While high gas prices are certainly one of the reasons, Jesse Toprak, chief automotive analyst at Autonomy, an electric vehicle subscription company, said the new interest is being spurred by a combination of things. .
“It’s a direct reaction to high gas prices, and on top of that, we’re also seeing more and more electric vehicle models available for consumers to choose from,” Toprak told CNN. “So it’s a function of, I would say, primarily high gas prices, but also the availability of new EV products in the market.”
But that doesn’t mean people are actually buying.
Still, Toprak said Google Trends search is a good measure of consumer demand and is consistent with what his company has seen in recent weeks: increased inquiries and reservations for electric cars.
“We’re also seeing more and more customers wanting to inquire, even though they’ve been on the sidelines so far,” Toprak said. “There’s clearly an interest in consumers trying to figure out, ‘is this a better alternative for me?'”
“The fluctuation in fuel prices, combined with a lot of the increased promotion from automakers around electric vehicles, has really sparked more interest,” Hanson told CNN. “It’s really the first step; there’s still a long way to go to familiarize people with electric vehicles. It’s good that we are seeing research and I hope it helps educate people and convince them it’s a good idea.”
It’s not just electric vehicles; people are looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles in general, including hybrids and compact cars, sales of which soared earlier this year, according to Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Cox Automotive.
“Inventory is very low and a lot of the new models coming out are reserved and sold out,” Krebs told CNN.
“We thought it would be better by the end of this year, but we didn’t have a war on the agenda,” she added. “So we’ve reduced our guidance for this year because we thought supply would be better, but there’s too much supply chain disruption right now.”
Given the speed at which the climate crisis is accelerating, Toprak said he hopes record gasoline prices will give consumers “an extra push and extra impetus” to switch to electric vehicles, which which will allow change to happen much faster than expected.
But there’s also another option for going electric and avoiding those pesky supply chain issues: e-bikes.
“People tend to think they’re traveling much further on each trip than they actually are,” said Hanson, who owns an e-bike. “I think e-bikes can be a bit of a gateway to electric transportation more generally. And I think the supply chain issues are less dramatic on these e-bikes than they are with electric cars. .”
As more people use “electric cars” in their Google searches, Hanson hopes consumers will also learn the benefits of having an electric bike along the way.
“It makes sense from a climate perspective, from a public health perspective, from an energy security perspective — there are so many benefits to making this transition,” she said. “I certainly hope it’s something that can push him over the edge.”