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Last updated: January 23, 2024

What Electric Vehicle Owners Learned (and Loved) About Shifting Away from Gas-Powered Cars

Thinking about switching to an electric car? A new owner satisfaction survey reveals EV and hybrid drivers are happier behind the wheel than those with gas-powered cars, despite a few key concerns.

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Hybrid and electric vehicle ownership has become increasingly popular in recent years, but electric cars are still relatively foreign to American consumers. After all, gas-powered vehicles have dominated the market for well over a century!

As electric and hybrid vehicles become increasingly popular, how are consumers adapting to all-new driving and fueling methods? What valuable insights can early adopters offer those contemplating a shift to electric mobility?

The research team at conducted a wide-reaching study of more than 1,000 EV and hybrid car owners to gauge the benefits they experienced and the challenges they faced behind the wheel. We discovered how many were pleased with their decision to ditch gas-powered cars, and what they wished they’d known before purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle.

Key Findings:

  • 95% of EV and hybrid car owners were satisfied with their current vehicles. By comparison, 89% of people with gas-powered cars were satisfied with their vehicles overall.
  • 55% of electric and hybrid vehicle owners said they’d recommend their car to family or friends. In contrast, only 31% of drivers with gas-powered cars would recommend their vehicles.
  • Despite the enthusiasm most EV and hybrid drivers had for their cars, they wished they’d known more about their cars’ charging issues, battery life, and the true costs of car ownership before purchasing.
  • The greatest challenges EV and hybrid owners faced were high battery replacement costs, limited range, and long charging times. The greatest benefits of owning an EV were lower operating costs, environmental benefits, and energy efficiency.
  • Tesla was by far the most popular electric car manufacturer in our study, followed by Chevrolet and Nissan. The most popular hybrid vehicle manufacturer was Toyota, followed distantly by Honda and Ford.

Across the Board, EV Drivers Are Happier Than Gas Car Drivers

Most drivers were highly satisfied with their EV and hybrid cars: 95 percent of hybrid and EV drivers were happy with their cars. Gas-powered car owners were slightly less enthusiastic about their cars, and about 89 percent of these drivers were satisfied with their vehicles overall.

The survey results revealed other distinct patterns in satisfaction levels among owners of electric, hybrid, and gas-powered cars across various features.

Percent of drivers satisfied with elements of car, by fuel type

Elements Electric Hybrid Gas**
Driving experience 96% 92% 88%
Design, comfort, and quality 93% 92% 87%
Reliability 92% 91% 85%
Safety features 92% 87% 80%
Technology features 90% 83% 62%
Ease of maintenance 85% 81% 77%
Cost of ownership 83% 84% 64%
Charging convenience 77% 66%
Range 73% 69% 81%
Resale value 61% 71% 50%
Overall satisfaction 95% 95% 89%
Average satisfaction across all factors 85% 83% 76%

**excludes N/As for charging and range

Electric car owners expressed the highest satisfaction with the driving experience, likely due to electric vehicles’ instant torque, smooth acceleration, and quiet operation. Though slightly lower, hybrid owners also reported a positive experience, possibly influenced by the dual power sources combining efficiency and performance. Gas-powered car owners, while generally content, may experience a comparatively conventional driving feel with slower acceleration.

Electric car owners also had high marks for their cars’ advanced safety features. Hybrid owners also valued safety features, albeit to a slightly lesser extent. While equipped with safety features, gas-powered cars may lag in terms of the latest innovations found in electric and hybrid models. This is reflected in the lower percentage of drivers satisfied with their cars’ safety features.

Interestingly, most drivers were satisfied with the cost of owning an EV or hybrid car. Though many shared they wished they’d known more about how much owning an EV would cost, most drivers are pleased with their out-of-pocket costs. In contrast, gas-powered car drivers were much less likely to express satisfaction with the cost of car ownership.

Based on your personal experience, what are the biggest benefits of alternative fuel vehicles? Percentage of EV owners Percentage of hybrid owners
Lower operating costs 43% 37%
Environmental benefits 41% 43%
Energy efficiency 37% 48%
High performance 31% 19%
Reduced dependence on fossil fuels 28% 40%
Quiet operation 21% 27%
Tax incentives 20% 13%
Improved air quality 17% 19%
Regenerative braking 14% 16%

Note: Respondents could select up to three benefits

Hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) owners see environmental advantages as one of the top three benefits. Hybrid owners were likelier to appreciate energy efficiency and reduced reliance on fossil fuels, while EV owners focused more on lower operating costs and tax incentives. These responses suggest that the environmental benefits advertised for hybrids and EVs become apparent when people own and use them.

However, tax incentives and credits remain confusing for many hybrid and EV owners. The ADFC provides a reference for state laws and incentives, while the IRS lays out the federal Clean Vehicle Tax Credits available to hybrid and EV owners. Though tax credits can help with the cost of ownership, only 20 percent of EV and 13 percent of hybrid respondents ranked tax incentives among the most significant benefits of ownership.

Downsides of Driving an EV or Hybrid

Our research also uncovered some of the biggest challenges of hybrid and EV ownership. EVs and hybrids suffered when considering charging convenience, range, and resale value. Some additional concerns that arose included high maintenance costs for specific brands, steep learning curves, and a fear that current EVs may depreciate rapidly due to the break-neck pace at which the segment continues to jet forward.

Based on your personal experience, what do you consider to be the biggest challenges or drawbacks of owning an electric or hybrid vehicle? Percentage of EV owners Percentage of hybrid owners
Battery replacement cost 38% 42%
Limited range 34% 25%
Long charging times 32% 23%
Charging infrastructure 30% 23%
Higher initial cost 30% 39%
Performance in extreme weather 21% 16%
Electricity source 18% 13%
Depreciation rate 14% 11%
Limited model choices 14% 18%
Towing and payload limitations 9% 7%

Note: Respondents could select up to three drawbacks

For electric owners in particular, long charging times was a pain point. About 59 percent of drivers in our study had cars that must be plugged in to charge, which can take several hours. While most people charge their cars at home, it’s possible that long charging times interfere with their schedules. Smaller numbers of people said they typically charged at retailers, hotels, or even friends’ houses. Long charging times could be highly inconvenient for those without their own at-home chargers.

Where do you typically charge your electric vehicle? Percentage with a plug-in vehicle
At home 83%
Public charging stations 45%
Charging network stations 18%
At work 18%
At retail locations 16%
At hotels or accommodation facilities 7%
At friends’ or family members’ homes 7%

Note: Respondents could select multiple locations

Despite these misgivings, promoters far outweighed those in opposition to recommending the particular hybrid or EV they owned to friends and family. Sixty-one percent of EV owners would recommend their vehicles, while 53 percent of hybrid owners would say the same. By comparison, only 31 percent of gas-powered car drivers would recommend their current vehicle. This shows EV and hybrid drivers are more enthusiastic about their cars than gas vehicle owners.

Percentage of car owners who would recommend their vehicle to family or friends

Percentage of car owners who would recommend their vehicle to family or friends

4 Things Drivers Wish They Knew Before Purchasing Electric Vehicles

Since electric cars are still relatively new to the market, it can be hard for customers to know everything about them before purchasing. To help shed light on the unknown, we asked EV and hybrid drivers to share what they wished they knew before they switched from gas cars. Then, we took their free responses and conducted a detailed text analysis to determine their most common concerns. The insights below, interwoven with electric vehicle statistics and resources, can help shed light on current challenges owners experience:

1. Owners wished they knew more about charging times and infrastructure

Among our research participants, three primary concerns regarding EV and hybrid charging frequently emerged. EV and hybrid owners wish they’d known more about how long charging took, the existing charger infrastructure, and the actual operating costs compared to gas-powered cars.

As the table shows, times for hybrid and EV charging drastically vary from refueling at the gas station. In a real-world setting, hours-long downtimes can severely impact travel plans. It’s one thing for travelers to map out refueling stops, but it’s quite another to research, locate, and incorporate charging stations.

Charger Type Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) with 8 kWh battery Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVS) with 60 kWh battery
Level 1 5 to 6 hours 40 to 50 hours
Level 2 1 to 2 hours 4 to 10 hours
Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) Unavailable 20 to 60 minutes

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation

Admittedly, Tesla’s rampant popularity claims much of the credit for establishing a network of 150,000 charging ports available nationwide. Many Tesla owners in our study felt more confident in charging station availability based on Tesla’s Supercharger network.

The cost of a Level 2 charger:

Level 2 chargers are very efficient, but the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) estimates they can cost up to $4,000, albeit before installation fees and local and federal incentives kick in.

2. They have concerns about how long their car batteries will last

If it’s not charging on the minds of hybrid and EV owners, it’s questions about their cars’ electric batteries. Many shared that they wonder how long batteries will last, how much they cost to replace, and what battery maintenance will entail over the life of their car.

EV batteries are responsible for determining real-world range, which can be more susceptible to external factors outside controlled laboratory tests. However, the U.S. Department of Energy AFDC assures electric vehicle owners that most manufacturers offer 8-year, 100,000-mile warranties on EV batteries. With the complex technology required to service EV batteries, visiting a dealership service center remains the only option.

Due to the developing nature of EV technology, much is yet unknown regarding replacement costs and longevity. The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy reported earlier this year that the costs of manufacturing EV batteries dropped between 2008 and 2022. However, RepairPal reports that the cost of a Toyota Prius Prime replacement battery still hovers around $10,000 — nearly a third of the manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing (MSRP).

3. They didn’t know the true cost of EV/hybrid ownership

The draw of potential fuel savings and tax incentives remains irresistible for many hybrid and EV owners. However, several study participants expressed concern regarding the opaqueness of the trust cost of EV ownership.

Several resources exist to calculate the fuel efficiency of a gas versus electric car to help consumers determine whether gas or electric vehicles are cheaper. Typically, it costs about $60 a month to charge electric cars, which is less than fueling many gas-powered vehicles.

>> Also see: Gas vs. Electric Vehicles: Which Costs Less?

Though fuel costs are often lower, other electric car ownership costs add up quickly. Generally, the annual cost of full coverage car insurance for a hybrid or electric vehicle is higher than for a traditional car. EVs and hybrids are also more expensive to repair, and trained mechanics are harder to find. It’s important for owners to factor in all of these costs before determining if an EV or hybrid is best for them.

4. They wished they’d had more information about their cars’ features and performance

A clear divide is emerging among hybrids and electric vehicles between simpler models and those with more luxurious features. Different brands maintain consistent design elements, comfort levels, and extra features that reflect their overall identity. However, certain brands prioritize technological advancements, sometimes at the expense of basic creature comforts.

Today, EVs are available at nearly every price point. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is among the most affordable on the market today, starting at around $27,000. However, its low price point reflects its simplicity and small size. On the other end of the spectrum, the Rolls Royce Spectre EV costs around $400,000 and has luxurious features such as four-wheel steering, digital screen instrumentation, and even umbrellas embedded in the doors.

Most Popular EV and Hybrid Makes

Approximately two in three of our research participants owned hybrid cars and about a third owned EVs. These drivers represented a wide range of domestic and imported automobile makers.

The most popular hybrid vehicle make in our study was Toyota, followed distantly by Honda, Ford, and Hyundai. Tesla was by far the most popular electric car in our study, followed by Chevrolet and Nissan.

Forty-seven percent of hybrid and EV owners shared their plans to maintain ownership of their vehicles for more than a decade. This commitment may come as a shock, especially with brand-new Teslas showing up in junk yards. However, as federal law mandates, the prevalence of generous battery warranties may urge consumers to account for long-term ownership when considering these vehicle types.

Our research indicates that brand reputation and model-specific attributes play a significant role in hybrid and EV owners recommending a particular vehicle. For example, survey respondents largely trusted brands such as Toyota, Honda, and Tesla, even going so far as to associate perceived maintenance levels, value, and reliability with that particular automotive manufacturer. In addition, a trend emerged suggesting a lack of knowledge surrounding specific make and model pairings, but that’s a phenomenon hardly isolated to hybrid and EV ownership.


With the rigorous car emissions standards set out by a recent EPA EV proposal, the demand for hybrid and electric vehicles remains high. Similarly, EV and hybrid owners’ enthusiasm for their vehicles is soaring, especially compared to the attitudes of people driving gas-powered cars.

Studies like the one we performed continue to demonstrate resources well-spent by automotive manufacturers in embracing an electrified future and gaining consumer approval. Nevertheless, the long-term sustainability of personal transportation remains a shared burden of electric and gas-powered vehicles alike, at least for now.


In November 2023, researchers at conducted a web-based poll of 1,017 drivers of electric or hybrid cars. 95% of drivers owned or financed their cars and 5% leased their cars. 32% of respondents had electric vehicles and 68% had hybrid vehicles.

In January 2024, researchers conducted a second poll of 502 gas-powered car drivers so they could compare satisfaction levels between gas and electric/hybrid cars.

Across both surveys, 50% of drivers were women and 50% were men. Their ages ranged from 18 to 82 with a median of 39. 73% were white, 10% Black, 9% Asian, 6% multiracial, and 1% were of another ethnicity or chose not to specify.

To determine the percentage of respondents who’d recommend their vehicle to friends or family, researchers used a Net Promoter Score. They asked the following question: “On a scale of 0 – 10, how likely are you to recommend this vehicle to your friends and family, with 0 0 being not at all likely and 10 being extremely likely?” Those who responded with a 9 or 10 were counted as those who’d recommend their cars.