Electric cars

Google seeks record electric vehicles in March

Google seeks record electric vehicles in March

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.

Many are probably exploring the costs and benefits of these handsome, electric cars. Electric vehicles are still too expensive for many American households. And rather than shelling out even more money up front, many consumers tend to stick with their current vehicles for as long as they last.

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?'”

Along with high gas prices and growing worries about climate change, marketing likely also played a big role in the recent spike in interest, said Melinda Hanson, co-founder of strategy firm Electric Avenue. During the recent Super Bowl, for example, major automakers including BMW and General Motors unleashed a flurry of electric vehicle ads.

“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.

The problem, Krebs said, is that the supply of electric vehicles is currently limited, which many people who search for electric vehicles on Google probably discover. Just as combustion cars need gasoline, electric cars need batteries; but due to supply chain issues, the materials critical to making these batteries, including lithium, nickel and cobalt are in short supply.

“Inventory is very low and a lot of the new models coming out are reserved and sold out,” Krebs told CNN.

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“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.”