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46% of American EV Owners Might Go Back to Gas-Powered Vehicles

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The latest survey by McKinsey found that about half of American electric vehicle (EV) drivers leading the global EV market are considering switching back to gas-powered vehicles or cars with internal combustion engines (ICE). The most cited reasons were the lack of charging infrastructure and the high prices of new EVs.

According to a global consulting firm on Wednesday, 46% of American EV owners responded that they intend to switch to a gas-powered car in their next purchase. This figure is 17% higher than the global average of 29%. However, the figure is 5 to 14 % lower than the worldwide average of European countries like Germany, Norway, France, and Italy.

McKinsey surveyed the use of EVs among 30,000 people in nine countries, including Australia, the United States, Brazil, China, Germany, Norway, France, Italy, and Japan.

Respondents cited inadequate charging infrastructure (35%), the high cost of owning an EV (34%), and inconvenience during long-distance driving (32%) as reasons for switching back to gas-powered vehicles. Other reasons cited include the inability to charge at home (24%), stress over charging (21%), and poor driving experience (13%).

According to the U.S. Department of Energy data, there are only 64,000 EV charging stations in the country as opposed to 120,000 gas stations. Notably, there are only about 10,000 fast direct current fast chargers. This lack of charging infrastructure leads to buying remorse, prompting consumers to reverse to ICE vehicles. The lower response rates in European countries, which have relatively good charging infrastructure compared to the U.S. and Australia, also indicate that charging infrastructure is a necessary and sufficient condition for generating demand for EVs.

Ineffective incentive policies are also being pointed out as a factor in slowing down the demand for EVs. The Joe Biden administration is implementing a policy that provides up to $7,500 (about 10 million won) in tax deductions to EV buyers through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). However, as this applies only to “Made in US” EVs, it has reduced consumer choice, creating a local sentiment that the actual benefits are limited in practice.

The latest findings of the survey even surprised the consulting firm.

“The equation once an EV buyer, always an EV buyer’ has generally been dominant, but, surprisingly, there are a lot of drivers who want to switch back to old gas-powered vehicles,” said Philipp Kampshoff, the head of McKinsey’s Center for Future Mobility.

theguru
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