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Americans Prefer Hybrids Over EVs, Finds AAA

Hybrid badging | Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Daniel Rufiange
The survey shows there's still a lot of education needed regarding EV-related myths.

Recently, we shared a J.D. Power study about the purchase intentions of Canadian consumers concerning electric vehicles. It revealed that slightly more than half were not ready to make the transition.

Looking at the glass half full, this means nearly 50 percent of people in Canada are considering an electric vehicle for their next purchase.

That percentage is notably higher than it is in the U.S. Despite all the government EV incentives and even with automakers promoting their new electric models via large advertising campaigns, consumer interest in fully electric models is currently declining. At the same time, the popularity of hybrid models is on the rise.

A survey conducted in April by AAA (American Automobile Association) reports that only 18 percent of Americans are "likely" or "very likely" to buy a fully electric vehicle, down from 23 percent a year ago. 63 percent of respondents said it is "unlikely" or "very unlikely" that their next purchase will be a fully electric vehicle.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of respondents said it is "likely" or "very likely" that they will opt for a hybrid model.

A 2023 Kia Sportage HEV
A 2023 Kia Sportage HEV | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Range
Among the reasons cited, range anxiety came up often, unsurprisingly. Hybrid vehicles provide a perfect cure to that since motorists can get some of the benefits of electrification without worrying about running out of charge.

Results obviously vary from region to region, as there are many parts of the U.S. where access to public charging stations is not as widespread as it is in Quebec or British Columbia, for example, or even Ontario. In Southern California, the issue is also negligible. However, in places like Wyoming, the situation is different.

Cost
Another concern raised is the cost, an issue for 60 percent of respondents.

Battery life
The cost of replacing batteries also worries many, with 57 percent expressing concern. This is 2 percent more than last year.

This growing concern comes even as recent data shows that the batteries of electric vehicles generally last longer than the lifespan of many vehicles. Many manufacturers guarantee these batteries for eight years.

“Deciding to make the leap to full electric may feel overwhelming for many consumers, and a hybrid option may be the way to bridge this gap. Consumer demand will ultimately dictate the future, and my prediction is that we will have a mix of EVs, hybrids and internal combustion vehicles in dealership and on the roads in the U.S. for many decades ahead.”

- Greg Brannon, director of automotive research at AAA

AAA conducted the survey between April 4 and 8 with 1,152 adults aged 18 and over, using a probability-based panel that covers about 97 percent of U.S. household population. The organization indicated a margin of error of 4 percent.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists