Drivers more ready to give up the gas pump than the steering wheel: Ipsos

Giving up the gas pump is far more popular than the thought of giving up the steering wheel, says a new report from Ipsos. Though automakers have talked about electric vehicles and autonomous driving as two connected parts of the future of cars, the new research suggests they might be better off if they tried to sell them separately.

Ipsos’ Mobility Navigator Study shows that “while 49 per cent of those surveyed say they would consider an electric vehicle for their next car, only 31 per cent would be interested in a fully autonomous (aka self-driving) car.”  Because of fuel prices and climate concerns, the interest in EVs continues to grow year by year, but the interest in autonomous vehicles has remained largely static.

“Combining electrification and autonomous as a bundled technology advancement may not be a match made in heaven,” said Chance Parker, Vice President, U.S. Automotive & Mobility Development at Ipsos. “Dedicated education about autonomous vehicles with a clear safety benefit can help reduce misconceptions and improve trial and acceptance across all generations.”

The report does say that certain features of autonomous driving are attractive to consumers, like individual features like accident avoidance, night/all-weather vision, and advanced driver assistance, which are key advancements in driving technology. The feelings are not equal across age differences though, as the report points out “the auto industry is facing a potentially sticky generation gap regarding these transformational technologies. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are much more positive about electric vehicles than their Boomer counterparts. When consumers are asked about autonomous driving technology, the same gap emerges, and may be getting worse.”

“Differences in attitudes toward new technology between younger and older consumers are not new—but these technologies aren’t simply features than can be used or ignored as you see fit,” Parker said. “Instead, both technologies completely change your relationship with your vehicle. Given the billions of dollars being poured into both technologies, the stakes are extremely high.”

The more a car interacts with the driver, the higher the rate of potential distractions while driving. Even consumers who are interested in self-driving vehicles do not want a 100 per cent autonomous vehicle. They still want some form of control. “Three out of four consumers who would consider autonomous technology say they would only want to use it in certain circumstances.”

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