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Kelley Blue Book: Americans are warming up to electric cars, but still divided over them

Thirty-four percent of Americans would consider an electric vehicle for their next car. Thirty-one percent are not open to it. The 35% in the middle are still making up their minds.

That’s the conclusion from a new Reuters/Ipsos poll on America’s attitudes toward electric cars. Americans are split roughly into thirds on acceptance of EVs.

EV sales are speeding up

America’s roadways and new car showrooms are steadily filling with electric cars. Like most new technologies, adoption speeds up as it goes.

Three years ago, automakers offered fewer than 20 EV models for sale. By the end of 2023, the number may quadruple. They’re finding a willing audience of buyers. Total new vehicle sales fell 8% in 2022. But electric vehicle sales grew by a shocking 65%, according to Kelley Blue Book parent company Cox Automotive.

Just 3.2% of new cars sold in 2021 were EVs. In 2022, the same figure grew to 5.8% — more than 800,000 new electric cars on the road. Cox Automotive projects that EV sales will cross the 1 million mark this year with plenty of room to spare.

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Longer ranges, lower prices will change minds

Sales will speed up, Reuters and Ipsos found, if range increases. Thirty-five percent of respondents “wanted an EV that offered 500 or more miles of electric driving range per full charge.” Today, only the Lucid

Air — a luxury car with prices starting at nearly $90,000 — has an EPA-certified range that high.

Another 37% of respondents said they need at least 300 miles of range. That figure is more attainable. America’s best-selling EV, the Tesla

Model Y, gets 303 miles in the shortest-range trim currently offered.

Price is, unsurprisingly, also a factor. More than half of respondents — 56% — would be willing to pay no more than $49,999 for an EV. The average new EV sold for $58,385, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates, which is still well above the price of the average new car.

Also read: What California’s ban on gas cars could mean for you—even if you don’t live there

But things get cheaper as you build more of them. EV prices fell an average of $1,050 during the month.

There is a political divide on EV acceptance. Half of self-identified Democrats said they would consider an EV. Just 26% of Republicans and 27% of independents said the same.

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