Infographic: “What Drives California’s Plug-In Electric Vehicle Owners?


“The latest survey of California’s plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) drivers shows differences in primary purchase motivations from owners of one model to the next. The survey also shows increased satisfaction with public charging options and wider availability of workplace charging than in previous surveys.”

Says the Center For Sustainable Energy.

Highlights from the survey, most of which are detailed in the infographic below, include:

  • The primary motivations for vehicle purchase vary significantly between models – Leaf drivers indicated the environment as the primary motivator, Plug-in Prius owners stated HOV lane access and Volt drivers specified fuel savings.
  • Respondents owning Chevy Volts are more than four times as likely to have a level 2 charging station installed at their home than Toyota Prius Plug-In respondents.
  • Workplace charging availability is becoming more widespread, 46% of respondents reported access to workplace charging, an increase of 14% from March 2012.
  • Of those with access to workplace charging, 74% have access to this charging at no cost to the driver, down from 89% in March 2012.
  • Though low, driver satisfaction with public charging infrastructure continues to improve, rising from 17% in March 2012 to 29% in May 2013.
  • HOV lane access was an extremely or a very important purchase motivation for 59% of respondents; 84% are displaying the HOV lane access sticker.
PEV Survey Infographic

PEV Survey Infographic


Source: Center For Sustainable Energy, hat tip to David Murray!

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15 Comments on "Infographic: “What Drives California’s Plug-In Electric Vehicle Owners?"

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Interesting that they didn’t include Tesla on here. Granted, the sample size of Tesla is too small to be relevant to any kind of statistical analysis. There was one infographic awhile back that compared the interests of Prius owners to Tesla owners. The result wasn’t too surprising. Prius owners were had your stereotypical “hippy” interests.. environment, world peace, etc. Tesla owners’ primary interests were money and having the newest tech gadgets.

The survey you quote was probably done in the Tesla Roadster days, when the Prius was the most green vehicle available, and the Roadster was strictly a sports car.

I venture to guess (and also based on info that has popped up here and there) that Tesla Model S drivers have very similar tendencies and preferences to Nissan Leaf drivers, albeit a higher average income level.

If you look at the top of the survey, it says the survey population includes people who “have driven their vehicle longer than six months as of March 1, 2013”. Since very few Model S had been delivered as of September 1, 2012, they are basically excluded from the survey. Also excluded are Ford’s plug-in models. The next survey results should have a significantly different mix of vehicles.

With this mix of gas a electric powered vehicles, I don’t see how the statistics are very meaningful.

So whatever the vehicle, the desired range is about three times the range available.

To be exact:
Nissan Leaf: 2.56x the actual range.
Chevrolet Volt: 2.63x the actual range.
Toyota PiP: 4.16x the actual range.

So, drawing some indirect conclusions, the Toyota people seem to be screaming for more range than the Nissan and Volt people, though all would love more range.

As a Volt owner, I agree with the desired electric range of around 100 miles, so I purchased a Rav4 EV to go with my Volt. I think this is a great combination.

With its tiny battery capacity and inability to do much without turning on the ICE, I think the Plug-In Prius should not qualify for the Green sticker.

They also take up valuable public charging spots.

The survey had almost 9k respondents. Tesla sold over 8k cars last year in CA. How can you say that a survey of Tesla owners would not be statistically significant?
If only 50% of Tesla owners, of Tesla’s sold just last year, responded to the survey, that would be 4k people almost half the total survey respondents.
Secondly, think about what the article is about. Tesla owners would skew the survey since for one they have own proprietary charging network, they would naturally be less concerned with the issues around public charging.
That is why I think they were left out of the survey, and not because they would be statically insignificant, quite to the contrary.

Sorry, as a Tesla, Volt and past Leaf owner I urge you to read the fine print of the report a bit more closely. The survey, though done in 2013 required respondents to have at least 6 MONTHS of driving time in their California Rebate electric vehicle AS OF MARCH 2013. Another poster noted that this early extended experience date eliminated most Tesla owners as only a very limited number of California deliveries had taken place that early in the “production rampup.”

Next year’s survey will be able to take full impact from the large number of Model S drivers now enjoying their cars in California and who took delivery, like I did later than March 31, 2013.

Wow, we’re a bunch of old fogeys, over 70% past 45 years old. Hopefully last year’s price cuts helped to change that…

I wonder how the survey would have changed once the Green HOV stickers are gone and all the Prius Plugin sales would be dropped to less than 100 units per month in CA….

May be people will drop the nonsense that “people don’t buy BEVs because of environmental reasons”.

It’s not nonsense and this survey more or less proves that. 38% bought for environmental reasons, while 62% bought for some other reason. And, I should add that that all respondents live in California and thus I’m sure if you did the same survey in the other 49 states, you’d find the percentage of treehuggers to be even less.