Washington, D.C.—Consumer demand for electric vehicles is surging, far outpacing supply, and automakers who fail to respond quickly to shifting preferences risk losing out on the market share, according to a new analysis from Consumer Reports (CR). In fact, 30% of licensed drivers in the market to buy or lease a new (and not a used) vehicle were not even considering a conventional gasoline vehicle, according to a CR nationally representative survey from 2022.
The analysis by CR comes as federal regulators prepare to release new emissions and efficiency standards for passenger cars and light trucks this spring. CR said strong standards would help ensure that automakers don’t fall too far behind rapidly growing consumer demand.
“It’s time for regulators and automakers to hit the accelerator on electric vehicle production,” said Chris Harto, senior energy policy analyst at CR. “Right now, even under the most aggressive announced plans to ramp up production, EV demand will not be satisfied for consumers who say they would definitely buy or lease one today until 2030.”
According to CR’s analysis, demand for electric vehicles increased 350% from 2020 to 2022. Harto expects that demand to continue to grow as the cost of EVs declines, infrastructure improves, options increase, and more consumers have direct experience with an EV. Without drastically increased supply, consumers could spend years on waitlists.
“Consumers can’t buy EVs that don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean they’ll buy a new conventional gasoline vehicle instead,” Harto said. “It’s called the Osborne Effect: consumers will hold off on purchasing a soon-to-be obsolete item and wait for a newer, better version. Automakers could end up with lots full of conventional gasoline cars and no buyers for them.”
Read the full analysis from Consumer Reports here.
Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports (CR) is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that works with consumers to create a fair and just marketplace. Known for its rigorous testing and ratings of products, CR advocates for laws and company practices that put consumers first. CR is dedicated to amplifying the voices of consumers to promote safety, digital rights, financial fairness, and sustainability. The organization surveys millions of Americans every year, reports extensively on the challenges and opportunities for today’s consumers, and provides ad-free content and tools to 6 million members across the U.S.