People are looking for electric cars more than ever, according to the world’s largest search engine. No, not Bing or Baidu, but Google. The tech giant says web searches for EVs and their associated costs are trending in the U.S., up this March by more than 400 percent. Google’s data for American interest in EVs grafts nicely onto that of gas prices, but searches have passed all high-water marks even going back to 2008.
The sharp rise in EV searches is clearly related to gas prices, but there are other factors this time around, as CNN reports. For starters, there are more EVs now than in 2008, and carmakers actually want to sell them this time. From CNN:
While high gas prices are certainly one reason, Jesse Toprak, chief auto analyst at Autonomy, an EV subscription company, said the new interest is spurred by a combination of things.
“It’s a direct reaction to high gas prices, and on top of that, we’re also seeing more and more EV models available to choose from for consumers,” Toprak told CNN. “So it’s a function of I will say, mostly high gas prices, but also availability of new EV products in the marketplace.”
“The fluctuation in fuel prices, combined with a lot of the increased promotion from car companies around electric vehicles has really sparked more interest,” Hanson told CNN. “It’s really the first step; there’s a long way to go to get people familiarized with electric vehicles. This is good that we’re seeing the search and hopefully it does help to educate people and convince them that this is a good idea.”
In 2022, 14 years after a recession that finally convinced Americans to give small cars a shot (for a while, at least) there are more EVs, more marketing and more interest in electric cars. Still, other than a bump in reservations, this hasn’t converted to more EV buying. Analysts are optimistic about the relationship between Google’s data and consumer demand, but electric cars are reportedly still too expensive for most buyers. People search, but don’t buy.
This has bothered me for weeks, months, years. I think about it all the time when driving. Nine out of ten of my fellow motorists are in gas-powered cars. Make that nine and a half, counting me. Even in Texas, where Elon Musk and Tesla are popular, I don’t see nearly as many electric cars as the EV transition would have led me to believe. Often, I find myself asking: where are all the EVs? For now, apparently, they’re in a Google search bar.