What do Americans Think About Electric Vehicles?

Climate Change

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Jon Krosnick, Stanford University

Jon Krosnick is a professor of communication, political science, and psychology at Stanford University. He is known for his research on survey methodology, public opinion, and political psychology, and has published numerous articles and books on these topics. Krosnick is also the director of the Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford, which conducts research on political attitudes, decision-making, and communication strategies. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association.

Why do some have strong opinions on climate change without being directly impacted?

Self-interest can play a significant role in issue-based policy. People may support or oppose policies based on how they believe those policies will affect them personally. For example, a person may support a policy that would lower taxes for their income bracket, even if the policy may not be in the best interest of society as a whole, because it would benefit them financially. Similarly, a person may oppose a policy that would negatively impact their industry or profession, even if it would benefit society overall.

People may have strong opinions on climate change without being directly impacted for a number of reasons. One reason is that they may perceive that they will be impacted in the future, even if they are not currently being affected. Climate change is a long-term global problem that will affect future generations and people may want to take action to prevent future harm.

Another reason is that people may have moral or ethical concerns about climate change, even if it does not directly impact them. Climate change is often seen as a social justice issue, as it disproportionately affects marginalized communities and low-income countries. People may feel a sense of responsibility to address climate change as a moral issue, regardless of whether it directly affects them.

Why are some people not choosing Electric Vehicles?

For most of us, our transportation needs are currently being met by our existing modes of transportation. Until a vehicle completely breaks down, people start making choices on what to shift their vehicle needs toward. But, are people choosing EVs as their next vehicle?

For some, there are specific features they like: big screens, latest technology or a quieter ride. An EV will satisfy these needs very easily and the shift will be easier for some based on these specific needs.

While EVs may have a higher upfront cost compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, they can offer a number of benefits that make them an attractive option.

One of the main benefits of EVs is lower operating costs. EVs have fewer moving parts than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, which means they require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan. Additionally, the cost of electricity is typically lower than the cost of gasoline, which means that it is cheaper to power an EV over the long term.

Another benefit is that EVs produce zero emissions, which makes them a more environmentally-friendly option than traditional vehicles. This can be particularly important for people who are concerned about the environment and want to reduce their carbon footprint.

Do “Unicorn Events” Like Battery Fires, Play a Role in Purchasing an EV?

“Unicorn events” are rare or unusual events that can capture the public’s attention and shape public attitudes. These events can include natural disasters, major accidents, or high-profile crimes, and they can have a significant impact on public opinion and perceptions.

Battery fires can be a concern for some people when considering the purchase of an electric vehicle (EV). However, it’s important to note that EVs have a very low incidence of battery fires compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of a vehicle fire in an EV is less than 1/10th of the risk in a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Battery fires in EVs are extremely rare and are usually caused by external factors such as collisions, overcharging or charging with damaged charging equipment. Additionally, most EV manufacturers have implemented safety features such as thermal management systems and fail-safes to prevent and contain fires.

Despite these facts, battery fires can be a concern for some potential EV buyers, as they may not be fully informed about the safety of EVs and may have misconceptions about the risk of battery fires. Media coverage of battery fires in EVs can also contribute to this perception, even though it is not always proportional to the actual incidence of fires.

Is there a Rural/Urban Divide on Attitudes to Electric Vehicles?

Some research suggests that there may be a rural-urban divide in attitudes towards EVs. Studies have found that people who live in urban areas tend to have more positive attitudes towards EVs than those who live in rural areas.One reason for this divide may be that urban residents are more likely to be exposed to information about EVs and have more opportunities to see and test drive them. Urban areas also tend to have more charging infrastructure, making it easier for urban residents to own and use an EV.

Rural residents may be more likely to rely on their vehicles for long-distance travel, which can make them more likely to be concerned about the range of EVs and the availability of charging stations. Additionally, rural areas are less likely to have the same level of incentives and subsidies for EV purchase and use that urban areas do.