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Electrified cars interest more than ever, self-driving cars scare, study says

A study looked at 35,000 people around the world, and the results were conclusive.

Plugs aren't so scary, guys, I promise.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

We're in a new decade, folks, and one thing seems certain: electrification is the name of the game. As automakers look to pump out more efficient sets of wheels, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and purely electric cars are the name of the game.

Corresponding with the shift in automakers' resources is a positive shift in consumer sentiment, too. Deloitte, an accounting and professional services firm, showed in a new study released last week that more Americans than ever are interested in electrified cars. Not only Americans, but people around the world are more interested, except China. For some reason, interest dropped locally there, according to the study's findings. 

The study looked at 35,000 consumers from around the world and tallied their responses. In the six major countries it looked at (the company conducted the study in 20 countries), each population suggested they're more interested in an electrified car for their next vehicle. The US, in particular, saw a major jump from 29% in 2018, to 41% in 2019. Keep in mind, these are snapshots of each country.

What's still rather marginal is the percentage of consumers keen on a purely electric car. In the US, it's a measly 8%. The gains in interest largely came from a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle. Unsurprisingly, EV range remains a hurdle for consumers. The majority of Americans said an EV should have at least 200 miles of range. Many popular EVs do, in fact, sport a 200-plus mile range, which leads us to other hurdles like charging and the initial purchase price.

On the flip side of things, the study also looked at self-driving cars and autonomous technology. Here, it wasn't a very rosy picture. Almost half of Americans in the survey said "autonomous cars will be unsafe" and over two-thirds said they weren't very comfortable with commercial vehicles driving themselves on the highway.

Perhaps the most telling part of the study was the value this kind of technology may, or may not, add. The results shows 58% of Americans in the study wouldn't pay more than $500 for totally autonomous technology. The systems used to trial fully autonomous cars today cost far more than $500. Heck, options packages with mild driver-assist technologies cost more than $500.

Clearly, the public needs time to understand self-driving cars. In the meantime, electrification is most certainly winning its battle.

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