Consumer Concerns about Driving Range and Economics Continue to Hinder Interest in Purchasing Electric Vehicles, According to Navigant Research Survey


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BOULDER, CO--March 29, 2013: The volume of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has grown significantly over the last year, with many auto manufacturers adding new models to their fleets. Indeed, several auto manufacturers are electrifying their fleets with innovative models. The PEV market is expected to grow swiftly, with a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent between 2012 and 2020 in the United States. According to a recent consumer survey by Navigant Research, however, makers of PEVs have not been successful in changing several misperceptions about these vehicles in the marketplace.

“A number of other negative perceptions continue to persist, however, helping to explain why overall consumer interest in PEVs has declined since 2011.”

"So-called 'range anxiety' continues to be the number one reason cited by consumers who are not interested in purchasing PEVs," says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. "A number of other negative perceptions continue to persist, however, helping to explain why overall consumer interest in PEVs has declined since 2011."

Among common misperceptions identified in the survey is the belief that PEVs are no more economical than gasoline vehicles. When asked if PEVs are cheaper to own in the long run than gasoline vehicles, 37 percent of respondents disagreed. Additionally, 37 percent believe PEV batteries are dangerous. Even those respondents who expressed interest in PEVs showed signs of concern, as more than one third believes that current PEV owners are often stranded as a result of their vehicles running out of power.

The report, "Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey," details findings from a web-based survey of 1,001 consumers in the United States. The study assesses consumer demand, preferences, opinions, and price sensitivity for PEVs and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The survey was conducted in the fall of 2012 using a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample. Navigant Research conducted similar surveys in 2010 and 2011, and this latest version shows, when appropriate, year-over-year comparisons of data to identify trends. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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