Even best electric vehicles of 2019 misunderstood by many

Americans think it’s more likely that most vehicles will be self-driving rather than electric by the end of the next decade.

But lack of knowledge of the two emerging technologies may be the reason.

Even the best electric vehicles of 2019 apparently are misunderstood by many consumers.

“Asked if most vehicles will be electric by 2029, only four in 10 [Americans] said yes,” wrote Ellen Edmonds of AAA after a survey of 1,000 adults age 18 or older. “A separate study AAA conducted earlier this year found that more than half of Americans believe that in this same timeframe most cars will have the ability to drive themselves – a reality that is much less likely to happen.”

Nissan LEAF among best electric vehicles of 2019
Photo: Nissan via Newspress USA
The SL version of the 2018 Nissan LEAF is a top pick among electric vehicles.

The annual survey, which tracks opinions about electric and hybrid vehicles, found that “while consumer interest remains steady, Americans may not have a solid understanding of electric vehicle performance.”

“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “But unlike other new vehicle technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action.”

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Meanwhile, objections to buying electric continue to ease, with concerns over the number of charging stations, running out of charge, cost of battery repair or replacement and purchase price trending down.

Based on the survey, AAA believes that 40 million Americans would be likely to consider an electric vehicle the next time they buy a vehicle, with millennials leading the pack. Concern for the environment and lower long-term costs remain the leading reasons to go green, AAA said. But survey respondents also cited cutting-edge technology and access to car pool lanes as pluses.

“These vehicles are a big part of the future of transportation since self-driving cars, when they do arrive, will likely be electric,” said Brannon. “The difference, of course, is that electric vehicles are already here, and with the advancements in style and range that have been made over the last few years, they have become an even more viable option for many Americans.”

Here are the vehicles the organization recommends for 2019:

AAA Green Car Awards

Overall: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE

Subcompact car: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt Premier

Compact car: 2018 Nissan LEAF SL

Midsize car: 2018 Tesla Model 3 RWD

Large car: 2018 tesla Model S P100D

Pickup truck: 2018 Ford F-150 4×4 Supercrew

SUV/minivan: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV 400 HSE

Best under $30,000: Toyota Camry SE

Best $30,000 to $50,000: 2018 Nissan Leaf SL

Best over $50,000: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE

These vehicles are rated on criteria that are most important to car buyers, according to AAA, including ride quality, safety and performance.

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