Report: 1-in-5 Drivers Want an Electric Vehicle

Increased ranges, low ownership costs driving up demand


DENVER (May 9, 2018) – The electric car is a novelty no more: 50 million Americans will likely go electric when they purchase their next vehicle, according to new research from AAA. That's the highest surveyed demand for electric vehicles on record.

With lower-than-average ownership costs, increased driving ranges, diverse offerings from auto manufacturers and the latest advanced safety features, electric cars have entered the mainstream.

"Car buyers looking for the latest and greatest in automotive technology are increasingly turning to the electric car," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. "Demand is being driven by more than just environmental concerns: Drivers are finding that electrical vehicles offer lower long-term costs and advanced technology that you simply can't find on other cars."

Importantly, "range anxiety," the number-one concern among electric and hybrid vehicle shoppers, shows signs of easing. Among those unsure or unwilling to choose an electric vehicle, 63 percent (down from 72 percent in 2017) cited not enough places to charge as a detractor, while 58 percent (down from 72 percent) expressed concern over running out of charge while driving. Range anxiety is less of a concern for Milennials (48 percent) than Generation X or Baby Boomers (64 percent and 66 percent, respectively). 

Other considerations for those likely to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle:

  • Reliability (92 percent)
  • Crash ratings (77 percent)
  • Cost (71 percent)
  • Acceleration and handling (69 percent)
  • Advanced technology (60 percent)
  • Style, color or design (34 percent)
  • Brand (33 percent)
  • Full survey results

To help drivers looking to make the switch or find their next green vehicle, AAA conducts extensive and thorough testing of high fuel efficiency, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles each year -- assigning ratings based on criteria important to buyers such as ride quality, safety and performance. 

In 2018, the following vehicles earned AAA's Top Green Vehicle Award:

  • Overall: Tesla Model X 75D
  • Subcompact: Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
  • Compact: Nissan Leaf SL
  • Midsize: BMW 530e i-Performance
  • Large: Tesla Model S 75
  • Pickup: Ford F-150 4X4 XLT Sport
  • SUV/Minivan: Tesla Model X 75D
  • Best Under $30K: Kia Niro LX
  • Best $30k-$50K: Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
  • Best Over $50K: Tesla Model X 75D

Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews and an in-depth analysis of the green vehicle industry can be found at

While Americans are eager to buy an electric vehicle, the right infrastracture is critical to its widespread adoption. In 2018, the availability of charging stations had grown to more than 16,000 in the United States and, although anxiety over range has reduced, AAA's survey found consumer expectations for charging time while on the road don't align with reality. 68 percent of Americans feel that while out driving, a charging time of no more than 30 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to wait.

"Drivers are accustomed to a quick fill-up at the corner gas station, while electric vehicle charging can sometimes take several hours," McKinley said. "With a little planning, electric vehicle owners can avoid a roadside inconvenience and, as technology improves, charging times will too."

Drivers can access charging station locations through AAA's Mobile app or TripTik Planner. Additional survey data, study methodology, graphics, photos and video can be found at

About AAA Colorado

More than 660,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's most prominent advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit