Charged EVs | EVs are for everybody—but how to get Republicans to buy them?


Here at Charged, our position has always been that EVs are for everybody, and we’ve watched in disappointment as e-mobility has become a political football. Many others agree, including some red-state policymakers who have supported pro-EV measures in their states.

Mike Murphy is a veteran GOP political consultant who has advised John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, among others. He’s also bugged by the tide of anti-EV activism, which seems to be rising ever higher in this election year.

“The relentless partisan divide that has such a firm chokehold on American politics has unfortunately seized upon electric vehicles as its next target,” writes Murphy. “Every day we hear more EV bashing from every organ of the Republican party, from elected officials and Fox News to partisan bloggers.”

Murphy is a Detroit-raised Republican who owns a BMW iX and a Volkswagen ID.4. He loves their speed, their silence and their brilliant engineering, and he wants to see North American automakers succeed in the electric era, “rather than be forced to abandon the future of mobility to Communist China.” (Hear, hear!)

Murphy launched a campaign called The EV Politics Project. One of its first initiatives was a poll designed to highlight the correlation between peoples’ views on EVs and their political leanings.

Murphy’s organization polled 600 US voters with household incomes of $50,000 a year or more—a sample that roughly corresponds to the demographic of typical new-car buyers, and covers about 67% of the American voting electorate. For the detailed poll results, including charts, see the Project’s web site.

Some of the survey’s findings are unfortunately unsurprising. Asked about “electric car brands,” 36 percent of Democratic respondents said they were favorable to them, while 49 percent of Republicans took a negative view.

A majority of Republican respondents agreed with the statement: “EVs are for people who see the world differently than I do.” Democrats strongly disagreed. The survey found a similar split based on respondents’ views about climate change. Those saying that climate change is “overhyped” agree that EVs are for people who see the world differently than they do.

Interestingly, Republicans appear to take a far more positive view of EVs if Tesla’s CEO is involved. In a separate poll, the Project found that 61% of Republicans think Elon Musk is “a good ambassador for EVs.” Democrats take the opposite view, by a similar margin.

When it comes to concerns about owning an EV, donkeys and elephants pretty much agreed. The top concern was the price of EVs, followed by concerns about range and charging. Republicans tend to be concerned about EVs using Chinese-made batteries—38% of respondents cited that as their first or second biggest concern. “There has been a drumbeat about the Chinese battery topic in the Republican news/blog space,” Murphy writes. Many of these Republican respondents might be surprised to learn that this is also a major concern for many in the US EV industry—and for President Biden. That’s why both the IRA and the BIL specify that EVs and charging hardware must use increasing amounts of American-made components in order to qualify for full subsidies.

As any EV advocate would agree, automakers cannot afford to market EVs only to left-leaning consumers. Murphy writes that a branding reset is needed—as he sees it, “EVs are often branded through a heavy green lens.” In fact, marketing mavens have long warned that the “save the planet” messaging has always been a loser with the majority of new-car buyers. That’s part of the reason that legacy automakers struck out with their first-generation of small-and-practical EVs, and Tesla hit a grand slam with the Roadster, Model S/X and Model 3/Y.

“Electric automakers must go back to the basics of selling cars, not what conservatives often call ‘luxury opinions,’” writes Murphy. “Focus on the vehicle: Fast, fun, no gas. Less regular maintenance needs. All of these attributes are big winners with Republican consumers. Why? They focus on the driving experience, not political issues.”

“Automakers need to prioritize actually experiencing these cars, and dealers need to do a lot more in the way of education as well,” writes Murphy (and we emphatically agree). Part of the EV Politics Project’s mission is to share its data with automakers and help them understand how to reach a broader range of car and truck buyers.

The Project also plans to publicize the benefits of the massive EV-related investment in American manufacturing jobs—and the fact that so far, the majority of these projects are located in red states. Mr. Murphy notes that 68% percent of November’s swing-state Electoral College votes will be cast by states with massive new investments and job creation in the EV space, including Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Nevada.

Source:, InsideEVs


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