While there is increasing adoption of electric vehicles in the US, consumers do not yet understand how these vehicles work and have misconceptions about their capacity. Currently, people are influenced by social media to change their environmental behavior and in 10 years, people are expected to adopt more eco-conscious attitudes. People’s current attitudes towards electric cars, projections regarding people’s mindsets toward the environment, and current environmentalism trends are provided below.
Current Attitudes Towards Electric Cars
People Don’t Have a Solid Understanding of EVs Performance
- Many drivers find electric vehicles’ (EVs) mileage capacity limiting, which also makes them afraid of running out of power (range anxiety). The average EV travels 114 miles between charges.
- Running out of power is one of the main barriers to purchase an EV among 58% of drivers. However, 65% of EV owners agree to have experienced range anxiety when they first purchased the vehicle, “but it went away after a few months.”
- About 42% of consumers in the US think EVs still require gas to run. Also, 67% think that EVs don’t have the capacity to tow. However, EVs like The Tesla Model X and Ford’s own electric F-150 prototype can tow 143 tons and 625 tons, respectively.
- About 59% of US drivers are unsure of whether EVs “have a better range when driving at highways speeds or in stop and go traffic,” which means that drivers don’t have a full understanding of how EVs work, as EVs perform better in stop and go traffic because they can recharge the battery when decelerating.
- Additionally, 80% of US consumers believe that EVs don’t function in “extreme heat or cold.” Evidence suggests that EVs include battery conditioning systems that keep an optimal temperature for maximum power range.
Drivers Have Different Motivators to Buy an EV
- People in the US are motivated by gas-saving to buy an EV. Approximately 74% of EV drivers believe that the long-term savings on gas outweigh the higher price-tag of EVs. About 40% of consumers who are not likely to buy an EV may be motivated to buy it if gas prices reach $5 per gallon.
- About 50% of EV drivers think that the environmental impact is the number two benefit of driving an EV. Also, about 73% agree that their EV “makes them feel better about making less environmentally conscious decisions” in their lives.
- Approximately 80% of people who plan to purchase an EV agree that the environmental benefits are their primary motivator.
- Another factor that would motivate 58% of drivers to purchase an EV is having more charging stations available. According to another survey, 61% of consumers think that more charging infrastructure is the biggest barrier holding back their EV purchase.
- Other motivators wished by drivers include lower purchase prices, being offered a 30-day trial, and wireless charging.
Projections of People’s Mindsets towards Environment and Gas-powered Vehicles
- It is expected that in the mid-2020s the prices of EVs will become comparable or cheaper than an internal combustion vehicle, making people purchase more EVs which may even outsell conventional vehicles by 2030. However, according to Sam Abuelsamid, an auto analyst with Navigant, when 100% of vehicles sold are electric, it would take 20 to 25 years to replace the entire vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. In the US, it is estimated that vehicles with internal combustion engines will lose 1-3% of the market share each year from 2019 to 2030.
- As per a recent survey, people in the US would support “phasing-out fossil-fuel-dependent cars” starting 2030 or before. However, they are less likely to support the phase-out starting in 2020.
- According to a recent report, “consumers will want companies to help them feel proud of their eco-conscious efforts” and will consume to take care of their own and the earth’s health.
- In the next 10 years, consumers will want to see changes in environmental issues in the US. They will also reward brands that take environmental actions towards an eco-conscious future.
- Future consumers will look for environmentally friendly products and sustainable diets. Through 2030, eco-conscious consumers will probably lower “the frequency of meat and dairy consumption and choose products with high ethical and environmental standards when possible.”
Current Environmentalism Trends
Social Media is Influencing Eco-consciousness
- Social media is currently influencing “consumers’ views on sustainability and the environment.” Social media feeds provide large content on how our consumption habits impact the planet. According to a study from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Southern California, social media is also influencing the reduction of food waste in tourism.
- This trend is driven by the reach that social media platforms have, as they are a powerful tool that can define social norms. Social media trends influence how consumers behave.
- For example, #zerowaste has over 4 million posts on Instagram. Through this hashtag, consumers show their efforts to produce less trash.
- Greta Thunberg, a famous teenager environmental activist whose popularity rise through social media, has inspired several young activists in the US and made several climate-strikes possible across this country.
Consumers Are Seeking Eco-friendly Brands
- Almost 37% of US consumers are seeking environmentally-friendly brands and expect companies to make efforts to correct the climate crisis. Also, 51% of people in the US believe that companies that develop more eco-friendly processes are more likely to change consumer behavior, compared to government or local regulations.
- This trend is driven by the need of US consumers to “see their changing values reflected in the products” they purchase and use, especially when these products might help them fight the climate crisis.
- For example, 34% of San Francisco consumers bought eco-friendly cleaning products in 2018, according to Statista.
Celebrities Are Fighting Climate Change
- Recently, many celebrities have joined the fight to stop climate change by working with international organizations that aim to “protect the ocean, provide clean water, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, stop fracking,” and other initiatives. They even take the risk to get arrested or travel around the world to get their voices heard.
- This trend is being driven by the lack of actions by government officials to help solve the current climate crisis.
- For example, Hollywood celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Meghan Markle, and Jane Fonda are current climate activists.