Toyota Prius Plug-In? Still Not Good Enough To Compete
The "2012 Electric Vehicle Ownership Experience Study" is out, and it contains all the usual facts and figures you would expect from a study of this nature, but also a few interesting extra tidbits thrown in as well.
Sorry Chevy Volt, You Can't Dethrone Gas Vehicles Either

Sorry Chevy Volt, You Can't Dethrone Gas Vehicles Either

J.D. Power and Associates, the author of the study, states that price is the main roadblock to widespread adoption of plug-in cars here in America.  They also note current EV owners generally value the environmental impact of the vehicle they drive much higher than the overall market does.

"Current EV owners focus on the emotional benefits of owning an electric vehicle--which are having a positive effect on the environment--but the way for manufacturers to take EVs to the masses and increase sales is to address the economic equation," said Neal Oddes, senior director of the green practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "There still is a disconnect between the reality of the cost of an EV and the cost savings that consumers want to achieve."

Thankfully, the study doesn't end there (because we all know EVs cost a lot of money), and states the second roadblock to plug-in vehicles.

Size.

Right-Sized Model S Is Unfortunately Wrong-Sized In Price

Right-Sized Model S Is Unfortunately Wrong-Sized In Price

Electric Vehicles are too small.  The study deftly shows that the average buyer is not all that keen on driving a compact car.  After trucks and SUVs, midsize cars are really what the average customer wants.  The best selling EV brands today like the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF and Toyota Prius Plug-In, just aren't big enough.

If price and size are the biggest concerns in consumer's minds, it would seem that Ford is best positioned to make the biggest inroads to the greater adoption of plug-in vehicles in 2013.   Both the C-Max Energi, but especially the Fusion Energi, look to be two of the biggest and cheapest models available to customers next year.

In a real world example of this result perhaps being valid, our own Lyle Dennis, will be trading in his (very famous) Chevrolet Volt for a C-Max Energi at some point this month.  He says just needs more room.

Coming Early 2013, The Closest Plug-In To Compete For Mainstream Affection Will Likely Be The Mid-Sized Ford Fusion Energi.  MSRP After Federal Credit Is Expected To Be About $5,000 Higher Than Average Gas Fusion Sale

Coming Early 2013, The Closest Plug-In To Compete For Mainstream Affection Will Likely Be The Mid-Sized Ford Fusion Energi.  MSRP After Federal Credit Is Expected To Be About $5,000 Higher Than Average Gas Fusion Sale

Other points of interest in the study:

  • 44% of current owners of EVs indicate the top benefit of their vehicle is lower emissions
  • owners of all-electric vehicles (BEV) pay a premium of $10,000, on average for their vehicle
  • owners of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV)  pay a $16,000 premium
  • based on their fuel consumptions of gas, it takes 6.5 years for BEV owners to recoup the $10,000 premium they paid, 11 years for PHEV owners
  • 33% of all owners charge from a standard 120v outlet
  • 43% of EV also charge their vehicle away from home,  85% of those do not pay for the service
  • average commute of an EV owner is 34 miles
The conclusion?

"The payback period is longer than most consumers keep their vehicle," said Neal Oddes, senior director of the green practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "The bottom line is that the price has to come down, which requires a technological quantum leap to reduce the battery price. There also needs to be an improvement in the infrastructure, or the number of charging stations outside of the home. Until those two concerns are addressed, EV sales will remain flat."

So, all EVs need to accomplish to displace gasoline cars in America is to get $13,000 cheaper, grow in size and function, and have charging stations (available for free) dotted around landscape.   Sounds easy.

It appears that mass plug-in adoption might take awhile, but at least we can say we are headed in the right direction.

JD Power