The fact that electric vehicles (EVs) are in demand among consumers has been proven by automotive OEMs deciding to shelve investments on traditional combustion engine vehicles and instead focusing on EVs. It has also been demonstrated by the rise of Tesla Motors and a host of new EV startups that have cropped up to take advantage of a blossoming market.
Despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, EV sales are expected to match those sold in 2019, showing consumer desire for the vehicles despite a downturn in the economy and an uptick in social distancing.
However, consumer demand for EVs is conditional. In a recent survey from Castrol, U.S. buyers want an EV that can go about 320 miles, costs about $36,000 and can charge in 30 minutes. Currently, most EVs do not match these specifications. However, newer models that are due to come out later this year or early next year are promising that and much more, as demonstrated by vehicles such as the Lucid Air, which boasts a more than 500 mile range.
According to Car and Driver, the vehicle that comes closet to these specifications is the Tesla Model 3 with a price tag that starts at $48,190, which is outside the price range most desired by EV buyers. In the survey of 1,000 consumers and fleet managers, 57% said that EVs are beyond their budget and 65% were concerned about the EV maintenance cost.
This is a sign that consumers still do not view EVs as a cheaper alternative to gas vehicles despite a recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that showed consumers could save as much as $14,500 on fuel costs over 15 years of driving an EV instead of one fueled by gasoline.
The survey states that while the average U.S. driver would consider purchasing an EV by 2025, 60% said they intend to adopt a wait-and-see approach. However, the survey was taken before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is likely that opinions may have changed since the survey was taken.
"With EV technology constantly improving, the challenge now will be to drive a low-carbon recovery and accelerate the Evolution as quickly as possible,” said Mandhir Singh, CEO at Castrol. “Castrol has been working with the automotive industry to develop unique e-Fluid technology to support EVs, from battery coolant e-fluid, e-greases, and transmission fluids."