By on December 2, 2013

2012 Nissan Leaf, Exterior, side 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Based upon a survey of 1,084 conducted by Boulder, Colo. firm Navigant Research, it would appear most won’t be in the market for EVs anytime soon due to the price of admission being too rich for their blood… for any EV.

According the survey, 71 percent plan to spend less than $25,000 on their next car with 43 percent of the 71 aiming for under $20,000; thus, the only EV or plug-in available within their range (after price cuts and credits) is the 2013 Nissan Leaf at $22,150.

Aside from price, familiarity is another obstacle for EV and plug-in adoption rates. The most familiar to the masses? The Chevrolet Volt, though only 6 percent are intimately familiar with the $26,685 (after credits) plug-in. However, the survey said that 67 percent of consumers loved the idea of hybrids, while 61 percent also loved the idea of EVs.

Finally, 40 percent of the populace sampled would be interested in charging stations in the vein of Tesla’s Supercharger, so long as they paid next to nothing (if at all) for the privilege; only 16 percent surveyed would pay more than $2 for a 15-minute recharge.

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25 Comments on “EVs Too Pricey For Most Consumers...”

  • avatar

    Sounds like those 71% could either get a Leaf or a used Prius plug-in. So NOT too pricey…

    • 0 avatar

      Or a Chevy Spark EV (in California and Oregon, anyway). List at $27,800, with $10,000 in public incentives. It’s a better car than the gas version, but also better than the 500e. I’ve had mine about a month and don’t have any trouble with the 82-mile battery capacity. With the total miles driven reported at the end of each ride, I find I only drive anywhere from 5 to 15 miles a day. This is the future of urban driving, available now.

  • avatar

    “EVs Too Pricey For Most Consumers” – in other news, water is wet. Film at eleven.

    To nit-pick the article, the Smart EV is cheaper than the Leaf, but is not available in every market. Also, certain markets have more rebates than others, which might push other EVs into their price range.

    The survey is at odds with another study which addressed the ‘average price’ of new cars, and said it was around $32k, IIRC (and then compared it to average salaries and concluded cars are too expensive.) I suspected at the time the ‘average price’ was not the median, which makes that analysis wrong, IMO, and this survey seems to support that impression. However, what people intend to spend and what they actually spend are two very different things, as proven on CC statements every Christmas.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I’d recommend leasing EVs, unless you put so many miles on your car that overages on a 12-15k mi/yr lease would get too expensive. In my case at least, I save about $80/mo on ‘fuel’ compared to a 40mpg conventional car, and while on battery the ride is more vibration-free than any ICE vehicle short of a Chrysler Turbine Car. Plus, torque from 0rpm is fun.

  • avatar

    We leased a LEAF SL for $2300 up front and $155/mo for 24 months. We save about $125/mo. on gas (net, after added electrical costs) even though we don’t drive much. The car we sold averaged about 20MPG with mostly city driving.

    We’ll have no maintenance costs other than 1 or 2 tire rotations. Not sure how much lower you can get TCO on a new car.

    And, it has leather, NAV, seat heaters, etc.

  • avatar

    Only 16% of respondents would pay more than $2 to charge their car at a 15-minute public quick charge station; 100% currently pay $30-$60 to fill their gas tank.

    • 0 avatar

      How much range do you get for your $2? In 15 minutes, you don’t get a lot of range, unless you’re at a really fast charger (SuperCharger territory). By way of comparison, $30 into a Prius is good for over 400 miles at current gas prices.

      I believe some EV owners have complained about the cost of public charging.

  • avatar

    Hang on… the average transaction price for new cars is something like $31,000. That only includes buyers of new cars, of course, but those are the ones that matter most to automakers.

    I’d also posit that “plan to spend less than $25,000” doesn’t mean “will actually spend less than $25,000.”

  • avatar

    …According the survey, 71 percent plan to spend less than $25,000 on their next car with 43 percent of the 71 aiming for under $20,000…

    And in a world where ATP is well over $30K now across all makes and models and where one can drop near $30K on a Cruze or Focus – and get well north of $30K on almost any of the compact SUVs in a hurry.

    The wheels are going to start coming off the economic bus if something doesn’t give. We’re already seeing troubling signs with continued easing of financing standards, the growth of subprime to near economic crash level (but it’s OK this time, because people are paying), and a growing dependency on subsidized/discounted leases.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a lot less alarming when you don’t switch back and forth between median and average. Studies that do this don’t get much trust from me. How would it look if we compared average income to median car price? Is that median by model or median by sale? Lies, damn lies, and poorly designed statistics.

  • avatar

    In order for me to even consider an EV, it has to have a have a price similar to a regular car of its size and the same equipment of an equivalent car.

    My 300SRT came with adaptive cruise control, side turn signals, front/rear ultrasonic backup sensors, ultraview moonroof, Navigation, heated/cooled cup holders, heated/cooled seats, auto wipers, etc.

    For me to get any of that in an EV and have a car that fits my 6’6 body, I’d need a Model S and have to pay a minimum of $70,000. There are features my $58,000 car came with that the model S doesn’t even offer at $110,000.

    AND FOR WHAT??? So I could say “I’m saving the planet” while I personally know Earth’s geologic history: the bombardment by asteroids, metor showers, magnetic reversal of the poles, rampant extinction level events, etc,etc???

    HELL NO.

    YOU GO AND TELL THOSE LIBERALS AND GREENERS that as long as their is a breath in my body, I’ll be riding around in something with an engine that sucks down gas and churns out horsepower.

    And those bike lanes???


    You’ll take my HEMI SRT cars from MY COLD DEAD HANDS.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, I guess if your self-image is tied up in what you drive and who you intimidate, you should just keep on doing what you’re doing.

    • 0 avatar

      TCO ain’t purchase price. Not sure how much the SRT eats in gas but the charge costs on the S are pretty low. About that bike lane; people like you are why so many cyclists cary the extra weight of a large caliber pistol. Nah, just kidding:). You need a really big truck to cary a big gun, right?

    • 0 avatar

      Why do people always (often) assume electric vehicle buyers buy them to save the planet? I didn’t. I bought one because, with gas savings included, it’s close to free compared to the car we replaced.

      And, because it’s an appliance I don’t care about which will be used (trashed) by my wife and 5 y.o. daughter, while keeping them (and a thousand crumbled goldfish crackers) out of one our other vehicles (Mercedes wagon, Mercedes convertible, Landcruiser).

  • avatar

    If you can afford a new car, you can afford gasoline.

    • 0 avatar

      True in most cases, but what’s your point?

      There are many things I can afford, which I choose not to buy.

      • 0 avatar

        The headline is:

        “EVs Too Pricey For Most Consumers”

        You’re not most consumers. You have four cars. You’re leasing a toy EV because you don’t want to be bothered vacuuming your kid’s crumbs from your Mercedes.

        EVs are marketed as saving gas expense. If you’re really struggling to pay for gas, you’re probably driving a 10 YO Civic, not out shopping for a new EV to lease, which probably also requires good credit, which they guy with the 10 YO Civic probably does not have.

        • 0 avatar

          My friend with the Leaf freely admits that the savings in gas is a bonus. He bought it because he is a geek and thought it was cool.

          That said, I am all for efficiency for its own sake. You can only go as fast as the car in front of you 90% of the time. I have no need for a 6.4l penis extension. But I can’t be bothered with the range and charging limitations of current electrics. Fits my friends use case, but not mine, regardless of price.

        • 0 avatar


          “…you don’t want to be bothered vacuuming your kid’s crumbs from your Mercedes.”, says the BMW owner.

          Actually, let me clarify:

          1. My other three cars cost less, combined, than the LEAF’s price after the $7500 govt vig and the $3,000 the dealer hacked off.

          2. It’s not just about the crumbs, It’s about the dings, dents, scratches and other abuse my wife delivers to our vehicles. If left to her own devices, she’d just drive a car without regard for changing or checking fluids until the motor seized (her father reports she did this several times in her 20’s).

          3. I’m an odd-ball and probably a good fit for this site. The wagon is a 1994 E320. I happen to love 124’s (for their solidity, not their “stellar” handling) and I love wagons. This one was owned, for 20 years, by the GM of MB of SF. It’s pristine. So, no, I don’t want it destroyed in 2 months after nearly 20 years of being pampered.

          4. No, we’re not typical, but a great fit for the LEAF. But, it’s not a toy. It’s an appliance. We live in downtown Austin, our average speed is 19MPH per the computer. We mostly run errands in a 10 mile radius (most w/in 3 miles). No commuters in the household. We can beat this appliance and return it when the lease is done, the net cost is super low and maintenance is nil. What’s all the fuss? I don’t get my jollies driving around downtown Austin. And, for what jollies I can get, between 0 and 35, an electric car is great with the low end torque. Friends laugh when I floor it at low speeds, because they are surprised. What’s wrong with that?

          5. No, I’m not struggling to pay for gas, but I sure like not buying it. I’d rather put the $70 that goes into the tank into something else. And, yes, I do just like the idea that it gets the cost equivalent of about 95mpg. It just plain feels good.

          My point in saying, “There are many things I can afford, which I choose not to buy” is that we all pick and choose what’s important to us.

          That’s most of us – just not the poor guy with the 10yo Civic and bad credit, that you describe.

          And, yes, the title is “EV’s are too expensive for most consumers.” Well, the guy is the 10 yo Civic is not most consumers (though, we’re heading there, aren’t we?). I’d argue the LEAF and other less expensive EV’s aren’t. But, they have to work for their lifestyle also. That reduces the cross section of people that can use them. That said, based on our experience, many more could if they wanted. I think the psychological barriers and misconceptions are the greatest barriers for many (range anxiety, unknowns about ownership experience, false idea that they must have a fast charger, etc.).

  • avatar

    “However, the survey said that 67 percent of consumers loved the idea of hybrids, while 61 percent also loved the idea of EVs.”

    Reminds me of the Onion article about public opinion of mass transit:
    “A study released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that 98 percent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others.”

    • 0 avatar


      There pushing the idea of ownig an EV/hybrid as an eccentric thing.
      By ostracizing EVs as different then ICE vehicles in this way their pushing consumers away, giving the idea that its unconventional, which obviously it is, isn’t helping their case.
      I’d rather be told of how its alike or better, not how people view it, that’s nothing but political rabble.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s also hilarious that that survey was conducted in Boulder, CO which is perhaps the most left-leaning, eco-conscience city in the US. It’s not called the “The People’s Republic of Boulder” for nothing. They should conduct the same survey in Amarillo, TX and then average the two results.

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