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Interest in Electric Vehicles Now Rivals That of Full-Size Pickup Trucks

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author photo by Lindsay Martell May 2017

Love EVs? You're not alone.

According to a new survey from Automobile Association of America, interest in electric vehicles has reached a fever pitch, with consumers now wanting them as much as a full-size pickup truck.

Interest, Yes. But Sales ... ?

Among the standout data of AAA's survey of roughly 1,000 adults from earlier this year, Americans are definitely interested in electric vehicles but may not be ready to pull the trigger on replacing tried n' true traditional rigs with an EV. The data found that 15 percent of participants responding were likely to purchase or lease an electric vehicle as their next car, against a 16 percent interest in leasing or purchasing a truck. Millennials are even more interested in an electric future: 20 percent said they were likely to snap up an EV in the coming years.

As for the reasons for going electric? It varies from environmental concerns (87 percent), slashing long-term costs (62 percent), those craving cutting-edge technology (52 percent) and snagging car pool lane access (29 percent).

The report, which was published by CNBC, also details that consumers who are unlikely to buy an electric vehicle -- or who are undecided -- fear a lack of charging stations and running out of battery power. Other concerns include battery repair and replacement costs.

It's All About The Numbers

But experts say the data doesn't match what's going on in showrooms. Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst for Autotrader, told CNBC that the survey does not correlate with what Cox Automotive's Kelley Blue Book or Autotrader sees in surveys or in shopping and sales data. In fact, it's the opposite.

"If people are saying they are interested in electric vehicles and intend to make their next purchase one, then that interest is not translating into sales."

Krebs said Autotrader anticipates sales of new pickup trucks will rise to 13 percent of all new vehicle sales for 2017, with compact and midsize SUVs being the fastest- growing segments."In contrast," she said, "the entire category of EVs, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, etc. is under three percent of all new vehicle sales. It has been shrinking, not growing, even before gas prices dropped. It is the most heavily discounted [biggest incentives] segment with the lowest resale values. If the tax credits go away, the segment is in even more trouble."

At this time, electric cars make up only around one percent of all car sales in the U.S. -- widely crushed by sales of vehicles with traditional internal-combustion engines.

So while the interest in EVs may be there, it's not translating to sales ... yet.

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Interest in Electric Vehicles Now Rivals That of Full-Size Pickup Trucks - Autotrader