EV Shoppers Care Most About Driving Range

Electric vehicle manufacturers know how important driving range is to consumers. Recently, Polestar improved the driving range of its Polestar 2 model, increasing it to 260 miles. (Polestar)

The electric vehicle market in the U.S. continues to evolve, and so do consumer attitudes about EVs and EV ownership.

Two years ago, automotive website Autolist conducted a survey that found the three primary reasons people were hesitant to buy an EV were worries about places to charge, high initial purchase price, and the vehicle's driving range. This week, Autolist released updated survey results and found that, with more charging infrastructure and EV models available, the overall range is the top priority of potential buyers considering purchasing an electric vehicle.

That's not to say concern about the other factors disappeared. But in the 2021 survey, the importance of range topped rather than aligned with the other factors. Autolist said 61% of respondents claim range is their top consideration this year, followed by price (50%) and charging infrastructure (43%).

"Two years is a long time in the world of electric vehicles, and buyers today have more models to choose from and more places to plug them in," David Undercoffler, Autolist's editor-in-chief, said in a statement. "That's helped ease concerns about price and charging while pushing range to the top of their list."

Another interesting aspect of the survey is that it seems people understand and accept EV charging times. Around 28% of people said they'd be okay with waiting 30 minutes to add 300 miles into a battery at a DC fast charger, while about 22% said 20 minutes would be fine. Only 15% said they wouldn't wait more than 10 minutes.

The number of electric vehicles with driving ranges of around 250 miles has grown since the 2019 survey, both in terms of new EVs and improved versions of older EVs. Automakers understand the value of a longer driving range and keep on improving their products. For example, the Polestar 2 now comes with a simplified, dual-motor drive system that, with the optional heat pump, should get over 260 miles of range, up from the original model's 233-mile range. The similarly sized Ford Mustang Mach-E offers a driving range of up to 300 miles.

Unsurprisingly, future EVs will feature even longer ranges thanks, in some cases, to new technologies like solid-state batteries. If the promises of these energy packs hold up, EVs with 500-mile ranges could be possible in the future. Toyota has been talking about its solid-state battery research and has said it expects to have an EV with this technology on the market by 2030.

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