American car buyers are far less interested in electric vehicles than their overseas counterparts, put off by high prices and not enough charging stations.
That’s the finding of a new survey of 13,000 potential car buyers worldwide by consultant EY, also known as Ernst & Young.
Just 29% of US respondents said they intended to go electric with their next vehicle purchase, compared to 52% globally.
American consumers’ commitment to EVs was the lowest among the 18 major markets EY surveyed.
EVs accounted for only about 3% of overall US auto sales last year.
The nearly three-quarters of American car buyers committed to traditional internal combustion engines told EY they weren’t interested in EVs due to “a lack of charging infrastructure” and because plug-in models are too pricey.
Their reticence stands in contrast to buyers in Europe and Asia, where stricter regulations are boosting demand.
Italian shoppers were the most eager for EVs, with 73% planning to get one next time, while about two-thirds of buyers in China and South Korea also expect to plug in their next car.
This is the first time more than half of global car buyers in the EY survey have said they plan to go electric.
It represents a 22-point jump from the last time the consultant conducted the survey in 2020.
The respondents were polled in late February and early March, before the war in Ukraine sent gasoline prices soaring to record levels.
“These findings truly mark a tipping point in the global car-buying market,” Randy Miller, EY’s global advanced manufacturing & mobility leader, said in a statement.
“There is no doubt that global gas price rises have played their part in making internal combustion engines more expensive, but environmental concerns also remain top of the list of motivators.”
US automakers are betting big that Americans will eventually join the rest of the world in embracing EVs.
The manufacturers are spending billions to electrify their lineups with the expectation that roughly half the US car market will be battery-powered by 2030.
EV market leader Tesla Inc. has a new 8-million square foot factory in Austin, Texas. Ford is spending $7 billion (R109 billion) on battery factories and EV assembly plants in Tennessee and Kentucky and just rolled out an electric version of its top seller, the F-150 pickup truck.