Boomers vs. Millennials vs. Gen Z: How do different generations feel about electric cars?

Author profile picture

Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

Author profile picture

Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross h…

Regardless of your age, don't overpay for car insurance. Let us help you compare quotes in minutes!

Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

Generational views on electric cars

While electric cars have been making headlines over the past few years because of big names like Tesla, this type of vehicle isn’t necessarily new. The first electric vehicles debuted in the U.S. in the 1800s, and these cars have experienced several phases of popularity in the years since then.[1]

From 1920 to 1935, electric cars started to wane in popularity, but in the ‘70s, gas prices began to soar, and electric cars became popular again. This cycle has repeated itself over and over. 

We wanted to understand how today’s generations feel about electric cars and hybrids over 100% gasoline-powered vehicles. In a recent study, we asked Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z how they feel about electric cars today. It probably won’t surprise you to know that each generation had very different thoughts and feelings regarding these types of vehicles in 2022.[2]

As age decreases, consideration for electric vehicles increases

The Zebra’s new electric vehicle report uncovered how each generation feels toward electric cars and hybrids today. Interestingly, the number of Boomers who are uninterested in driving an EV or hybrid nearly equals the number of their Gen Z counterparts who share the opposite opinion. Millenials meanwhile are evenly divided with 48% saying they have not considered a hybrid of EV. 



What are the primary motivators for considering or purchasing electric vehicles?

For those in each age group who have considered or are actively considering an electric vehicle, the reasons why vary from generation to generation. The top two reasons were the reduced cost of gas (with 44% of respondents selecting this ias the 1# reason they have considered or purchased an electric vehicle) and environmental sustainability (with 42% of respondents). 



Breaking down these motivators by generation, we see Millennials represented the largest percentage of those motivated the reduced cost of gas, and shared the largest percentage with Boomers for environmental motivation. 

Significantly lower down the list in terms of motivators were things like government incentives, aesthetics and enhancement of personal brand. Of those motivated by government incentives, 40% are Boomers. Meanwhile Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to be motivated by aesthetics of the vehicle and enhancement of their personal brand.

What are the primary detractors for not considering an electric vehicle?

The research showed that nearly 60% of people have considered purchasing an EV or hybrid, although only 18% of those had considered an EV specifically. Their reasons why not, were just as split along generational lines as their reasons why. 



Gen Z said higher insurance rates.

While Gen Z is the most likely to consider buying an EV, they were also the most likely to cite higher insurance rates as a reason not to. Of the 16% of the general population who cited this as a reason, 40% of those were from Gen Z. 






Millennials are most concerned about recharging time on the road.

The biggest reason cited in our survey for not considering an electric vehicle is the lack of available charging stations while on the road, with 49% of the general population citing this as a detractor for them. Of all generations, Millinnials are the most concerned about recharging time on the road. 





Gen X is concerned about the new technology.

Of the general population, 28% cited the technology being too new as a reason to not buy an electric car. Of those respondents, 41% were from Gen X.






Boomers are concerned about mileage range.

As mentioned above, as age increases, interest in EVs decreases. Boomers thus have the least interest in considering an EV from all the generations surveyed. One of their top reasons was low mileage range. Of those who selected this as a reason, 33% were Boomers. 

What does this mean?

Electric carmakers may need to rethink how they’re marketing vehicles to the generations. While many may think environmental impact is the main reason people gravitate toward electric vehicles, our study shows that’s not the case. In fact, environmental impact is only the top motivator for Gen X.

It will be interesting to see, as more of Gen Z enters the vehicle buying market, how the trends for EVs will continue to change. 

  1. Timeline: History of the Electric Car. The U.S. Department of Energy

  2. Study: Nearly 60% of Americans have considered buying an electric vehicle or hybrid. The Zebra