Canadians aren’t that confident in EVs and self-driving technology: Study

According to a recent survey by J.D. Power which attempts to measure the “pulse of market readiness and acceptance for self-driving and battery-electric vehicles”, consumer beliefs haven’t changed in over 20 years.

The J.D. Power 2020 Q1 Mobility Confidence Index Study, which surveyed over 8,500 consumers and industry experts in the US and Canada, found that Canadian’s are not that excited about self-driving cars or EVs.

The survey calculates a Mobility Confidence Index, and it found that Canadian consumer confidence in self-driving vehicles decreased from 39 to 36. Similarly, the index for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) decreased from 59 to 57.

One of the key findings of the survey was that consumers are simply not aware and knowledgable about the advancements in self-driving and BEVs, resulting in a major roadblock for future adoption.

Self-Driving Vehicles

According to the survey, 75% of Canadian are worried about the technology behind self-driving cars, and believe that both the technology, and society in general, are not ready for it.

One of the chief concerns among those Canadians surveyed is how self-driving technology will handle the extreme winter conditions, when cameras and sensors can become blocked or obscured by snow and ice, rendering current technology useless.

Canadians are also worried about drivers becoming lazy behind the wheel, with them becoming dependant on the technology and driving skills becoming reduced as a result.

Consumers aren’t overly optimistic about when self-driving vehicles will actually become a reality. According to the survey, most believe it will be 18 years before it happens.

Battery Electric Vehicles

There is still a significant chunk of the Canadian population that has never been in a BEV, and most don’t know anything about them. According to the survey, 67% of respondents have never been in one, and only 19% know something about them.

That is borne out in the results from another part of the survey where one consumer talked about some of the common myths about EVs.

I like the idea of an electric powered vehicle, but at what cost? Once the batteries need replacement, how expensive are they? How do old electric car batteries affect the environment? Are they able to be recycled, or will they make the landfills even more toxic? Would I get an electric solar powered car? Yes. But wouldn’t they also need batteries and then be in the same situation?

On the downside, the survey also found that about 31% of Canadian consumers will not buy an EV as their next vehicle. But that figure was evened out by 31% who said their next purchase will likely be a BEV.

For all respondents, including those that currently own an EV, the biggest perceived barriers to BEVs are purchase price, range, and charging station availability. Surprisingly, those were the same 3 barriers when J.D. Power surveyed consumer interest in electric vehicles in 1997, showing that consumer knowledge is key to increasing BEV adoption rates.

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