Consumers Have Favorable Views of Electric Vehicles, but Awareness Remains Low


charging station

BOULDER, CO--November 18, 2013: Alternative fuel vehicles, particularly battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), are a small but fast-growing segment of the automotive market. Since 2010, when these vehicles first reached the market, sales of BEVs and PHEVs have grown at a significant pace, with new manufacturers bringing models to market and existing manufacturers reducing prices. Click to tweet: According to a new consumer survey from Navigant Research, favorability ratings for alternative fuel vehicles remain high, with all three types of vehicles (hybrid, electric, and natural gas) above the 50 percent mark for favorability. Consumer awareness of specific models, however, is still relatively low: 44 percent of the respondents are familiar with the Chevrolet Volt, but less than one-third are familiar with the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S, Ford’s C-Max Energi and BMW’s i3.

“Two-thirds of consumers surveyed stated that they believe EVs have unique features that stand out from their gasoline counterparts, and 6 out of 10 agreed that EVs are much less expensive to own in the long run than gasoline cars”

The survey results are summarized in a free white paper, which is available for download on the Navigant Research website.

“Two-thirds of consumers surveyed stated that they believe EVs have unique features that stand out from their gasoline counterparts, and 6 out of 10 agreed that EVs are much less expensive to own in the long run than gasoline cars,” says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “While those are encouraging numbers, it’s clear that automakers still have a long way to go in marketing these vehicles to the wider car-buying public.”

According to the survey, consumers have favorable opinions of all three types of alternative fuel vehicles. Favorability (very favorable or favorable) is highest for hybrid vehicles at 67 percent, followed by EVs at 61 percent. Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) also have a high favorability rating, at 56 percent. Not surprisingly, those expressing interest in either BEVs or PHEVs for their next vehicle are most often looking for high fuel economy. Potential PHEV buyers, however, also want high performance vehicles, and chose midsize/large cars as their preferred body style.

The white paper, “Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey”, details the findings from a web-based EV consumer survey of 1,084 consumers in the United States. The survey, which was executed in the fall of 2013 using a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample, aims to provide a better understanding of consumer attitudes toward alternative fuel vehicles, with an emphasis on electric vehicles. Levels of consumer interest in EVs, familiarity with EV models, and overall vehicle considerations are assessed. The survey also examines consumer receptiveness to several BEV and PHEV options and public charging stations. A full copy of the white paper is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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