Survey: Electric cars stir interest but face obstacles
Taken together, the two studies uncover significant differences between the automobile industry executives IBM spoke to and consumers on the factors motivating consumers to purchase electric vehicles, with auto execs placing greater emphasis than consumers on government incentives and oil prices.
The executives were also skeptical of consumersâ€™ willingness to pay a premium for green vehicles. The IBM study asked drivers what would motivate them to switch from a vehicle that currently runs on gasoline, diesel or hybrid to an electric-only vehicle. The same question was posed to auto industry executives, who were asked to rate the importance they believe drivers place on each criteria.
The insights, from IBMâ€™s Institute for Business Value (IBV), are derived from a new survey of 1,716 US drivers and interviews with 123 auto industry executives.
The study indicates that, even in these early days, there is a potentially large market for Evs.19 percent of drivers surveyed said that they were either very likely or likely to consider purchasing an electric-only vehicle when shopping for a new car. This is notable, given that 42 percent of drivers know only a little about EVs or have only heard of them, suggesting that automakers could increase the pool of potential buyers with sustained educational campaigns.
And 30 percent of drivers surveyed said that they would consider switching to an EV that got 100 miles or less per charge. Current EVs get about 50 to 100 miles per charge. 40 percent of drivers said they would pay up to 20 percent more for an electric-only vehicle compared with a similarly-featured gas-, diesel, or hybrid-powered vehicle, with 27 percent saying they would pay 10 percent more and 13 percent saying they would pay 20 percent more.
To drive the price of electric vehicles into this more affordable zone, the IBV research indicates that automakers should initially focus on sales to both consumers and commercial fleets, building scale and creating economic efficiencies in production. Automakers may also need to develop new business models for electric vehicles to overcome the higher initial price.
Nevertheless, price of the home charging installation often required to support an EV could pose an obstacle to EV adoption. Only 13 percent of drivers said they would consider spending more than $1,000 to retrofit their residence to support recharging of an electric vehicle. According to industry estimates, retrofitting to a 240 volt outlet accessible to vehicles averages between $1,000 and $2,000.
In addition, two-thirds of consumers expect a price discount on their electricity for charging at home overnight. This expectation could place increasing focus on utilities for time-based pricing to encourage home charging, or more public charging will be required if an electricity discount is not available.
Home charging is considered important to the success of EVs. Of the drivers surveyed, 83 percent said they park their primary vehicle in the driveway or garage of their private residence, as opposed to in a parking lot, on the street, in a shared garage or some other location.
Perhaps a reflection of Americaâ€™s consumer culture, 62 percent of drivers surveyed said they most often parked in a mall or store parking lot when not at home or work. Thatâ€™s substantially higher than any other location - 'on the street, was number two at 17 percent.
The study results illustrate that the automobile industry executives IBM interviewed for this study place far greater weight than consumers on government incentives/regulations (73 percent to 41 percent) and significantly higher oil prices (76 percent to 51 percent). The executives also place less emphasis than consumers on green image/sustainability concerns (33 percent to 48 percent).
According to the IBV study, when asked executives how automakers could develop mobility solutions, 83 percent said that the best direction would be to shift their product portfolio from conventional vehicles to electrified vehicles (EVs). About half said they expect the annual sales of conventional vehicles to have begun to decline by 2020.
Responses for the driver survey were similar across urban, suburban and rural areas - with some notable exceptions. For example, rural respondents were the most likely (59 percent) to say they would pay nothing more for an electric-only vehicle compared with a similarly-featured gas-, diesel, or hybrid-powered vehicle.
Have your say and discuss with your peers on the InfoGrok community.
Participate by posting your comments now.