Two reports shed new light on the evolving electric-vehicle market, one pointing up the relative affordability versus gas-powered models between the premium and mass-market corners of the industry.
A second-quarter Experian report shows that EV adoption is growing, EV models making up 7.5% of U.S. new vehicle registrations, up from 5.7% year-over-year to 2.7 million.
But consumers who take the EV plunge still aren’t all-in. The report shows they tend to keep a gas-powered model in their back pockets, er, their garages, that is. It says a whopping 85% of EV buyers have both, likely due to limited charging infrastructure in many areas.
“As the infrastructure continues to develop, understanding consumers’ needs will enable automotive professionals to better assist them when finding something that fits their lifestyle,” said Kirsten Von Busch, Experian director of product marketing for automotive.
Affordability is another concern when it comes to switching from gas-powered vehicles. Tesla still dominates the EV market, with four of the five leading luxury EV models – and in fact, luxury models in general made up 77% of the U.S. EV market.
The ownership cost disparity between EV and gas-powered models can be stark and is likely hampering adoption. A new J.D. Power report shows that the average U.S. premium vehicle consumer pays 0.4% more for an EV than a comparable gas-powered model while the average mass-market buyer pays 18% more for an EV. It points out that the gap is significant when it comes EV adoption, which can be achieved only if automakers tap deeper into the mass market.
When cost of ownership over time is taken into consideration, the gap appears starker pocketbook-wise. Over five years, J.D. Power says premium compact EV sports-utility vehicle owners on average pay just $287 more than they would for a comparable gas-powered model, or a total of nearly $72,000. For a mass-market compact EV SUV, the difference is more than $9,000, or $60,736 total.
The gaps widen further when one compares the most affordable EVs in the two market segments and when leasing an EV, J.D. Power says.
A sign that the cost imbalance may be turning is the coming debut of the Chevrolet Equinox compact electric SUV, which J.D. Power says should be more comparable to a similar gas-powered model. It says the Equinox will reportedly have a $40,000 starting price and a later base-trim price of $30,000, making it in line with gas-powered compact SUVs.