AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told CNBC on Tuesday that he believes so-called range anxiety has become less of a concern for Americans buying an electric vehicle.
Concerns about how many miles can be driven before a battery needs recharging has long been considered a barrier to electric vehicle adoption. But in an interview on “Squawk Box,” Jackson said Americans have better understood how to maximize the benefits of electric vehicles.
“Rank anxiety is dramatically disappearing because of American ingenuity – they figured out how they live, how they’re going to use it, and it’s not a problem,” he said.
For the most part, people will drive their electric vehicle for day-to-day trips, Jackson said.
“This is what they like: They buy an electric car and they say to us, ‘You know what’s cool? I never have to go to a gas station again,'” said the auto industry veteran. “They practically use the car in a 200-250 mile radius.”
That means they don’t need to search for public charging stations during the course of their normal routines, he said. “Every time they come home, they plug it in for the night. That’s it. They’re done. They come out in the morning, it’s fully charged. They didn’t go to a gas station.”
The situation differs somewhat for longer runs, such as a cross-country trip, Jackson said, adding that more investment is needed in infrastructure charges.
“But most of the people who buy electric cars also have an internal combustion engine in their car portfolio, and therefore for long-distance driving they still use the [Chevrolet] Suburban that will take them anywhere in America, “said Jackson.” For their daily use in their home or office, they are delighted to have an electric vehicle. “
Jackson’s comments follow a number of important developments in the automotive industry regarding electric vehicles.
General Motors announced in late January that it plans to end production of all diesel and gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs by 2035. And in early February, the city’s rival Ford said it was increasing its investment in electric vehicles until 2025.
“We’re not giving up the future to anyone,” Ford CEO Jim Farley told CNBC a day after the electric vehicle news broke.
However, even with the attention-grabbing developments around electric vehicle production, Jackson said the industry transition will be protracted and both vehicle types will coexist for decades to come. “This is not like going from folding phone technology to a smartphone, where everything else suddenly becomes obsolete,” he said.
By 2030, Jackson said he expects about 20% of new vehicles sold to be electric, but only 6% of all vehicles on the road. “This is a decades-long journey from the internal combustion engine to electrification, but it is here. It is underway. We accept it,” he said. “It’s exciting and we have great vehicles from all manufacturers.”
Jackson’s comments came on Tuesday after AutoNation posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company posted quarterly revenue of $ 5.8 billion, when analysts had forecast $ 5.6 billion. Adjusted earnings per share of $ 2.43 beat Wall Street estimates by 42 cents.
Shares of AutoNation closed up 1% on Tuesday. The stock is up nearly 70% in the last 12 months.