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Axios|SurveyMonkey poll: electric and self-driving car technology

Axios|SurveyMonkey poll: electric and self-driving car technology

Americans skeptical of self-driving car technology.

As more and more cars are developed with self-driving capabilities, the public as a whole are skeptical of this technology. Two-thirds say they feel unsafe as a passenger in a self-driving car (64 percent) and 68 percent are fearful of walking the streets alongside driverless vehicles. 

Older Americans are more worried about this technology, more than seven in ten of those 55 and older say they feel unsafe as a passenger or pedestrian, while the youngest adults are less concerned about being a passenger (46 percent) or pedestrian (57 percent).  

Still, a third (33 percent) are at least somewhat likely to make their next car a self-driving one when the tech is fully developed. This includes more than four in ten men and millennials, who are the most likely to purchase a self-driving car.  

Similar levels of excitement (or lack thereof) for electric vehicles

Although electric cars are already on the road, similar to the share who are interested in a self-driving car, just over a third are likely to buy an electric vehicle (36 percent). Why aren’t people interested? Lack of charging stations available (47 percent of those who aren’t likely to purchase)--though this could be much less of an issue in a few years, cost (41 percent), and a general preference for gas-powered cars (37 percent).

More men have  a clear preference for Tesla (38 percent) compared to women (24 percent) with similar shares whose interest is split between other brands (Chevrolet, 26 percent, Nissan, 22 percent). 

But for those pro-purchasing an electric car, the top reasons they’re interested include: benefits to the  environment (73 percent), gas savings (72 percent), and the convenience of being able to charge it at home (36%). Environmental impact is the number one reason cited for Democrats (82 percent), while Republicans are more interested in purchasing them because of the savings on gas (76 percent). These prospective electric car buyers looking at Tesla, Chevy, and Nissan as their next car also have the  patience to wait for their car to “fill up”.

Unlike the 10 minutes or less it takes to fill up a tank of gas, 41 percent would be willing to wait a full hour to charge their car to be able to travel 200 miles. But, while they are willing to wait for a charge, they aren’t willing to compromise on range. Over half of likely electric car buyers (55 percent) want the freedom to take a road trip (300-350 miles) with their car before having to stop to charge. 

Read more about our polling methodology here
Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below:

Sample question text:
Do you think automotive safety regulations are strict enough, or could be improved?
How much have you heard about self-driving cars?
How safe would you feel being a passenger in a self-driving car today?
How safe would you feel as a pedestrian in an area with self-driving cars today?
How likely are you to purchase a self-driving car once the technology is fully developed?
Based on what you know about electric cars, ones that use just electric power, how likely is it that your next car lease or purchase will be an electric car?