Pike Research does a lot of public opinion surveys on electric vehicles.  Unfortunately, its latest effort shows that perhaps some interest has been lost in plug-in electric vehicles.

"Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of consumers participating in Pike Research’s annual survey that identified themselves as "extremely interested" or "very interested" in PEVs fell from 40% of the respondents to 36%."

Pike Research Maps Out Interest In Plug-In Electric Vehicles Today (Click to Enlarge)

Pike Research Maps Out Interest In Plug-In Electric Vehicles Today (Click to Enlarge)

Pike does note that this is not a huge variation, and given this was a web-based survey of just over 1,000 consumers in the US, the +/- margin of error may in fact be greater than the discrepancy.  Still, every data point on the segment has some value.

Pike Research estimates that the total sales of electric vehicles, both fully electric and extended range hybrid, will be 47,966 for 2012, and notes an anticipated growth rate of 30% from today until 2020.  At that pace, sales in 2015 would number 105,381 and 391,273 in 2020.

Conclusion by Pike?

"While this decrease is not staggering, it does indicate that auto manufacturers will need to make improvements in PEVs in order to attract buyers in larger numbers. It also indicates that manufacturers need to do a better job of educating consumers about the benefits of PEVs and making these cars more relevant to the end user."

Other points of interest in the survey:

  • Early adopters of technology were almost twice as likely to be interested in PEVs as the average consumer. Self-identified Democrats were somewhat more likely than Republicans (41% vs. 31%) to state they were extremely or very interested in PEVs.
  • Consumers continue to cite insufficient driving range as a reason they are not interested in PEVs, followed by a desire for the technology to develop further before committing to purchasing a PEV. However, this latter reason saw a significant decline from 2011.
  • When asked which vehicle brands they would consider for a PEV, respondents continued to gravitate toward the same five brands in 2012. Toyota (50%) and Ford (43%) remain in the top two spots, followed by Chevrolet, Honda (both 42%), and Nissan (34%).
  • More than a third of respondents did not agree that PEVs are much cheaper to own than a gasoline vehicle. Almost half disagreed that PEVs are exciting to drive and own.
  • More than a third of respondents stated they believe that PEV batteries are dangerous and 4 in 10 stated that PEVs often leave their owners stranded when they run out of power.
Pike Research via Green Car Congress