John Townsend
Public Relations Manager, DC
O: (202) 481-6820 (ext. 4462108)
C: (202) 253-2171
jtownsend@aaamidatlantic.com

WASHINGTON, D. C. (Wednesday, January 22, 2020) ––The 2020 Washington Auto Show opens to the public and to “oohs and aahs” this week. More than 600 new cars will be on display, including some makes and models of all-electric vehicles that attendees can take out on the road for a test drive. New research from AAA finds that over five years and 75,000 miles of driving, the annual cost of owning a new compact electric vehicle is only slightly more expensive – about $600 annually – than its gas-powered counterpart.

 

The study also revealed that the experience of owning an electric vehicle eases one of the biggest fears associated with these cars – range anxiety. According to AAA’s survey, prior to owning an electric vehicle, a majority of owners (91%) said that they had at least one concern – things like insufficient range, implications for long-distance travel and finding a place to charge.

 

Post purchase, many of these worries disappeared. AAA believes that if consumers have a better understanding of the real cost and experience of owning an electric vehicle, then the gap between expressed interest and adoption will begin to close.

 

“Although 40 million Americans have shown interest in buying electric for their next car, actual adoption is happening at a much slower rate,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “AAA wanted to understand what kind of impact the experience of owning an electric vehicle has on perception of these cars and maybe more importantly, if given the chance would consumers choose to go green again.”

 

AAA’s survey of electric vehicle owners, 71% of whom had not previously owned an electric car, revealed some interesting results:

 

  • The majority (96%) say they would buy or lease another electric vehicle the next time they were in the market for a new car.
  • Two in five (43%) say the drive more now than when they owned a gas-powered car. On average, electric vehicle owners drive 39 miles per day.
  • Three quarters (78%) also have a gas-powered car in the household, yet they report doing a majority of their driving (87%) in their electric vehicle.

 

“Perhaps the most surprising result of the survey was the impact ownership has on commonly-held fears about electric vehicles, particularly those that have deterred consumers from making the leap to green,” noted John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “More than 1.18 million electric vehicles were on the road in the United States, as of March 31, 2019. Vehicle ownership, whether electric or gas-powered, is a personal choice that should take many factors into consideration.”

 

Previous AAA research has found that the top two reasons why Americans shy away from electric vehicles are not enough places to charge (58%) and the fear that they will run out of charge while driving (57%). Almost all owners surveyed (95%) report never having run out of a charge while driving and on average, they do three fourth (75%) of their charging at home. Likely as a result, those who were originally concerned about insufficient range said they became less or no longer concerned post-purchase (77%).

 

“Range anxiety has been synonymous with electric vehicles from the beginning,” said Brannon. “Hearing firsthand from owners that this is no longer a worry may change the mind of those who have otherwise been skeptical to the idea of owning an electric vehicle.”

 

Employing the same methodology used for its annual Your Driving Costs study, AAA calculated the costs for owning a new compact electric vehicle as compared to that of its gas-powered counterpart. Although the study found that overall cost of electric vehicle ownership is 8% more per year, individual categories such as fuel and maintenance/repair are lower.

 

  • Fuel – the electricity required to drive 15,000 miles per year in a compact electric vehicle costs an average of  $546, while the amount of gas required to drive the same distance costs $1,255 (or 130%) more.
  • Maintenance/Repair/Tires – electric vehicles do not require as much maintenance as gas-powered ones since they don’t need oil changes or air-filter replacements. If maintained according to the automakers’ recommendations, electric vehicles cost $330 less than a gas-powered car, a total of $949/annually.

 

EV sales in Maryland increased 94.17% from 2017 to 2018, from 3,244 units to 6,299 units. EV sales were up 117.43% in Virginia from 2017 to 2018, from 2,932 units to 6,375 units, reports EVAdoption. EV purchase and ownership increase 91.21% in the District of Columbia from 2017 (398 units) to 2018 (761 units). “The top 5 EV models account for nearly 60% of total EV sales,” according to the Edison Electric Institute.

 

For consumers who are interested in electric vehicles, AAA recommends visiting a dealership, test driving one and asking as many questions as possible to make an informed decision. Of course, Washington Metro Area consumers can also “kick the tires” of electric vehicles during the Washington Auto Show, advises AAA Mid-Atlantic. Showcasing makes and models from more than “three-dozen” manufacturers, the 2020 Washington Auto Show runs 10 days at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, from January 24 until February 2.

 

Methodology

The electric vehicle and internal combustion engine driving costs in this study were established using the proprietary methodology employed for AAA’s Your Driving Costs (YDC) project. The 2019 electric vehicle models selected for this study were:  Chevrolet Bolt (LT), Hyundai Ionic Electric (Base), Kia Soul EV (+), Nissan Leaf (SV) and Volkswagen eGolf (SE). The 2019 internal combustion engine vehicles selected for the comparison were:  Chevrolet Cruze (LS), Honda Civic (LX), Hyundai Elantra (SE), Nissan Sentra (SV) and Toyota Corolla (SE). This methodology models the purchase of a new vehicle for personal use over a period of five years and 75,000 miles. A copy of the 2019 AAA Your Driving Costs brochure with the latest study results is available at https://bit.ly/35I5GG8.

 

The survey of electric vehicle owners was conducted using a consumer panel maintained by a third-party electric vehicle research firm. The online panel consists of more than 40,000 electric vehicles owners, weighted to balance drivers by vehicle type, make and model. In total, 1,090 surveys with plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners were completed during a 24-hour period on October 1, 2019.

 

 

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Washington, D.C. Mailing Address:
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Washington, DC 20005

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and nearly 82,000 members in the District of Columbia.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit  http://aaa.com

TEDx Wilmington Salon

Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.

This event had:

  • 12 live talks given by 13 speakers
  • 368 people in attendance at the live event
  • More than 7,500 viewed the event online through Livestream, viewing events, and on the AAA Associate network
  • Online viewers came from all 50 states and approximately 30 countries around the world

View a slideshow from the event

This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA

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