We investigated motivations of potential earlier and later adopters for adopting sustainable innovations. A large questionnaire study revealed that potential earlier adopters of innovative cars evaluated the symbolic attributes of electric cars, but not the instrumental and environmental attributes, more favorably than later adopters. Evaluations of these three electric car attributes predicted the adoption likelihood of potential earlier and later adopters in a similar way. However, potential earlier adopters' evaluations of symbolic attributes predicted their interest (but not their intention) in an electric car more strongly when they perceived more instrumental drawbacks. Apparently, instrumental drawbacks, which are typical at the introduction stage, are not only a barrier for earlier adopters; such drawbacks can enhance interest in an electric car because of what the car can say about them. This suggests that symbolic attributes of sustainable innovations should be stressed as this is likely to promote their adoption.