Expand chart
Data: Survey Monkey poll conducted May 22-24, 2018. Poll methodology; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Fourteen percent of U.S. adults say they're either "extremely" or "very" likely to go electric with their next car purchase or lease, while a combined 62% said they would probably steer clear, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll. Another 23 percent said they were "somewhat likely" to get an electric car.

Why it matters: Even though most of the public is still wary of electric cars, the findings actually show that electric car sales have room to grow massively in the U.S. — because even the small percentages of people who say they're interested suggest a market far bigger than the people who buy electric vehicles now.

One level deeper: Sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars in the U.S. last year were close to 200,000 combined. That's a little more than 1 percent of the country's roughly 17 million auto sales.

That means if the preferences revealed in the survey begin translating into actual consumer behavior in coming years, sales that are already growing are poised to expand greatly.

  • “Those numbers actually tell us that, given the level of education of the market as it is now, there is still quite a lot of space to grow for electrification,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Salim Morsy tells Axios.

Yes, but: There are still plenty of factors that can prevent pro-electric consumers from making the leap, including limits on vehicle availability in some regions, the number of models to choose from and many other factors that influence decisions.

The poll also reveals several other views about electric vehicles. A few takeaways:

  • Among the people who might go electric with their next vehicle, 73 percent of respondents selected environmental benefits as one of the reasons and 72 percent cited savings on gasoline.
  • Thirty-six percent said the convenience of home charging could be a reason to buy electric.

The catch: 15 percent of respondents likely to purchase an electric vehicle would like to be able to drive 300 miles before re-charging, and 40 percent would like to go 350 miles.

  • That signals a potential hurdle to widespread consumer adoption of pure electrics, because vehicles priced for the mass-market don't go that far.
  • For instance, the base model Nissan Leaf has a 150-mile range, the Chevy Bolt is listed at 238 miles, and the base model Tesla Model 3 — which is not yet available — has a 220-mile range.

Methodology: This Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted May 22-24, 2018 among 2,586 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is 3 percentage points. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.

Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. Crosstabs available here.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

8 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been highly influential in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!