One Big Problem With the EV Landscape? People Want Sedans.

A recent Edmunds study shows unexpected demand for electric sedans

Volkswagen ID.7
Volkswagen's ID.7 is one of a small number of electric sedans out there.

Among this week’s automotive news was a worrying dispatch from Michigan, in which Ford revealed that demand for its electric F-150 Lightning pickup was lower than expected and the automaker was cutting production on the model accordingly. If you were inclined to play pundit for a moment, there are countless factors you could cite, from a possible backlash to EVs to a lack of charging options. But maybe there’s a simpler explanation: car buyers are still very open to EVs, just in different vehicle classes.

That’s the big takeaway from a new Edmunds survey, which Jonathan M. Gitlin reported on for Ars Technica. Of the people surveyed, 43% were interested in buying an EV sedan, followed by 42% with interest in buying an electric SUV. Fewer potential buyers were considering electric trucks or minivans.

To put it mildly, there’s a gulf between interest in EV sedans and the availability of EV sedans in the United States (or, as one Reddit user phrased it a year ago, “Electric Sedans in the US, do they exist?”) The Edmunds survey also revealed another issue that’s likely slowing adoption of SUVs: potential buyers are looking for affordable options.

Of the people surveyed by Edmunds, Gitlin reports that 47% were looking to spend $40,000 or less on an EV. Finding an electric vehicle in the United States for less than $40,000 isn’t easy, though that category looks like it’s expanding.

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The interest in electric sedans from U.S. auto buyers does create an opportunity for the automakers that have embraced that category. Last year, when I spoke with Volkswagen Passenger Cars CEO Thomas Schäfer about the announcement of the ID.7, he argued that VW’s own electric sedan “could be an advantage now with the competition — or the missing competition.”

The release of this Edmunds survey data confirms he was on to something. Will other automakers catch up?

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