A new study has found one in five US motorists will consider an electric vehicle as their next new car, but many others are currently held back by concerns over perceptions of EV performance, recharging and convenience.
The IBM Institute for Business Value study surveyed 1716 drivers and 123 automotive industry executives.
Nineteen percent of those surveyed said they were either ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to consider purchasing an EV when shopping for a new car.
The result was higher than expected, especially considering that close to half of the respondents admitted to knowing only ‘a little’ about EVs, or that they had ‘only heard of them’. This suggests there are still a significant number of potential buyers that automotive companies can to educate about EV technology.
Around two in five drivers said they would pay up to 20 percent more for a similarly equipped electric vehicle compared with a standard fossil fuel-powered vehicle, but only one in three said they would consider switching to an EV if it had a range of 160km or less.
Home charging was also a sticking point for drivers. Just 13 percent said they would spend more than $1000 to retrofit their house or garage to support recharging. Industry estimates suggest the average cost of retrofitting a 240-volt recharge outlet is between $1000 and $2000.
Also analysed was the best place for public charging stations. In total, 62 percent said they most often parked in a mall or store car park when not at home or at work, substantially higher than the second location – ‘on the street’ – which came in at just 17 percent.
The researchers concluded that vehicle manufacturers should initially focus on sales to both consumers and commercial fleets to build scale and economic efficiency in production. It suggested manufacturers might also need to develop new business models to overcome the higher initial price of the technology.