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Study Finds Range Is Now the Top Priority for EV Shoppers

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【Summary】According to a new study by Autolist, range has become the most important thing for electric-vehicle shoppers, with price and charging infrastructure rounding out the top three.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 08, 2021 7:00 AM PT
Study Finds Range Is Now the Top Priority for EV Shoppers

For quite a long time, pricing has been the major thing holding consumers back from purchasing an electric vehicle. For the most part, electric vehicles are far more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles. While EVs come with cutting-edge tech features and blistering acceleration, a lot of consumers simply can't afford to purchase one, even with the available federal tax credits. According to a new survey conducted by Autolist, range has overtaken pricing as the most important thing to consider when purchasing an electric vehicle.

Range Is King

In 2021, range topped price, charging infrastructure, recharge times, and battery efficiency to be the most important fact for consumers looking to purchase a new vehicle. Out of the 1,800 respondents, Autolist's 2021 Electric Vehicle Survey polled, 61 percent claimed that range was the biggest consideration when purchasing an electric vehicle. Price (50 percent), charging infrastructure (43 percent), recharge times (36 percent), and battery efficiency (35 percent) were the other things consumers were considering.

This is a dramatic difference from a similar survey Autolist completed in 2019. Just a few years ago, consumers claimed that price (58 percent) was the largest factor when looking into purchasing an electric car. Charging infrastructure (44 percent), range (43 percent), battery efficiency (39 percent), and recharge times (32 percent) rounded out the top five. In just two years, range went from third place to first, marking an important change in what consumers are looking for.

While it's difficult to definitively state why range has overtaken the other factors as the most important thing to consider when purchasing an EV, Autolist has a few ideas. The most obvious one is that battery technology has started to drop in price, going from $157 per kWh in 2019 to $137 per kWh in 2020. By 2023, experts believe that pricing per kWh to go down to $101 per kWh. With prices continuing to come down, pricing isn't as big as a factor as it once was.

Possible Reasons For The Change

Another possible explanation is the increase in more mainstream EVs. Tesla once dominated the market, but now, Volkswagen, Ford, Audi, and Volvo have caught up with electric vehicles that closely match gasoline-powered options on the market in terms of size, vehicle type, and execution.

The number of respondents that claimed charging infrastructure is important has remained nearly the same since 2019. That's an interesting statistic, since charging stations have drastically increased since the last time Autolist completed the survey. Since 2019, the number of public charging stations has gone from 114,000 to 68,800. With the increase in the number of available chargers, one would assume that charging infrastructure wouldn't be an important factor when purchasing an EV. But Autolist's research found that 70 percent of respondents claimed that charging at home was "essential" to purchasing an EV.

With range being such an important factor for consumers, it's not surprising to see Tesla continuing to do incredibly well in the U.S., as the brand leads the pack in range. Other automakers should catch up to Tesla shortly, but the American automaker certainly focused on the right things to stay ahead of the pack.

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