A few years ago, automakers started to roll out elaborate plans to convert their lineups to battery-electric vehicles. Some even set deadlines for ending gas-powered car production. But many are now reevaluating the future. Sales are slowing for some and not others, consumer interest is waning, and now nearly half of EV owners in America might switch back to gas. What is going on?

McKinsey & Co.’s 2024 Mobility Consumer Pulse study reveals that 46 percent of EV owners in the United States, well above the worldwide average of 29 percent, want to switch to gasoline cars because of the inadequate charging infrastructure. Thirty-five percent of global respondents said the public network isn’t good enough yet. Thirty-four percent said EV ownership costs remain too high, while 32 percent said EVs impacted their driving patterns too much on long trips.

Country % Likely to Switch Back to Gas
Australia 49%
United States 46%
Brazil 38%
China 28%
Germany  24%
Norway 18%
France 18%
Italy 15%
Japan 13%

The US charging network is growing, which could eliminate these hurdles for owners. As of May, the US had 183,000 public EV chargers, but there still aren’t enough. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021 allocated $5 billion in grants toward building fast chargers, but the rollout is taking forever due to a myriad of local, state, and federal regulations and consumer needs.

Other reasons owners gave as to why they might switch back include the inability to charge at home (24 percent), the stress of worrying about charging (21 percent), and charging mobility requirements (16 percent). Only 13 percent said they did not enjoy the driving experience. Some people just enjoy driving a combustion car, like 18 percent of US respondents and 28 percent in Germany.

The study also reveals why automakers seem so disjointed from one another in their EV efforts. Growth and the desire to switch back aren’t equal worldwide, and some markets are converting faster than others, putting automakers in a difficult position of attempting to cater to wildly varying needs across the globe.

Shockingly, Americans aren’t the most eager to switch back to gas. In Australia, a country known for its vast interior, 49 percent of EV owners are considering returning to the pump. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Japan, where only 13 percent of owners might return to a combustion-powered vehicle. Other countries below the worldwide average include Italy (15 percent), France (18 percent), Germany (24 percent), and China (28 percent). Brazil joins the US and Australia above the average at 38 percent. ¬†

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Last Update: June 27, 2024

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