EV adoption: How much does choice matter?

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By: SGN Staff

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A new survey by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) says a major variable in customer decisions on buying an electric vehicle is the matter of choice. Of South Texas consumers surveyed, 81% said they would be willing to pay more for an EV (46%) or pay the same as they would for a conventional car (35%) - if they could get it in the make and model they want.

 

Among those consumers who indicated they were seriously considering an EV purchase, 8% said they would buy a plug-in electric and 21% would choose a hybrid. EPRI says those results illustrate more consumer confidence in alternatives to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. And those consumers who said they were initially planning to buy a used car opted instead for a plug-in electric after they became more familiar with the advantages of PEV ownership.

 

"While electric vehicle sales have not yet met some manufacturers' sales forecasts, there are persuasive indicators from consumers that those expectations may ultimately be met or exceeded," said Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation research for EPRI.

 

"The survey suggests a trend toward smaller, more economic vehicles," commented David Owen, Clean Air Technologies manager for CenterPoint Energy. "However, the availability of plug-in vehicles in a wide range of makes and models will be a key to how fast and to what extent they are seen as alternatives to conventional vehicles."

 

In addition, the survey confirms previous EPRI consumer surveys in that buying decisions will be strongly influenced by consumer experiences among friends, family and neighbors - and that they would look to their utility for the information and infrastructure necessary for both vehicles purchases and operation.

 

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in Electric Vehicle Purchases

Experience of Other Consumers and Utility Information Also Influence Decisions

 

PALO ALTO, Calif. - (March 11, 2013) - Choices for car buyers emerged as a key factor in the decision to buy electric vehicles, according to results from a survey of South Texas consumers conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

 

Of those surveyed, 81 percent expressed willingness to pay more for an electric vehicle (46 percent) or pay the same (35 percent) as a conventional vehicle, if it were available in the make and model of their choice.

 

Among South Texas consumers giving serious consideration to buying an electric vehicle, 8 percent would choose a plug-in while 21 percent would choose a hybrid electric, pointing to growing consumer confidence in alternatives to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

 

Survey results point to consumer education as a primary factor in addressing uncertainties and misconceptions about electric vehicle performance and reliability. More new car buyers indicated an electric vehicle preference once they were familiar with electric vehicle operation and performance. 

 

Some consumers who initially indicated they intended to buy a used car, opted to purchase a new PEV after becoming more knowledgeable about the advantages of an electric vehicle. A majority of those respondents said they would choose a plug-in or hybrid electric vehicle, an indicator they may not be willing to wait to own a plug-in or hybrid electric.

 

Assuming that electric vehicles could capture a similar percentage of market share, approximately 1.5 percent more new car purchasers would choose a plug-in or a hybrid electric vehicle.

 

"While electric vehicle sales have not yet met some manufacturers’ sales forecasts, there are persuasive indicators from consumers that those expectations may ultimately be met or exceeded, said Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation research for the Electric Power Research Institute.

 

"The survey suggests a trend toward smaller, more economic vehicles,” concluded David Owen, manager of Clean Air Technologies for CenterPoint Energy. "However, the availability of plug-in vehicles in a wide range of makes and models will be a key to how fast and to what extent they are seen as alternatives to conventional vehicles.”

 

The South Texas survey corroborates previous EPRI consumer surveys that buying decisions will be influenced heavily by consumer experiences among friends, family and neighbors. Also, consumers strongly indicated that they will rely on their utility for information and infrastructure needed for both the vehicle purchase and operation.

 

"We are at a critical point in the development of the electric vehicle market,” said Julia Jones, CPS Energy Research Manager - Technology Transfer. "Electric utilities can play an important role in supporting electric vehicle market adoption and ensuring that they are used in ways that achieves the maximum degree of economic, environmental, and societal benefits.”  

 

The EPRI report, Texas Plugs in: Houston and San Antonio Residents’ Expectations and Purchase Intentions for Plug-in Electric Vehicles

(EPRI 1025825) can be downloaded at this link:

http://my.epri.com/portal/server.pt?Abstract_id=000000000001025825

 

 

About EPRI

The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI's members represent approximately 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to more than 30 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.