J.D. Power: EV Buyers Cite Environmental Concerns as Primary Reason For Buying Electric


Perhaps BMW is Right in Focusing on the Environment With its i3 Marketing?

Perhaps BMW is Right in Focusing on the Environment With its i3 Marketing?

According to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Avoider Study:

We Tend to Think That the Money Saving Aspects of EVs Drive Sales

We Tend to Think That the Money Saving Aspects of EVs Drive Sales

  • “Among new-vehicle buyers who purchased an electric vehicle, more buyers say that they did so due to environmental concerns (32%) than gas mileage (29%).”

This runs counter to our belief that EVs are now predominantly purchased for reasons such as reduced operating costs and fun-to-drive qualities.

Is it true that environmental concerns still top the list of reasons why buyers go electric?

Additional “key” findings from the Avoider Study include:

  • Among both import and domestic new-vehicle buyers, latest technology is among the top 10 purchase reasons indicated at the industry level.
  • For a third consecutive year, gas mileage continues to be the most influential purchase reason at the industry level (15%) and is the second-most-frequently cited reason for rejecting a vehicle, behind price.Exterior styling remains the most influential reason for new-vehicle buyers to avoid shopping other models in the segment in which they purchased (33%).
  • Slightly more than eight in 10 (81%) new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet for automotive shopping cite accessing online ratings and reviews prior to purchasing their vehicle. Fifteen percent of new-vehicle buyers cite online ratings and reviews as a reason they avoided a specific vehicle, up 4 percentage points from 2010.

The study lists the “top five most influential purchase reasons” for mass market new-vehicle buyers:

J.D. Power 2014 Avoider Study Results Are Out

J.D. Power 2014 Avoider Study Results Are Out

1. Gas mileage (fuel economy)
2. Reliability (freedom from breakdowns)
3. The “Deal” (interest rates/rebates)
4. Exterior styling (design)
5. Performance (power, handling, etc.)

As for who partakes in this study, J.D. Power says the following:

“The 2014 Avoider Study is based on responses from approximately 29,000 owners who registered a new vehicle in April and May 2013. The study was fielded between July and September 2013. The study, now in its 11th year, examines the reasons consumers purchase, reject and why they do not consider–or avoid–particular models when shopping for a new vehicle.”

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13 Comments on "J.D. Power: EV Buyers Cite Environmental Concerns as Primary Reason For Buying Electric"

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I bought my plug-in for the cool technology & driving experience. That was reason #1. Reason #2 was to avoid gasoline as much as possible (energy security). Reason #3 was less maintenance.

It is also very important to look at the numbers in perspective. If 32% bought for environmental reasons, then that means 68% bought for some OTHER reason.

No, please don’t misread a survey.

32% said it was their *most* important reason. It doesn’t mean that reason doesn’t exist for anyone else.

And it is the most common #1 reason, with fuel-efficiency – a not-unrelated reason, to put it mildly – running a close second.

This flies in the face of those who think “EV buyers don’t give a rat’s ass about global warming”, just because they personally don’t.

Really, sans the global-warming and other environmental concerns, why not just continue to develop tar sands, fracked oil, etc. etc., to make sure our ICE vehicle fleet keeps chugging along.

After all, humanity’s creative engineering energies and government subsidies can be turned in many directions besides developing EVs, which essentially replace an existing function that already “works fine” sans the environmental concerns.

Most EV buyers get it. Do you?

I get the reality that most people are not willing to make a significant change in lifestyle for their concern for the environment of their own free will. And I personally do care about global warming, imported oil, blah blah blah. But I also know deep down I don’t care enough to buy a car I wouldn’t otherwise like. I bought my EV for the simple reason I like the high tech car, and everything else is just a bonus. We’ve done numerous polls on this topic on both Mynissanleaf.com and GM-Volt.com and continually came to the same conclusion. The people on those forums are a sample of the really enthusiastic part of the EV movement and even within that group we continually see that most buyers bought their car for reasons other than environmental concern. And if we ever hope to convert the rest of the population to electric drive, then you’ll have to get over it and learn to stop cramming the tree-hugger attitude down their throat. People need to switch because they want to, not because they feel guilty about it. If we stick to the tree-hugger image, then EVs will always remain a niche.

David, no, what you found in those surveys is that it is trendy among EV buyers to play down the environmental aspects,and play up all the other benefits of EV’s in order to avoid baiting the inevitable anti-green trolls. I

Everyone who has been involved with green car websites all know what I’m talking about. Every green website has those anti-green trolls who ruin every discussion the moment issues like the environment come up. It can ruin entire websites, driving away regulars who care about green cars and green issues.

Playing up the vast array of other benefits besides the obvious green environmental benefits of green cars is just a handy way to try and keep the anti-green trolls at bay. It is a rational way of handling those folks, while in reality still promoting environmentally green vehicles. Those polls don’t mean what you think they mean. They just mean that folks are sick and tired of anti-green trolls, and collectively they have found that staying hush about the environment is the best way to handle them.

Assaf, if you’re going to quote me, then get it right. I never said that I, or most EV enthusiasts, don’t care about the environment, or the air we breathe, or global warming. That was a reply to an article that basically stated that, any of us that didn’t have carbon footprint uppermost in our minds, should continue to drive gas burning vehicles. It sounds as stupid repeating it now as it did when I read that article.

I think you’re letting semantics run away with you.

I’m not sure what the margin of error is on their results, but I doubt that 29% and 32% represent a statistically significant difference. The headline should probably say that drivers are about equally interested in environmental concerns and gas mileage. Also, I’m not sure how many people really consider those two categories as separate things. People might report they are concerned about the environment when their real goal is to reduce fuel expenses because it sounds better to care about the world than to care about how much money you spend.

And when someone is asked if they care about the environment, they are probably going to say “yes, of course”, but does that *really* mean that was part of their purchasing decision.

Gas mileage being an influencing factor? How on earth are there people who buy an F-150 then?

This Study only represents the views of 2nd quarter car buyers. 1st and 4th quarter car buyers probably would pick “The Deal” as the number 1 purchase reason. They should have done this Study on a full year of car buyers.


Love being painted with a single brush stroke.

Screw the environment! I precondition my EV in the middle of the winter with all of the windows down using grid electricity generated by burning West Virginia coal obtained with chemicals that have made the water undrinkable in all of the Ohio river watershed.

OK, I don’t really do that. I pay extra for 100% renewable power, and freeze my butt off while driving to squeeze out every mWh, but you get my point. 🙂

High performance and better driving experience (yes, even the LEAF!)
Modern tech (yes I know EVs have been around a long time but…)
Attractive Total Cost of Ownership

I’m pleased that it’s better for the environment but I like efficiency for efficiencies sake anyway and that usually means it has less of an environmental impact.

May 2013 survey? Probably most owners are 2011 and 2012 buyers and early 2013 buyers. Those are still “early adopter” phase…..