“Consumer Views on EVs-National Benchmark Report” – Results Are In

1 year ago by Mark Kane 56

Questions 10A and 10B : Willingness to consider purchasing PHEVs and EVs

Questions 10A and 10B : Willingness to consider purchasing PHEVs and EVs

2015 Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF

An interesting study entitled “Consumer Views on Plug-in Electric Vehicles – National Benchmark Report” was released by Mark Singer of late (National Renewable Energy Laboratory).

Data was captured in February 2015 from a 1,015-household sample, designed to be representative of the United States population.

If NREL study is right, then we should get a decent image of the market heading into this year.

The most important question was about whether respondents would consider or expect to purchase plug-in. The answer was yes for:

  • PHEV: 24%
  • BEV: 20%

Given that the U.S. plug-ins market share is currently below 1%, it is a positive sign that sales should go up as the plug-in product offerings both deepen and improve.

As to why consumers are interested in plug-ins, and why they are not:

Question 11: Reasons for considering PEVs

Question 11: Reasons for considering PEVs

Question 12: Reasons for not considering PEVs

Question 12: Reasons for not considering PEVs

Majority of 56% respondents said that they expect 300 miles range form electric cars:

Question 14: Required EV range for purchase consideration

Question 14: Required EV range for purchase consideration

2016 Chevrolet Volt Sales Easily Surpass A Year Ago

2016 Chevrolet Volt Sales Easily Surpass A Year Ago

Here is the study summary, while below you can find link to the full report.

Consumer Views Quick Facts

The following findings are based on a February 2015 study that covered consumer attitudes toward plug-in electric vehicles. The study covered a 1,015-household sample designed to be representative of the United States population.

Vehicle Purchasing Behaviors

• 60% of respondent households owned two or more vehicles.
• 53% of respondents stated their last vehicle purchases were sedans.
• 48% of respondents stated their next vehicle purchases would likely be sedans.
• 29% of respondent households had purchased vehicles in the last year.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Awareness

• 48% of respondents were able to name a specific plug-in electric vehicle make and model.
• 49% of respondents reported having seen plug-in electric vehicles in parking lots.
• 52% of respondents stated plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were just as good as or better than traditional gasoline vehicles.
• 45% of respondents stated pure electric vehicles were just as good as or better than traditional gasoline vehicles.
• 24% of respondents stated they would consider or expect to purchase plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for their next vehicle purchase or lease.
• 20% of respondents stated they would consider or expect to purchase pure electric vehicles for their next vehicle purchase or lease.

Barriers to Plug-in Electric Vehicle Acceptance

• A pure electric vehicle would need to be able to travel 300 miles on a single charge for 56% of respondents to be willing to consider purchasing one.
• 18% of respondents were aware of charging stations on the routes they regularly drove.
• 53% of respondents could consistently park their vehicles near electrical outlets at home.
• 51% of respondents would be willing to pay incremental costs for plug-in electric vehicles.

Tesla Model S Sales Improved 48% in Q4

Tesla Model S Sales Improved 48% in Q4

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Acceptance

• Respondents who were aware of plug-in electric vehicle charging stations were more likely than respondents overall to view plug-in electric vehicles positively and be willing to consider purchasing them.
• Respondents who were able to name one of the top nine best-selling plug-in electric vehicles were more likely than respondents overall to view plug-in electric vehicles positively and be willing to consider purchasing them.
• New vehicle purchasers were more likely than used vehicle purchasers to view plug-in electric vehicles positively and be willing to consider purchasing them.

This work has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office. Additional support came from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

source: Consumer Views on Plug-in Electric Vehicles – National Benchmark Report, Mark Singer (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

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56 responses to "“Consumer Views on EVs-National Benchmark Report” – Results Are In"

  1. Stephen D says:

    Still only 2% definitely

    1. Rich says:

      It’s all relative. From less than 1%, that’s a 100%+ increase. While it doesn’t change the world overnight, it’s going in the right direction. Considering the propaganda and FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) being massively spewed from “news”, talk shows, etc. about Electric Vehicles, this is encouraging.

      1. Stephen D says:

        I expect today’s numbers after Model 3 reveal would look much better

  2. David Murray says:

    None of this is surprising, and the majority of the problem can be narrowed down to ignorance. For example, 27% said performance was the problem. I bet none of those 27% have ever driven such a vehicle. 31% said they weren’t dependable. That might be true if you include the lack of dependable charging infrastructure, but the vehicles themselves? Again, lack of knowledge. I bet the people that said they needed 500 miles from a charge probably don’t even get that much range from their gasoline vehicles.

    1. RexxSee says:

      “Performance” might include range?

      1. SparkEV says:

        I think range falls under perceived lack of reliability. People assume there are hordes of EV that run out of battery stranded on side of the road.

        Long ago, I did an informal survey among friends and acquaintances. Consistent with this article, the biggest reason was cost with almost 100% citing that as the reason (they could give multiple reasons) and second was tie between range and peformance.

        So I asked what they thought the price, range, peformance might be for non Tesla EV. Answer was usually, price $30K for subcompact, range 50 miles or even 25 miles (half that) with heat/AC, performance slower than Prius. They are sort of right about range and performance for iMieV. Basically, all mid level EV were perceived to be iMiev, including BMW i3! It looks small and boxy, so it must be slow?

        A very important aspect they were completely unaware was DCFC. They thought the car must be plugged in for full 8 hours as the ONLY way to charge the car. Most thought even Tesla needed 8 hours to charge. People still think of EV as overpriced, underperforming golf carts. Interesting “official” survey point would’ve been “how long do you think EV needs to charge on longer trips than battery range?” Unless this perception change, at least from DCFC and performance anperspective, most people won’t bother with EV.

        In light of this, Chevy could’ve taken the field by storm by highlighting SparkEV’s low cost (post subsidy) and great performance along with 20 minutes to charge. Talk about opportunity lost!

      2. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

        Especially when some of their experience with EVs has been being stuck behind a Nissan Leaf on the highway for miles and miles before they get the chance to pass?

        I think this is largely thanks to range anxiety, since *I* have passed people like this, while *driving* a Leaf. I just knew that I could make the next DCQC because of experience.

        1. SJC says:

          IMO it is utility, the consumer expects that the car can do what they want it to do. An electric can not go as far and can not fuel in minutes at any gas station.

  3. ffbj says:

    Once Model III actually enters production it will be a seminal moment for people. A light-bulb will go off in their head, and they will get it; evs literally and figuratively.

    1. RexxSee says:

      It reminds me of how fast the electric lighting replaced kerosene lighting 115 years ago… and how bad rockefeller was surely pissed, since he bankrupt the whale oil lighting market with 10x cheaper kerosene and less smelly (also less healthy), and became the first billionaire of the United States back then.
      He assurely saw the ICE car as it’s only way to survive and was probably very satisfied of his vengeance over electricity that threatened his empire for a while…
      Edison wanted windmills and his Ni-Fe (30-50 yeras lifespan) batteries in every country house, building a peer to peer network, not unlike our modern internet…

    2. Rich says:

      +1 The release of the Model 3 will be the inflection point.
      Not to sell the Bolt short. I think GM / Chevy Bolt has the capability to alter the EV adoption trajectory. Even at a 35K to 50K car manufacturing limit per year, it will go a long way in improving mainstream visibility and acceptance. Now if they would just lower the price by $5K, we’d be rockin and rollin.

      1. Orygun EV driver says:

        GM has repeatedly said that sales of the Bolt will not be production constrained. The 30-50K “fact” is oft repeated but incorrect.

        1. Rich says:

          No production constraints, even better!
          If the Chevy Bolt can appeal to the masses, it’s possible the Bolt could become the inflection point at 12 to 18 months sooner than the model 3 … everyone on the planet benefits.

        2. Speculawyer says:

          I don’t see production constraints being the problem for the Bolt. The Bolt is a great advance but it will struggle with the promise of the Model 3 on the horizon. Why?
          1) No high-speed nationwide network of DC fast charging. Relying on CCS is lame because they are only 50KW, there are few of them, and they are not strategically placed.
          2) I’m an engineer and I generally don’t don’t like to put much weight into this area . . . but . . . let’s face it, the Bolt has econobox looks whereas the Model 3 is sexy looking. The Bolt looks like a Honda Fit or Chevy Spark. Jeez, GM, put some effort into this!
          3) Then there are all the Tesla improvements and add-on options. Better performance, bigger battery option, performance option, AWD, autopilot, etc.

          If the Model 3 wasn’t announced, we would all be singing the praise of the Bolt. But with the Model 3 reveal, the Bolt comes off as weaksauce. I can only think of a few things the Bolt wins at:
          1) It will be available this year. The model 3 won’t be available until the end of next year at best . . . later for most people that put down reservations.
          2) It has a hatchback and that seems to interest a lot of people.

          But other than that? Meh. And it is kinda unfair. Tesla played the FUD card and played it well. GM should be rewarded for the Bolt. But it is so hard to like it if you believe in the Model 3.

          1. Rich says:

            All good points.
            In the short term, the Bolt won’t be competing against the Model 3. To support this point, BEV sales continue in the US after the Model 3 reveal.
            In the short term, taking the Bolt release timing into account, the Bolt will end up competing against the current 107 mile range (or less) offerings and should slaughter the current competition.
            Chevy should be able to capitalize on this for 12 to 18 months before the first Model 3’s roll off the assembly line. I have no doubt, once the Model 3 releases, the Bolt will magically benefit from a major cost reduction (insert BS justification here) and the price will substantially drop taking it out of the same price range as the Model 3.
            Aside from people planning a purchase 2 years in advance (I’m one of them), I don’t believe the Bolt will ever end up competing directly against the Model 3.

            1. scott franco (the evil EV owning republican) says:

              THe bolts competition is not the M3, its Leaf.

              1. Rich says:

                We’re in agreement.

          2. GearsOfWoe says:

            OMG stop bashing the Bolt! Try raising a family in a freakin’ small BMW 3 series. Let it go and join the adults who need a cheap, reliable and practical 5-passenger car with cargo space. Forgive the sterotypes but the soccer moms are going to flock to the Bolt while adolescents will buy the matte black AWD ludicrous Tesla 3. Gosh I wish I was an adolescent again!

            1. mr. M says:

              +1 from a dad

        3. przemo_li says:

          If EVs where only about shells, Tesla would had fierce competition from day -365 😉

          Batteries rule production capacity.

          Panasonic showed the hard data. They are already twice as big as LG and want to increase that with Gigafactory by another 35GWh per year.

          What capacity is LG claiming? How will they split it into their various customers? At what point can/will they increase capacity?

          For now, GM is upstart that have not reliable track record of mass producing EVs.

          (Spark was and is marvelous, and very cheap! But produced in pitifully small batches compared to real mass produced Model S!)

          1. scott franco (the evil EV owning republican) says:

            GM could make enough nose hair trimmers to flood the planet. You picked the one characteristic at which GM rules, that of ability to produce in volume. Forget about it.

            1. G2 says:

              I would agree with your statement *if* GM were planning to make their own factory for batteries…and that isn’t happening yet is it?

        4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Orygun EV driver said:

          “GM has repeatedly said that sales of the Bolt will not be production constrained. The 30-50K ‘fact’ is oft repeated but incorrect.

          No, the low end of what the GM supplier said is 20k Bolts in the first production year, not 30k.

          Here is an actual fact: GM will indeed be quite constrained by the amount of batteries that LG Chem has contracted to supply them. LG makes contracts for delivery two years in advance; GM cannot wave a magic wand and make LG’s battery supply suddenly increase in a short time.

          And altho it’s not a fact, it’s certainly a reasonable prediction based on past performance to assert GM has absolutely no intention of scaling up production of the Bolt to rival sales of their more profitable gasmobiles. Fact or not, it would be pretty silly to suggest otherwise.

      2. Ziv says:

        GM doesn’t have the cachet that Tesla has, nor does the Bolt look as good as the III. GM will have a good 2017 with the Bolt, but if they can’t drop the price before the III arrives in late 2018/2019, they won’t be selling a lot of Bolts.
        And the Osborne effect of the III being just a year or so from production may take a bit of the wind out of the Bolts’s sales sails, so to speak.

        1. Ian says:

          Halt and catch fire season one-“You need a Ferrari in the window to sell station wagons.”

        2. przemo_li says:

          Osborn effect would be when GM announced that their current car will be replaced by much better car.

          There is also “Elop” effect. You say that your current car is obsolete, and newer car will be so much better… And for the next X months new car is not purchasable.
          (Nokia – Symbian – WinP)

          Model 3 is just competition.

          Spark EV sales could be potentially Osborned. But its different size and different price tag. So I think that they wont compete head to head anyway.

  4. Speculawyer says:

    Yeah, this is disheartening but not at all surprising. However, it can change much faster than many people realize.
    But it is low for now because:
    1) Cheap gasoline and unrealistic expectations that gasoline will remain cheap. There have been so many stories in the press about our oil boom that many people think we are a net oil exporting nation. In reality, we import some 40% of the oil run through our refineries and it is growing every day as the oil boom turned to bust.
    2) Consumers not understanding how cheap running on electricity is. Most people seem to assume that if you get an EV then your electricity bill will go up by the same amount your gasoline bill goes down by.
    3) Continued stereotype of EVs. At least EVs are no longer viewed as “just golf cars”, they still (rationally) are stereotyped as short-ranged and long-time-to-charge. The typical LEAF does only have a ~80 mile range and it is slow to charge. But the Chevy Bolt and Model 3 will fix this.

    However, I am quite disheartened that people don’t even consider PHEVs like the Volt.

    Well, they’ll learn the hard way when gas prices inevitable go back up (which might take a few years).

    1. Rich says:

      Hopefully the Hyundai Ioniq coming to market will improve consideration of PHEVs. PHEVs could be a lot further along had Mitsubishi released the Outlander PHEV in the USA years ago, but *shrug*.

  5. Nate says:

    “53% of respondents could consistently park their vehicles near electrical outlets at home”

    Good thing GM designing Bolt with rideshare in mind and partnering with lyft.

    1. Nate says:

      Also good Tesla is advancing autonomous driving which rideshare companies will have an strong interest in too.

    2. scott franco (the evil EV owning republican) says:

      Thats a good point. People bitch that EVs won’t take off because people don’t have charging at home. But if %53 do, %53 percent of car users switching to electric would/will change transportation in America permanently. I would argue that even %25 adoption would be an earthquake in the car business.

      1. Nom de Plume says:

        I am actually surprised by how high that figure is. Over half of drivers have charging available at home? (Even if it is occasionally only 110v). People have been screaming so loud about “What about all the apartment dwellers” that they’d almost convinced me that home charging would be a small minority. Instead, at least half of vehicle owners will have a “gas station” at home. This makes the public charging infrastructure dramatically easier to implement.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I was surprised to learn recently that well over half of Americans live in homes they own. I think the number of apartment dwellers has been exaggerated.

          Perhaps renting is more commonplace in other countries.

          1. mr. M says:

            Renting is very common in Germany, the southern european countries mostly buy/build their own houses but the economy in southern europe is smaller there. Therefore the higher priced EVs have it hard there.

            I think having their own house is also a very common concept in Great Britan. In france i don’t know how the population is splitted regarding renting/owning.

          2. mr. M says:

            Ohh, according to this study below, 45% of the people in germany are living in their own home or appartment. I expect the quota in rest of europe to be higher. So 50% living in their own home seems like a good assumption.

            But there might be still some appartment dwellers included that own their own appartment.


  6. Duhman says:

    better survey results would have been much different in Atlanta or other EV aware areas

    1. Rightofthepeople says:

      Agreed. I’m a resident of Metro Atlanta and you can’t drive anywhere around here without seeing a Leaf, a Volt, an i3, a Tesla, etc. Heck, there are 3 Leaf’s in my neighborhood (including ours). I would imagine awareness of plugins in Atlanta and all over the left coast is more like 75% to 100%.

    2. HelloBowlesHall says:

      Agreed. I’m in the SF bay area, and my office park installed 10 chargers spread throughout a couple years ago. Then they had to install 4 more because they were always full. Now we’re up to 24, and it’s still hard to get a charger in the morning (they free up in the afternoon).

      Add in all the cars that don’t charge regularly (Teslas, full electrics that live near by) and the lot is a pretty decent percentage electric.

    3. przemo_li says:


      Man. It was USA survey “AS IS NOW”.

      Sure in 5y results will be much different. But that is 5y in 😉

      1. Delta says:

        EV adoption is an exponential curve. 1 percent today, 2 percent in 3 years, 4 percent 2 more years.

  7. Rightofthepeople says:

    I view this report in a far more positive light than many of the other commenters (so far). Sure, only 2% expect to purchase a PEV, but on the plus side 17 – 22% expect to consider a PEV for their next purchase. I don’t know how many expected to consider a PEV last year or back in 2011, but I suspect it was lower than 20%. Even if only a quarter of those who consider a PEV actually buy/lease one, that would turn into a 5% market share for PEVs, which is huge!
    And I was pleasantly surprised that almost half of respondents (48%) could actually name a make and model of a PEV. One of the biggest barriers to plugin adoption is simply realization of the options by the general public. We’re now at a point where half of the people know about plugins and almost a quarter will consider buying one when they make their next purchase. This is a very positive development and should be viewed as such.

    1. super390 says:

      To me, “48% of respondents were able to name a specific plug-in electric vehicle make and model” means there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done. I guess half the country doesn’t know something exists until it’s advertised on prime-time network TV. Which Tesla hasn’t needed, and GM can’t be trusted to do with the Bolt even though it’s logical. Yes, there might be a lot of extra sales to be found in that other 52%.

  8. Driverguy01 says:

    Again, Monkey See, Monkey Do!
    I can’t wait to see someone pluging or unpluging a car, any model, on a popular TV show. But i fail to see that yet. except once on Bates Motel, i saw a Tesla, but that’s about it.

    1. GSP says:



  9. Spider-Dan says:

    Disappointing (but not THAT surprising) to see that the number of people with access to home charging is still hovering at ~50%.

    BEVs won’t be viable for the mass market until either a) that number goes way up or b) commercial charging is somewhere in the 10 minute range.

    1. GasBag says:

      >BEVs won’t be viable for the mass market until either a) that number goes way up or b) commercial charging is somewhere in the 10 minute range.

      Autonomous vehicles change that. Just as there is a summon feature there will be a dispatch feature where the apartment dweller can schedule his car to drive to a charging location, charge, and return.

    2. GSP says:

      50% of all car buyers is not 100%, but still a huge addressable market.

      In addition to that, anyone with an assigned parking place has potential to run electric service to it. It may only be practical for some of them now, but over time we should see more plugs at appartment and condo parking spaces.


    3. super390 says:

      There are plenty of mass markets in America that involve less than 50% of the public. VCRs and TVs and refrigerators were mass markets before they were in half of American homes. However, when you have that half further split by half not even knowing the name of an actual plug-in model, that’s annoying.

  10. Realdb2 says:

    Couple things I took away:

    1. While everyone is caught up in fuel savings and green factor, the most underrated thing about plug in vehicles continues to be performance (quiet, fast, smooth, etc.)

    2. LOL at the people saying they need >475 miles/charge before they’ll consider a BEV. These people do know that like 1% of light duty vehicles have that much range on a tank of gas, right?

  11. scott franco (the evil EV owning republican) says:

    This poll is like asking people if they will buy a smartphone in 2006, the year before the iphone. The 300 mile range is on the medium to high side of gas car range, so people just responded that they need a car with equivalent range.

    EVs are not gas cars. They don’t work like them or charge like them. The model of “gassing your car up once a week” is totally pointless for EVs. Its based on the idea that you have to stop at a gas station and store up enough range so that you are not inconvenienced by having to do that too often.

    Told that you have to “fill” your EV every night, most people would walk away because they have that gas station model in their head.

    I’m a big avocate of 50kWh cars (the Bolt and the M3 are 50kWh class cars). But I worry that the push exists to extend that range further. Its misplaced. 50kWh is more than the amount of average driving in a day. Carrying more than that amount means you are hauling battery weight and cost for no net benefit.

    The extra development time and money to extend 50kWH class cars to 100kWh is much better spent reducing the cost and weight of EVs to make them more mainstream, and the R&D spent on getting charge times down and propagating these cars will have much better effect on the EV functional envelope than trying to produce a “camel EV”.

    Ie., past the 50kWh car, we are chasing public perception (or misperception) rather than any real EV utility.

    1. Mark Renburke says:

      Great comment. Ed Begely Jr. put it this way: “You don’t need a sledghammer to install a tack.” I prove it daily, by commuting to work 35 miles all EV in a car with only that much rated range (and gas backup) and having over 80,000 EV miles in 4 years.

      As much (or perhaps more) as the market needs the next gen 200+ mile cars, it needs low EV range PHEVs of all vehicle classes (as the 34% shows) and that never *need* to be plugged in.

      Let’s focus not on changing minds (“you need buy a different type of vehicle”) and instead on changing *behaviours* (“get the type of vehicle you want, but now just benefit in multiple ways by simply plugging it in each night when you get home”)

  12. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Looks like very little change from a similar poll several years ago, in which only about 1/5 (20%) of respondents said they would even consider buying an EV as their next car.


    1. Vexar says:

      Cost remains likely the biggest hurdle. Dealerships are the next hurdle, before cost. Nissan will sell the Leaf. Chevrolet will sell the Bolt and the Volt and try not to step on their tongues doing so. What will not likely happen in nearly every geography is a salesperson steer a customer towards an EV. They are not incentivised to do so. The buyers may get some cash back, but the car salespeople have no incentive. Put $100-$250 in the pocket of the salesperson who sells an EV and change the world. I can see the dealerships fight that, though!

  13. ModernMarvelFan says:

    So about 20% people are expect to consider a PEV.

    If we can just convert 1/2 of them, then we would have a 10% market share.

    That is a great start!

    That is 1.7 Million. Let us get it done now!!!!