Many People OK With EVs; They Just Don’t Want One

Ford’s 2024 Trend Report delves into EVs, anxiety levels and how people regard AI.

Steve Finlay, Senior Editor

February 26, 2024

3 Min Read
flags
Ford Trend Report surveyed 16,000 adults over age 18 in 16 countries.Getty Images

Forty-seven percent of people surveyed worldwide say more individuals should drive battery-electric vehicles, yet only 4% say they’re ready to own one, according to Ford’s 2024 Trend Report.

“It’s sort of do-as-I say,” Jennifer Brace, the automaker’s chief futurist, says during an online presentation of findings to the Society of Automotive Analysts.

The expectation is that more car buyers ultimately will consider buying an EV. But the latest annual report indicates many would-be buyers are waiting for the EV ownership base to grow.

Fifty-eight percent of men and 54% of women say they’re putting off buying an EV until more people own one.

Jen Brace.png

“But 69% said they expect to see an all-electric future,” Brace (pictured, left) says.

Nearly 79% of those polled say lack of a widespread charging network is a leading EV turnoff.

That feeling has stayed at a relatively steady percentage level over the years even though, as Brace notes, the charging infrastructure has improved. “The responses don’t reflect that, though.”

In its 12th year, the Ford Trend Report (https://corporate.ford.com/microsites/ford-trends-2024/index.html) surveyed 16,000 adults over age 18 in 16 countries. Brace emphasizes that the feedback was drawn from general populations, not necessarily people who are in the market for a vehicle.

Except for the EV feedback, the report focuses on non-automotive topics that nevertheless could affect car-buying behavior.

Those topics include people’s anxiety levels, efforts at balancing work with their personal lives and their views on artificial intelligence as an emerging force.

The aim of the report is to be “the start of a conversation,” Brace says.

The thinking is that Ford planners and strategists, particularly product developers, can use the report’s findings as a springboard  to their own specific deep-dive consumer research.

Here’s the feedback on other topics survey participants were asked about:

Artificial Intelligence

Sixty percent of them agree that by 2035 AI will become an essential part of their lives.But that doesn't mean they’re necessarily looking forward to it, or even understand it.

Fifty-one percent say they are afraid of AI. That’s up 11 percentage points from 2019, when the survey started asking about it.

Meanwhile, half of those surveyed say they don’t fully comprehend AI. That’s up six percentage points since 2019.

Nearly 70% say AI will create massive job losses but 39% think not for them. Fifty-five percent say AI will be stronger than the human mind in 10 years.

Anxiety

Yes, youthful angst is real. Sixty-one percent of young Gen Z members say they feel anxious at least once a week. Baby boomers apparently are more chilled out: 40% say they get anxious on a weekly basis.

“It’s typical for younger people to feel higher levels of stress,” Brace says.

Living in the digital age can contribute to stress. “Many people may realize they are more tethered to their devices than they like to be,” she says. That’s spurring some of them to try “digital detoxification,” such as a self-imposed device-free day.

Work-life balance

Many surveyed people apparently are good at seeking the right equilibrium, with 77% saying they’d forgo a job promotion to avoid an imbalance.

“That’s a pretty high number,” Brace says.

More than 50% say they’d take a pay cut to keep their work and personal lives in proper order. Few employers offer such a deal “but it shows what people are willing to give up.”

And despite those expressed artificial intelligence fears, 60% of respondents believe AI will help promote a healthy work-life balance.

About the Author(s)

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.