As we look back on 2021, we can say that it was another tremendous year for EV adoption despite setbacks from a continued pandemic and supply chain shortages. Looking ahead to 2022, an arsenal of new EVs are in the pipeline, offering a strong prospect of the most successful year for EVs yet. With gas prices going up and EV prices going down, many new consumers are looking to go green ASAP. But how many American’s truly plan to drive an EV next year? In the next ten years? How many never plan to drive an EV in their lifetime? All these questions have been answered in a recent report from car insurance brokerage app, Jerry. Here are some of the results.

How the data was gathered

Before we dig into the details of the data below, it’s important to recognize where it came from.

Jerry is an app that utilizes AI and machine-learning to compare car insurance rates based on your individual needs and driving habits. The app can contact your current insurance provider and get the info. it needs to compare it against the rest of the market. Essentially, Jerry can operate as a licensed insurance broker to find you the most appropriate coverage.

In speaking to over 1.5 million customers, Jerry has analyzed data to comprise a summary of car-related trends, including the adoption of new automotive technology, and current driving culture. The 2022 State of the American Driver report compiled its data from a national survey of 1,250 Americans in December of 2021.

The survey respondents consisted of US consumers aged 16-75 that drive at least once per week. The age groups were broken down as Gen Z (ages 16-24), Millennials (25-40), Gen X (41-56), and Baby Boomers (57-75).

EV adoption is on the rise

If you frequent Electrek, you’re already quite aware of the factors already in place to speed up global EV adoption, whether its legislative, private, or simply cultural. While we still have a long way to go, EV adoption is growing, especially with the younger generations growing up and spending money.

According to the report from Jerry, 1 in 10 Americans (8%) were already driving an EV at the end of 2021. Furthermore, Gen Z drivers are apparently the most likely to be driving an EV at 18%, followed by millennials (11%), Gen X (4%) and the Boomers (1%).

Larger sample sizes show a smaller percentage of EVs on American roads, but the trajectory remains upward. EVs also make up a larger portion of new vehicle sales too, so the future remains bright. Especially since according to Jerry’s report, 50% of Americans expect to be driving an EV in the next ten years.

Some Americans however, have a much less optimistic outlook on their personal EV adoption plans.

how many Americans drive EV
Source: Jerry / 2022 State of the American Driver

Gauging American interest on how many plan to drive an EV

This next section is where things get a bit more interesting… and confusing. According to the report, 32% of Americans surveyed said they plan to drive gas vehicles forever.

Those stubborn Baby Boomers right? Not quite. In reality, almost a quarter of Gen Z respondees said they don’t expect to ever drive an EV despite having the most life ahead of them. Psshh, and people are always blaming the Millennials for everything.

Speaking of Millennials, they’re leading the pack on EV adoption with 47% reporting plans for their next vehicle to be all-electric. Second on the list? Gen Z at 41% (make up your mind gang). Gen X and the Boomers cap off the list with 38% and 28% of EV interest respectively.

Why the new EV interest from American drivers?

Jerry’s answer may surprise you… or maybe not. According to its survey data, 41% of Americans said the main reason they’re interested in buying an EV to drive is gas savings. 63% said they’re already driving less often and at shorter distances due to rising fuel costs.

What was refreshingly surprising was that Baby Boomers were the only generation to choose concern for the environment as their top motivation to buy an EV. That reason was 38% compared to 37% citing savings on gas. Hey, we’ll take it.

Gen Z had the most generationally accurate answer, as it was the only group whose top reason to drive an EV (32%) was because they’re “cool”. They are cool Gen Z, but so is eliminating fossil fuels. Think of how many TikTok dances you can do in front of your EV while it charges?

Autonomous driving is a less surprising “no” for Americans

When Americans surveyed were asked about a future in which they could drive an autonomous EV, 41% believe they will never do so. Conversely, 39% of Americans think they will be using the self-driving technology in the next ten years. Nearly one-third of Gen Z expects to utilize the tech in the next five years.

As you can see from the chart above, it is the older generations that are reluctant to adapt to the prospect of autonomous driving led by 65% of Baby Boomers. Many of you were born before seatbelts were required by law, so you’re probably safe in an autonomous vehicle… definitely buckle up though.

Electrek‘s take

The first obvious factor to point out in this study is the minuscule sample size the data was pulled from. While the overall generational responses can certainly represent the American people on the whole to an extent, 1,250 consumers cannot speak for the rest of the United States.

However, even as an exercise in EV adoption data at the bare minimum, the generational gaps in the report spotlight some public discourse amongst Americans when it comes to EVs.

The specific percentages of the data should by no means be taken as gospel, but the priorities and shared reasoning behind the answers of those surveyed remain a major tell of where our population stands in regard to how many Americans plan to drive an EV… whether its in 2022 or 2032… or ever.

One thing does remain clear both inside this report and out – Overall EV knowledge is spreading, conversations are continuing, and adoption is inevitable for those with the most time left to drive.

We now look to 2022 to further accelerate these adoption trends, drive “cool” EVs, and battle climate change.

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