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Most EV buyers have no regrets about going electric, AAA survey says

If you’re on the fence about buying an electric car, AAA has some data that might provide some encouragement. The organization found that, over five years and 75,000 miles of driving, ownership costs for electric cars are only slightly higher — about $600 annually — than conventional gasoline cars. AAA also found that initial owner concerns — such as range anxiety — disappeared over time.

Most owners surveyed by AAA were apprehensive about buying an electric car. AAA said 91% of owners had at least one concern before buying their cars, including worries about insufficient range, the ability to take long trips, and the availability of charging stations. While the number of electric cars on the market is steadily increasing, and many car buyers are showing interest, concerns like these remain a major barrier to increased electric car sales, according to AAA.

“Although 40 million Americans have shown interest in buying electric for their next car, actual adoption is happening at a much slower rate,” Greg Brannon, AAA director of automotive engineering and industry relations, said in a statement.

But once people take the plunge and buy an electric car, these concerns fade away, according to AAA. Of owners surveyed (71% of whom had not previously owned an electric car), 96% said they would buy or lease another electric car. The majority of owners who were initially concerned about insufficient range became “less concerned” or “no longer concerned” after buying their cars, according to AAA.

Many owners (43%) now drive more in their electric cars than they previously did in gasoline cars, AAA found. Of owners surveyed, 78% still have a gasoline car in their household, but report doing the majority of their driving (87%) in electric cars, according to AAA. Electric car owners surveyed drive an average 39 miles per day, AAA said.

The increased confidence likely results from experience. Almost every owner surveyed (95%) said they have never run out of charge while driving, according to AAA. Owners also discovered an important fact about charging: Most of it can be done at home. Much of the discourse around electric cars focuses on expanding the network of public charging stations, and the lack of said stations can be a major turnoff for potential buyers. But most owners eventually realize that home charging can cover most of their needs. It’s also much more convenient than making a dedicated trip to the gas station. Sure enough, owners surveyed by AAA said they did 75% of charging at home.

Higher purchase prices have also eliminated electric car sales, but these can be largely offset by lower running costs, according to AAA. The amount of electricity required to drive a “compact electric car” 15,000 miles per year costs an average $546, while the equivalent amount of gasoline costs $1,255, AAA said. Because they don’t need oil changes, maintenance costs for electric cars are an average $330 per year less than gasoline cars, according to AAA. Plus, you’ll never have to sit in a dingy garage waiting room reading old magazines again.

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