Survey Shows Young Canadian Aspiring Drivers Have Strong Opinions About Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

new driver

A recently-published survey of more than 20,000 Canadians suggests that a majority of young people looking to start driving don’t want an electric car and are concerned about the safety of riding in a self-driving car.

The data was collected by Elegant E-Learning (EE) through an online survey of visitors to driver education websites it operates; in Canada, nearly three-quarters of respondents were Millenials — which EE identified as those aged 13 through 35 — and a third of Canadians who took the survey identified themselves as teenagers.No to Electric Cars

What EE found was that six of 10 Canadians surveyed said they would not consider buying an electric car over an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle. At face value, this seems to suggest the world’s automakers may wish to tread cautiously as they devote millions of R&D dollars to electric propulsion, but the survey doesn’t get into respondents’ reasons for their choices, though we suspect the typical EV’s limited driving range (relative to gas models) and a lack of charging infrastructure as the main ones.

AV concerns

The survey then moved on to autonomous vehicles, with a question that asked respondents to rate, on a scale of zero to 10, how concerned they would be for their safety when riding in a self-driving vehicle. Here, 30 per cent said they would be “very” or “extremely” concerned, meaning they answered with a nine or 10.

AV benefits

Then EE wanted to know whether people thought the benefits of self-driving cars outweighed the risks and costs associated with them, again, on a scale of zero to 10. In Canada, fewer than half thought that was the case.

Tesla Expected Most Successful

Finally, the survey asked which car manufacturer — Tesla, Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford or “other” — would sell the most electric and automated vehicles in the coming 10 years. Well over a quarter of respondents chose Tesla, with Toyota coming in second and Honda third. EE says BMW, Dodge and Mercedes-Benz were the most common “other” choices in Canada.

EE noted an average margin of error of 0.7 per cent in its Canadian survey results.

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Chris Chase

Chris Chase

As a child, Chris spent much of his time playing with toy cars in his parents’ basement; when his mother would tell him to go play outside, he made car sounds while riding his bicycle or dug roads for his toys in the flower garden. Now he gets to indulge his obsession playing with real cars that make their own cool noises, and gets paid for it.
  • Basil McDonnell

    You completely misrepresent these results.

    The fact that four in ten would even consider an electric car is a massive increase on the zero in ten this survey would have returned in 2012.

    And if four in ten car buyers went out and bought electric cars that would be 400,000 electric cars- quite an increase over the 7,000 sold in 2015.

    This looks like the absolute opposite of what you say it is- this looks like a massive wave of interest in electric cars.