Are Electric Cars Safe for Women? Troubling Gender Gap in EV Ownership

There’s no denying that electric vehicles (EVs) have become increasingly popular in recent years. Over 26 million EVs were on the road in 2022, which was a 60% relative increase to 2021; a concerning trend has emerged despite more EVs being on the road than ever before.

U.S. auto sales data shows that so far in 2023, 67% of all EV buyers were men, and only 33% were women. And considering that car sales are otherwise pretty evenly split, this is a big difference. 

Why is there such a difference? A 2023 EV sentiment study by Edmunds dives into the key reasons people are motivated to buy an EV and why a gap exists. 

EVs Are Too Expensive for Women

Another famous gender gap is the pay gap. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women in the U.S. who work full-time, year-round, make only 83.7% as much as men who work the same. This equates to around $10,000 per year that women are missing out on, and since EVs are more expensive than your typical gas-powered car, EV ownership is out of reach for many women. 

Edmunds’ survey showed that over one-third of women wanted an EV under $30,000, which is well below the current market rate for EVs, which is nearly $60,000. Women indicated that they’re waiting for the price of EVs to fall before they purchase one

Long Charging Times Creates Safety Concerns

According to InsideClimate News, women are twice as likely to be concerned about their safety at public charging stations. Gas-powered cars can be refueled in minutes, but EVs can take up to half an hour. This means a woman would be stuck at a charger, and since charging stations don’t have attendants, this could create safety problems for women who are more likely to be worried about being vulnerable to assaults. 

One woman stated that she would be uncomfortable if one of her daughters had to charge their car at night or in an isolated area.

She stated, “It would be creepy. In Canada, there are these stations off the mountain roads at utility stations or rest stops, but they are off the beaten path. I wouldn’t stop at one of those at night.” 

As EV prices decrease and more charging stations are built in safer places, women may be more inclined to purchase an EV. But until then, these numbers are likely to stay the same.