Canadian perception on EVs and self-driving cars unaltered by pandemic

An updated study from J.D. Power shows the COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted how Canadians view electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving cars.

In May J.D. Power published their 2020 Q1 Mobility Confidence Index Study which surveyed over 8,500 consumers and industry experts in the US and Canada. It was conducted before the pandemic hit North America, and was done to measure the “pulse of market readiness and acceptance for self-driving and battery-electric vehicles.”

At that time, 67% of respondents have never been in an EV, and only 19% knew something about them.

When it came to self-driving cars, 75% of Canadians were worried about the technology, and believed both the technology, and society in general, were not ready for it.

Fast forward to Q3, and perceptions haven’t changed much since then. The percentage of Canadians that have never been in a EV increased slightly to 68%, while the number that claims to know nothing about them increased slightly to 23%.

Of those who had never been in an EV, 51% said they have a “very low to no likelihood” of buying or leasing one.

To increase EV adoption, the study found the majority of Canadians (79%) want a range of 450km or more. Americans want even more, with 78% saying 482km (300 miles) would be sufficient.

Almost half of the respondents in both the US and Canada were also concerned with how long it takes to charge, saying 15 minutes for a 300km charge is a minimum requirement. This is despite the majority of EV charging being done at home where you simply plug in when you get home and you have a “full tank” in the morning.

The prospects for self-driving cars among “industry experts” has decreased, with 38% saying the future is not as bright since the pandemic. The reason for the shift was due to the pandemic, which they said forced automakers to “delay development of self-driving systems” and instead focus on EVs.

Consumers are still as apprehensive about self-driving cars, with 73% of Canadians surveyed (68% in the US) worried about the possibility of the vehicle being hacked.

Source: J.D. Power

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