There is no denying the fact that the world’s automakers are currently feeling the push towards electrification. Emissions regulations continue to tighten as governments look for a quick fix to our climate change struggles. As more investment capital results in more electric vehicles being put into production, they are selling in higher volumes than ever before. However, the J.D. Power 2020 Q3 Mobility Confidence Index found that American buyers still aren’t onboard with battery-electric vehicles.
The J.D. Power 2020 Q3 Mobility Confidence Index was done in collaboration with SurveyMonkey, and takes a deep look at our confidence in EVs and autonomous vehicles. This year has been unlike any other in living memory, especially as it related to the need to be mobile. With people driving less than before, the limited range of an electric vehicle should become less of an issue. However, views on electric cars and autonomous vehicles haven’t benefited during this time as one might think.
According to J.D. Power, the Mobility Confidence Index for battery-electric vehicles is relatively unchanged from 2019, decreasing to a 54 from 55 (on a 100-point scale). There is a similar story when it comes to autonomous vehicles, which also dropped one place down to a ranking of 34 out of 100. With today seemingly being the best time to argue the merits of an electric car, there has to be a reason for the continued disinterest.
Part of that disinterest might be a result of the fact that EV’s simply don’t meet the needs of most American buyers at this moment. J.D. Power found that 78 percent of American buyers expect a car to give them at least 300 miles of range, while only 45 percent are okay with waiting up to fifteen minutes to get a 200 mile charge. While battery tech has certainly improved in recent years, there is also a huge chunk of Americans who don’t know much about electric vehicles. J.D. Power noted that 69 percent of respondents in the U.S. had never even ridden in an EV, while 31 percent agreed to knowing nothing about the vehicles at all. This is what J.D. Power’s Executive Director of Driver Interaction & Human Machine Interface Research Kristin Kolodge believes is the biggest hurdle for automakers.
Kolodge notes that lack of education and limited exposure that people have related to these new technologies is to blame for the slow adoption. She believes that automakers must rectify this if they ever wish to get the public fully onboard with the products. This may be the case for electric vehicles, but U.S. trust in autonomous driving might be quite a ways off.
According to the report, only 14 percent of people who drive a personal vehicle in the United States would be comfortable riding in a self-driving car. This number jumps up to 22% when polling those who take public transportation. Those aren’t exactly strong figures, despite what Tesla Twitter might suggest.
So then it is clear that the American buying public isn’t interested in EVs and autonomous vehicles at the same rate at which they are receiving investment. This of course begs the question of who exactly these products are supposed to be for?