Study finds more than 40% of US EV buyers want to go back to combustion engines

  • McKinsey & Co. recently asked more than 30,000 consumers their thoughts on EVs
  • Somewhat surprisingly, four in ten American EV owners wouldn’t buy one again
  • This is largely due to poor charging infrastructure

Published on Jun 13, 2024 at 2:08 PM (UTC+4)
by Andie Reeves

Last updated on Jun 13, 2024 at 2:08 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

A study has shown that many EV buyers won’t be repeat customers.

According to McKinsey & Co.’s recent survey, 29% of EV buyers globally want to return to a combustion engine.

And the figure is even higher in the United States at 40%.

Consumers have several issues, including charging infrastructure, high owner costs, and range anxiety.

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The fact that four in ten American EV owners will make their next car a combustion engine came as a shock to Philipp Kampshoff, leader of McKinsey & Co.’s Center for Future Mobility.

“I didn’t expect that,” he told Automotive News.

“I thought, ‘Once an EV buyer, always an EV buyer.'”

The main worry for these car owners was the inadequate charging infrastructure currently in place, among other concerns.

The survey consisted of 200 questions asked to more than 30,000 consumers in 15 countries.

Why one in four Americans will replace their EV with a combustion engine

In short, electric owners are frustrated with how few charging stations are available in the US.

According to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are over 68,000 public charging stations with more than 184,000 individual charging ports.

Even with Tesla building giant Supercharger stations—including one that doubles as a drive-in diner and theatre—it’s not enough.

Additionally, both public and private stations aren’t as visible as traditional gas stations.

It’s normal to see signs for gas stations, but EV chargers can often be hidden behind malls or off the main roads.

And it’s not just the U.S. experiencing these issues: nine percent of respondents globally reported that their needs were not being met by the current charging infrastructure.

Meanwhile, 21% of combustion engine owners said they would never buy an electric vehicle, citing this as a major concern.

Owners stated that this has a negative impact on long-distance driving, as it causes range anxiety.

What does the future hold for EV buyers?

While these statistics might be surprising, consumers still seem keen to go green on the whole.

38% of combustion owners stated a plug-in hybrid or an EV would be their next car.

Just looking at how much gas money Tesla owners save is also pretty compelling, with one owner’s 12-month electricity bill coming to just $2.37.

Still, it’s clear better charging options are needed before consumers are fully satisfied.

Alternatively, you could move to Detroit, where an electrified road charges EVs as they drive.

Or even attach solar panels to the roof of your Tesla.

# Tags - Cars, EV


Andie Reeves

Andie is a content writer from South Africa with a background in broadcasting and journalism. Starting her career in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Andie has a broad portfolio, covering everything from sustainability solutions to celebrity car collections. When not at her laptop Andie can be found sewing, recording her podcast, taking board games too seriously or road-tripping in her bright green Kia.