March 22, 2024 7:00am

Ready for an electric car?

Power Poll members are divided about whether and why to go electric

Photo of David Waters
Memphis, TN Correspondent

Sales of electric cars are rising. Sale prices for electric cars are falling. And the Memphis metro area is poised to become a leading manufacturer of all-electric vehicles and batteries.

Do any of those facts make Memphis Power Poll members more likely to pump the brakes on gas guzzlers, plug in and recharge?

Yes and no.

In the March Power Poll, 79 percent of respondents said the most recent vehicle they purchased was gas-powered. Twelve percent said they'd bought a hybrid, and seven percent an all-electic vehicle.

But nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said they definitely or probably will buy a fully or partially electric vehicle in the near future.

On the other hand, 44 percent said they definitely or probably won't.

In either case, 74 percent of respondents say their decision won't be impacted by the multi-billion-dollar BlueOval City project under construction in nearby Haywood County. But 22 percent said it does make them more inclined to buy electric.

The $5.6 billion BlueOval City campus, being built about 15 miles from the Shelby County line, figures to have a huge economic impact on Memphis and much of West Tennessee.

Backed by a $9 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, Ford and its partner SK Innovation plan to hire 6,000 workers to manufacture electric trucks and EV batteries on the site. Production is scheduled to begin next year. The companies are building another battery plant in Kentucky.

Electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for 16 percent of new car sales in the U.S. last year. Sales have increased every year since 2020. Meanwhile, new electric car prices have dropped $2,000 in the U.S. in recent weeks, in part because demand has slowed.

Memphis Poll members are divided on what factors would most influence their decision to buy hybrid or electric.

Forty-two percent said "access to charging stations" was the biggest factor. So far, there are five times more gas pumps than charging stations in America.

Other factors that would influence Power Poll members to trade gas for electric are personal preference, impact on climate change, and gas prices.

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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