Public Resource
Survey Shows Pathway To Speeding Up EV Adoption in Rural Areas
Maria Cecilia Pinto de Moura. Union of Concerned Scientists

There is plenty of interest in electric vehicles (EVs) in rural areas, but there is a huge knowledge gap about what it is like to own an EV. In a nationally representative 2020 survey, across urban, suburban and rural areas, 4% of the respondents with valid driver’s licenses said they would definitely plan to get an EV for their next vehicle. In the latest survey, which was fielded in early 2022, this share has increased from 4% overall to 11% in rural areas and 18% in urban areas. An additional 18% of rural dwellers and 25% of urban dwellers would seriously consider buying or leasing an EV if they were to get a vehicle today. When considering respondents who would definitely plan and seriously consider (not including those who are open to getting one in the future), this adds up to 29% of rural drivers who would at least seriously consider buying or leasing an EV. Among rural dwellers, only 6% said they were very familiar with the fundamentals of buying and owning an EV, while 30% said they were somewhat familiar. One of the reasons for this lack of familiarity could be the scarcity of EVs in rural areas: only 27% of rural dwellers have seen an EV in their neighborhood in the past month compared to more than half of urban dwellers, and even fewer have a friend, relative or co-worker who owns an EV. A whopping 90% of rural dwellers have never been a passenger in an EV, and almost nobody has ever driven one.