Higher purchase cost than regular cars is one of the reasons why electric vehicles are still struggling to break out of their niche, with auto industry observers expecting them to remain so until there is a significant improvement in battery technology. That’s why auto industry analysts have always considered EV owners to be a niche group, who have been thought to be more affluent than regular-car buyers. Now, there is finally some hard data on the demographics of EV buyers, confirming what analysts have been claiming for years – buyers of green vehicles are wealthier than their conventional-car buying counterparts.
According to a study recently conducted by the automotive information website TrueCar.com, buyers of electric cars have a higher income than those who buy comparable internal combustion engine vehicles. What’s more, the study found that EV buyers are younger, as well.
Researchers compared the incomes of buyers of an electric and gasoline-powered model of the same car, and discovered a substantial discrepancy. The study shows that the average buyer of a regular Ford Focus was 46 years old and had a household income of $77,000 per year, as compared to the an annual household income of $199,000 for the average, 43-year-old owner of Ford Focus electric.
Buyers of small cars were also compared, with researchers finding that the average household income for those who have bought a Fiat 500 was $73,000, with an average age of 47, whereas Fiat 500e owners have an average income of $145,000, averaging age 45. In addition to revealing the significant difference in terms of age and financial levels between EV owners and conventional-car owners, the study also shows that EV buyers are trying to get a good deal more often than their counterparts. Researchers say that as much as 82% of those who bought a Ford Focus Electric, did that because of a good deal, as compared to only 50% of buyers of the conventional Ford Focus.
Pretty much the same situation was found among buyers of the Fiat 500 and the Fiat 500e. About 52% of Fiat 500 buyers said that they were attracted by rebates and discounts offered by the dealership, whereas 67% of Fiat 500e owners bought their cars because they were offered a good deal.
These are really affluent folks,” said TrueCar President John Krafcik, in a statement for USA Today. And one of the ways they got that way was by searching for bargains. “It’s their psyche.”
These findings are yet another proof that high purchase cost is among the leading factors behind worse-than-expected sales of electric cars over the past couple of years, and confirm once again that EVs won’t be able to become mainstream before electric vehicle technology gets considerably more affordable.