E Source, Nielsen Energy Survey
Plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) are just entering the market, but most U.S. consumers are ready to buy them. E Source recently analyzed Nielsen Energy Survey data and found that 85 percent of U.S. consumers say they would purchase a battery-driven car right away (3 percent), when their current car needed replacement (57 percent) or when the technology is proven and becomes more mainstream (25 percent).
The caveat is that consumers strongly prefer (58 percent) PHEV versions such as the Chevrolet Volt. PHEVs have greater range than electric-only cars such as the Nissan Leaf, and only 8 percent of consumers prefer them.
“We are seeing a substantial willingness for drivers to move to plug-in electric vehicles, but only if the manufacturers can provide the easy extended range of travel that Americans are used to,” said Bill LeBlanc, E Source senior advisor.
Younger drivers are more willing than older drivers to purchase the electric-only cars, and people who describe themselves as liberals are similarly more inclined to desire the all-electric cars than those classified as conservatives, according to E Source.
“We see that all ages and all political mindsets like the plug-in hybrid vehicles equally,” LeBlanc said, “but when it comes to the all-electric car, it appears to be seen as more of a green purchase, rather than as a practical upgrade to a more-efficient vehicle.”
E Source examined how far people drive each day and how that affects their desire for a PHEV. Daily driving habits don’t seem to affect desire for the all-electric vehicle; however, desire for the PHEV grows as people spend more time in their cars.
“Overall, the survey supports the existence of a huge, untapped market for electric vehicles that can be charged at night at home. People seem very ready to move to the next generation of cars and dramatically decrease the frequency of their visits to the gas station,” LeBlanc said.
The E Source study examined other variables, including home ownership, type of home, household size, annual income, gender, age, marital status and ethnicity.