Jun 22, 2023 - Economy

Latinos back EVs but majority are not interested in buying them

Share of Latinos who say they would buy or lease select vehicles
Data: Axios/Ipsos in partnership with Noticias Telemundo; OSPB; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

A majority of Latinos in a new survey say it's important to shift to electric vehicles to minimize climate change damage, but they expressed more interest in buying gas-powered cars over EVs.

Why it matters: Experts say that illustrates a lack of access to electric vehicles, which can be more expensive, as U.S. leaders push toward widespread adoption.

Details: The Axios Latino-Ipsos Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo showed that 57% of Latinos said they were interested in a gas-powered car or sedan as their next vehicle. That's the most of any category in the survey.

  • About 55% said they would consider a hybrid vehicle that does not need to be plugged in, and 54% said they wanted a gas-powered SUV.
  • Only 41% said they were interested in a plug-in hybrid or electric-only vehicle.

Yes, but: Approximately 60% of Latinos in the survey said it was more important to shift to renewable energy and electric vehicles, compared to 36% who said it's more important to protect the jobs of oil and energy industry workers.

  • "People know that shifting to renewable energy and electric vehicles will help reduce the emissions that are warming our planet, causing climate change,” Antonieta Cadiz, deputy executive director for Climate Power En Accíon, tells Axios.

The big picture: Latinos represent 18.7% of the U.S. population yet account for 24% of all car sales, according to Autoproyecto, a Spanish-language auto consumer website.

  • Hispanics account for only 12.4% of EV owners, according to data from S&P Global Mobility.

What they're saying: While Latinos think EVs are important to fighting climate change, they don't see them as accessible to them yet, Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson tells Axios Latino.

  • "Most Latinos don't know other people who have electric vehicles because they've been so expensive and so focused largely on wealthier white communities," says Republican consultant Mike Madrid, based in Sacramento, California.
  • "There's an unfamiliarity with them."

Between the lines: Widespread EV adoption hinges on the availability of charging stations, which is already an issue for people who live in communities of color.

  • An Axios analysis from earlier in the year found that EV chargers are easier to find in whiter, wealthier neighborhoods nationwide.

The intrigue: Madrid said Latinos also commute further to work and often use heavy vehicles for work purposes.

  • A car with a range of only 270 miles per charge and the lack of supercharging stations in suburban and rural areas creates anxiety over getting an EV, he said.

Of note: Ford, Toyota, Honda and GM aggressively engage Hispanic consumers with advertising and donations to Latino organizations, Ramiro Cavazos, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, tells Axios.

  • But Tesla, one of the best-known electric vehicle makers, has done little to engage Hispanic consumers and spends almost no money on advertising in any demographic.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Latino Poll, in partnership with Noticias Telemundo, was conducted June 2-9 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,116 Hispanic/Latino adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.

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