Choice may be key variable in electric vehicle purchases, survey shows


Mark Duvall, Director
Electric Transportation
Research, EPRI
Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 12, 2013 – Choices for car buyers appear to be 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.

Further, of those 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.

The survey involved more than 2,000 residents under CenterPoint Energy in Houston and CPS Energy in San Antonio.

According to EPRI, the 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 EPRI.

The survey also highlighted that consumers strongly indicated that they will rely on their utility for the information and charging infrastructure needed for both the vehicle purchase and operation. They believe that utilities should provide fast charging availability and charging flexibility, however, their willingness to pay lags behind what these facilities are likely to cost. More than half also said they prefer an un¬restricted, fixed price charging plan over plans that offer discounts for elective (but more expensive) or restricted night-time charging.