Gen X, Millennials buy the most EVs, as Boomers dominate policy

Gen X and Millennials tend to buy more EVs than Baby Boomers, but the older generation is still in control of EV policy, a pair of recent studies show.

Experian’s fourth quarter 2023 Automotive Market Trends report, released Thursday, noted that 9.4% of new vehicles purchased by Gen X in 2023 were electric. Gen X purchased the most new vehicles of any generation over the year, as well as the most EVs in total.

Millennials aren’t far behind by total EV sales tally, and for them EVs are an even higher 10.2% of new vehicles purchased.

Meanwhile, EVs only account for 5.9% of new vehicles purchased by Boomers in 2023, and 6.6% of those purchased by “digitally native” Gen Z, according to the report.

New vehicle registrations by generation (via Experian)

New vehicle registrations by generation (via Experian)

As Experian has pointed out before, sales volumes are growing for all vehicle types, including gasoline cars. But this comparison of Gen X, Millennials, and Baby Boomers, all in the same ballpark when it comes to overall vehicle purchase numbers, highlights the generational differences in EV purchases.

This follows earlier market indications that Millennials were far more interested in EVs than Boomers. Nonprofit Coltura has also found stronger support for EV mandates among younger votes, arguing that these voters are motivated by the “generational urgency” of climate action. Meanwhile, as Pew Research pointed out last year, Boomers still dominate in Congress—and thus have a disproportionate stranglehold on federal policy.

2024 Kia EV6 GT

2024 Kia EV6 GT

J.D. Power argued last year that there’s a “missing mass market” for EVs, as so many of them are positioned in the luxury sector, where perhaps more retired Boomers might afford them.

While it’s simply too early to gauge Gen Z and new-vehicle purchases, the Experian report shows that even if more Boomers can afford current EVs, they’re simply not buying them.

So perhaps one way to help further accelerate EV sales is positioning more models in the mainstream of the market, reaching more of the Gen X and Millennial buyers that seem to be most enthusiastic about them.

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