Why are Some California Consumers Abandoning Electric Vehicle Ownership?

California has set an ambitious goal of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035. Most consumer research to date has focused on understanding the factors influencing the initial purchase of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). But for the market introduction of PEVs, which include both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), to be successful, subsequent vehicle purchases by initial adopters need to continue to be PEVs rather than conventional vehicles. Discontinuance, the act of abandoning a new technology after once being an adopter, could make achieving California’s goal more challenging.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis surveyed California PEV buyers two to seven years after they first purchased their electric vehicle to understand whether they have continued to choose PEVs with subsequent purchases, and if not, what factors may have led to their discontinuance of the technology. This policy brief summarizes the findings from that research and provides policy implications.