just for the sake of driving electric. People who are considering electric vehicles today are pragmatic. They want an EV that can compete with its gas engine counterparts on price, quality and performance. They do not want to buy an EV just to be a good friend to the environment." Source: EVIX (PDF)
Price is obviously a major barrier to greater EV adoption rates. Even at a $30,000 price point, a battery electric vehicle isn’t going to compete with its traditional gasoline-powered counterparts. Survey panelists in the interested in EVs group cited a minimum 150-mile range before they would consider purchasing a BEV as their next vehicle. At this time the price point for a BEV that can achieve that range is significantly higher than the price of an average vehicle, easily topping $50,000.