Survey: Average Consumer Doesn’t Even Know Charging Stations Exist

4 months ago by Steven Loveday 38

Charging

EVgo’s latest fast charging station to feature 4 “High-Power” 350 kW charging terminals, as well as a solar canopy and battery back-up

J.D. Power reminds us that electric cars and hybrids have always struggled, and despite recent successes, the general public is still not on board.

It’s hard to get people to spend the extra thousands up front, to save later at the pump. In terms of hybrid models, it could take a car owner seven to twelve years to recoup the additional purchase price via fuel savings. Aside from the Toyota Prius, hybrid sales have been less than mildly successful.

A J.D. Power survey from back in 2011 showed that 48 percent of car buyers wouldn’t consider a hybrid. At this point in time, prices were coming down, but it didn’t matter. Somewhat surprisingly, the same survey performed today shows that 73 percent aren’t interested (hopefully it’s because they’d rather buy an EV), and hybrid car prices are even more competitive today, but they still cost more. As J.D. Power puts it:

Tesla

Tesla Vehicles Supercharging

“Sure, hybrids are “green” and contribute to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but consumers believe the “green” in their wallets is more important.”

“Let’s not ignore the fact that the internal combustion engine is more efficient than ever. One could spend $18,500 for a base Toyota Corolla which gets 31 miles per gallon (mpg) or about $25,000 to step into a base Toyota Prius with 52 mpg. It’s hard for many to justify that price differential. At 12,000 miles a year and $3 a gallon, it would take more than 12 years to recoup that difference.”

How does this all correlate to fully electric vehicles?

The 2011 study found that 26 percent of consumers would consider an electric vehicle, but price was the number one deterrent. The more recent study should have shown a jump in this percentage, due to the fact that almost every automaker offers at least one plug-in model, and Tesla has been in the limelight with its electric cars as of late. Nonetheless, the percentage dropped to 13 percent. There’s a twist, however.

The number one reason for lack of interest in all other surveys was related to the exorbitant sticker price of hybrid and plug-in vehicles. The recent study showed that today people are more concerned with “range anxiety” and most have never seen a charging station. About 60 percent of respondents said that they have never noticed a charging station near home or while traveling, and only 10 percent noticed them everyday.

In California the story is different though, right?

C’mon, of the 15,993 nationwide charging stations, the Golden State is home to one-quarter of them (according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy), and many people drive EVs. Nope, California residents seem to have not seen charging stations either???

A majority of buyers told J.D. Power that a car would have to have a minimum of 300 miles of range before they would buy one (in fact, many of these respondents figured that they required much more than 300 miles). This leaves them one choice in today’s market, and it’s surely not an affordable one; the Tesla Model S. Next in line is the Chevrolet Bolt, with a 238-mile range, which is well below the cut. The rest of the bunch of current EVs sit around 100-125 miles of range.

Speaking of Tesla, what does J.D. Power’s data have to say about the esteemed Silicon Valley automaker?

Apparently, the data isn’t what some might expect:

“Their vehicles are sleek and sexy, and the driving range of the brand’s models seems to be growing. The hope is the new Model 3 will be a game changer when it comes out later this year as an affordable, effective electric vehicle. Shouldn’t innovation at that level create greater confidence for range-anxiety stricken buyers? Maybe, but 35% indicate that Tesla has not at all changed their perception of electric vehicle capabilities. In fact, the brand can be a bit polarizing. When typing “Tesla” into a Google search bar, the oh-so-helpful predictions include such listings as “Tesla Model 3,” “Tesla Fire” and “Tesla Workplace Conditions.” It can derail one’s research at work, that’s for sure.”

With all of these negative survey results from J.D. Power, why are automakers electrifying in the first place?

The publication reminds us that it’s because they have to. Automakers need to comply with fuel efficiency regulations, and even if they don’t sell well, the EVs help car companies keep fleet average fuel economy figures compliant.

If fuel economy regulations go away will automakers cease to move forward?

J.D Power doesn’t try to answer this question. But instead, the take is that no matter what happens, automakers must build vehicles that “customers want and are willing to pay for.” The companies are simply wasting energy if they don’t maintain this primary goal.

Source: J.D. Power

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

38 responses to "Survey: Average Consumer Doesn’t Even Know Charging Stations Exist"

  1. David Murray says:

    I wonder how many of those people say they’ve never seen one, right as they are parking their ICE car in front of one?

    To be fair, though.. It depends a great deal on geographic location. People who don’t live on the West coast probably haven’t seen one. Because there just aren’t that many of them in the rest of the country. Hence the reason I’m driving a plug-in hybrid.

  2. Sy Gong Ho says:

    Surveys depend a lot on how you ask the question. The question to ask is “How much extra are you willing to pay for 25% better acceleration at red lights and 25% better gas mileage?”
    And “Do you notice charging stations near home or while traveling?” is not the same “Are you aware that there are charging stations in your town?” I have an EV, but I do not “notice” charging station near my home. I know there are zillions.

    1. MikeM says:

      ” I have an EV, but I do not “notice” charging station near my home”.

      That’s my observation too. They are often tucked away somewhere.
      Now, if only we could get the word out to the general public to;

      (a) Go to plugshare.com
      (b) Zoom in/around your home location and take a look.
      (c) Deselect “residential” + “public” stations. Take another look at DC fast chargers.

      That would likely resolve charging concerns for a good number of folks.

      1. skierpage says:

        Google could just tell people “In the past month your longest daily drive was 109 miles. There are 7 electric vehicles with a range of more than 129 miles, click to see them. On that drive you passed within 1 mile of two fast-charging locations. Would you like to see a map of charging locations in your area?”

        Or sometime could make an app that does this.

        1. JP White says:

          Now that’s the smartest idea I’ve heard in a long time!!

          Google knows your driving habits better than you do.

  3. SparkEV says:

    Not seeing public charger is one thing, but nobody seem to know there is such a thing as fast chargers that can charge about 100 miles range in 30 minutes. When I actually showed SparkEV charging at DCFC and seeing the miles climb, they were amazed such a thing even exist.

    Unless people realize fast chargers exist, EV as battery capacity only vehicle will persist. Then even the 300 miles range Tesla will be perceived as “only 150 miles from home” cars.

  4. Mark.ca says:

    I have 2 stations within 1 mile from my house. One in in a shopping complex that I always go to and park right next to the station. I realized there was a station there only after I bought my ev and after i was looking into ChargePoint app for available stations. It was invisible to me for years.

    1. Brandon says:

      Exactly. The statement that most people don’t notice charging stations reflects the fact that there simply aren’t many around, talking nationwide.

      When there are thousands of Tesla style CCS and CHAdeMO multi stall 150 kW ChargePoint Express Plus fast charger type of setups all across the country at convenience store and gas station locations, and malls and restaurants, then they’ll be noticed.

      Once there are various affordable long range EVs on the market in a few years we’ll see awareness take of with adoption.

  5. darth says:

    People think they need more range than they actually do because they think things are further away than they really are.

    They also don’t get that EV range gets better in slower traffic.

    1. Bolt driver says:

      Actually I found the opposite. I drive further than I thought. It never mattered how far I drove when I could go 600-700 miles per tank.

      Once I started driving on battery power I quickly realized I needed 20-25kw per day to do my daily commute in the winter. I have also realized that chargers other than dcfc are not very useful to me when out and about. Even a l2 charger doesn’t recharge very fast. Cost savings are not all that great either. I figure I save maybe $300 per year and I drive 20k per year. While ev’s are more efficient, fuel cost is higher. Diesel was $2.19 yesterday and the equivalent amount of energy in a battery is $3.50 ish.

      1. JP White says:

        Only $300 savings for 20,000 miles driving?

        How do you figure your savings?

        I have detailed calculations using actual gas and electricity prices that show $2,000 / year savings for 18,000/year.

  6. Scorpion says:

    There is so much BS in this “study”, I’m not sure where to begin.
    I’ll be contacting JD Power for sure, and questioning their “experts”.

    FIRST of all, a Corolla is NOT equal to a Prius in terms of interior and cargo room, and certainly NOT in terms of standard features. I guarantee the Prius is better-equipped, but of course they never mention this.

    SECOND, a hybrid is NOT a type of car; it is a type of powertrain option. Asking people if they would “consider a hybrid as their next car” is about as dumb as asking people if they wanted a v6 or a manual transmission as their next car. When you say “a hybrid car” people think “Prius”, so of course there’ll be a lot of NO! Ask them: “would you consider a hybrid powertrain option in the next vehicle you purchase?” Then people will think of the type of car THEY are thinking of buying, but with a hybrid drivetrain. See how the answers change.

    THIRD, the report makes it looks like traditional ICE cars are becoming more efficient without cost; WRONG. Direct injection, turbocharged engines and lightweighting with aluminum all cost more than the baseline vehicle. So, in other words, the report insinuates that slapping one type of fuel-saving tech in a car (hybrid powertrain) all of a sudden makes it “a hybrid” that no one wants, but which MUST justify its fuel savings. Slapping another suite of fuel-saving tech (turbo DI, 9-speed transmission, etc,) keeps the car desirable, and there is never any need nor analysis of the “payback time” on the “price premium”

    FOURTH, notice the sleight of hand where the hybrid has to compete against the more efficient ICE rather than the baseline ICE?! This is bogus – every car manufacturer makes more and less efficient versions of the same model. For midsize sedans, the baseline could be a v6 or non-turbo 4. For a pickup, it could be a v8. When a consumer has decided they are willing to spend more to save fuel, the relevant comparison is evaluating the “payback” of the turbo DI to the baseline, and how that number compares to the “payback” of the hybrid versus the baseline. IT IS MISLEADING TO COMPARE THE HYBRID TO THE DI TURBO ICE!!

    FIFTH, the problem with a non-plug hybrid is that it has all the extra hybrid hardware coupled to a tiny battery. A PHEV has the exact same hardware, but only a slight increase in price, which at $125 for each incremental kWh, is trivial. But the fuel savings are MUCH larger – a 20 mile all-electric range is sufficient to give a PHEV half the fuel consumption of the exact same car as standard hybrid. So, the “payback” on a PHEV is always better. My Fusion Energi likely costs only $2k more than the standard baseline 4, especially when you consider the savings on having a simpler, non-turbo ICE with no DI, not to mention maintenance savings on brakes, oil changes, etc.
    Payback time is <4 years with gas @ $2/gallon

    1. Devin Serpa says:

      All cars should have a hybrid system by now, although it’s just branding problems…

      Non-Plugin Hybrids should just be called a car with the optional “electronic acceleration assist with battery backup featuring regenerative breaks”.

      Who says no to electronic fuel injectors, electronic steering, or automatic transmission?

      Then just call plugin hybrids a car with optional “range extender with dual (or quad) battery”.

  7. Scott Franco says:

    None of this matters. How can I say that? For years I walked around California with a cell phone in my pocket. By the time of the Motorola flip phone, people knew about cell phones but you still got stares when people saw you walking by talking on the phone.

    Throughout this time, I knew cell phones would become the norm. They had already taken off in other countries. The papers had noted that the most common objects to be assaulted with in Hong Kong were cell phones. I knew this phase of adoption was over when one day I heard my phone ring, pulled it out to answer it, and heard nothing. Then I looked around and noticed the man beside me had answered his identical flip phone and was talking on it.

    The EV is like that. I know for certain its general adoption is inevitable, because I know the huge advantages (takes less energy, does not try to kill you, faster, quieter, vastly easier to maintain, etc). It does not bother me that not many have one by percentage here in Silicon Valley. I see the population of EVs on the streets doubling every 2 years or so.

    Its going to happen.

    1. Sy Gong Ho says:

      Right. Our grandchildren will be disgusted when we explain how we used to burn gasoline all over the city in cars. “Ew! Why would you use gasoline?” We should keep around a bottle of the stuff just so they can have a whif of it. Tell them how our hands used to smell like that after visiting a gas station.

      1. Devin Serpa says:

        That’s why I have a whale oil lamp on my desk.

      2. Steven says:

        When young, I would visit my grandparents house, and play in the basement, there were all these black rocks to play with…
        Years later, I realized that was coal.

    2. Peter says:

      Same reflection here.

      Totally agree.

      And like a phone you mainly charge at home overnight.
      Soon also free of charge if you have a roof.

  8. Gazz says:

    Everyone in my family (in the UK) is convinced that they have never seen one. However they have all been to ikea and motorway services.
    People don’t remember what they are not interested in.

    1. Brandon says:

      One thing is that if there’s no car there visible plugged in to the charging station it might not catch someone’s eye enough to realize what is is and remember that they saw one.

      1. Peter says:

        Agree most times there is no car charging because EVs are charged over night you mainly charge in other locations when you are out on a longer trip.
        Every day commuting is charged at home and maybe also at work.

    2. JP White says:

      Agreed.

      If you buy a relatively “rare” car its amazing how many of them you start to see once you own one. I think everyone has had the experience of seeing their car model more often after buying one.

      Same applies to EV chargers.

      In fact I notice where electrical outlets are on the outside of buildings. I bet non EV drivers wouldn’t even think to look.

  9. Devin Serpa says:

    That BIPV is sexy.

  10. Andy says:

    The reason why not more ppl are buying hybrids is because they drive like crap. Under powered and noisy due to the lack of insulation to save weight they are horrible to drive. It’s hard for me to buy a Prius to get 52 mpg when my Accord gets 37 highway. But I’ve got one more year of payments. Next up will be a Hydai Iobiq EV. EVs on the other hand have much more power.

    1. Scorpion says:

      I’m getting very tired of comments like this.
      See what he did there?

      He said “hybrids drive like crap”. A blanket generalization of an ENTIRE category of vehicle drivetrain.

      What if someone said “all v6 cars drive like crap” or “all automatic transmissions are jerky and not smooth”

      THIS IS 2017, AND THIS MENTALITY HAS GOT TO STOP. Hybrids have been on the road 20 years now, and encompass many different types of vehicles….yet somehow they’re always akin to a Prius or 1st generation Insight.

      I intend to call out such thinking when I see it, as we all should. Perhaps Andy thinks the Porsche 918, McLaren P1, and LeFerrari all “handle like crap”?? Or the new NSX, the BMW i8, the Infinity Q50S, the Mercedes S550e, or heck even my car – a Fusion Energi? ALL ARE HYBRIDS!

      How about a ’11 Cadillac Escalade 4WD? A diesel submarine? A locomotive? Ditto – all hybrids. Do they “handle like crap”?

      It is THIS mentality that is holding hybrids back – nothing else.

      1. JP White says:

        EV’s are nothing more than big golf carts.

        That’s the prevailing opinion. EV’s are not considered to be attractive to the average car driver at all.

        All this despite Tesla’s best efforts to prove EV’s are quicker, quieter and sleeker than gas cars.

        When someone rides in my LEAF for the first time they are astounded that it accelerates quickly and can do 70 on the interstate effortlessly. Conventional wisdom says they are golf carts.

      2. Andy says:

        I rent hybrids quite a bit cause I like gas sipping, but as a daily driver, it would drive me nuts. As I said, noisy, boring to drive, and they handle like crap. CMaX, Prius 3rd and 4th gen, Altima hybrid. I even had a new electrical panel installed at my house last year in preparation for EV. I’m skipping over hybrids and PHEV and going straight to EV this year. Even at my work, we have way more EVs than hybrids. We have 1 hybrid and 8 EVs. year.

        1. Scorpion says:

          Yes Andy.

          The Mercedes S550e, BMW i8, Laferrari, and Porsche 918 “ARE NOISY, BORING TO DRIVE, AND THEY HANDLE LIKE CRAP”

          Because….you know, they’re HYBRIDS.

          Andy says all hybrids “handle like crap”
          The above cars (that Andy probably can’t afford) are hybrids
          Therefore, according to Andy’s logic, those cars “handle like crap”

          (Well he’s actually right about the Porsche 918 and the LaFerrari being noisy – and that’s a GOOD thing!)

          Perhaps Andy only denigrates hybrids HE can afford to buy….which still doesn’t give them the right to sereotype an entire technology.

          And, for the record, my Fusion Energi will absolutely SMOKE his Ioniq EV in terms of driving excitement and handling. Just as quiet in EV mode, too.

  11. Lance Mace says:

    Let’s not forget most everyone with a traditional single house all have an EV (gas station) in that very convenient place. Education of this simple fact is key, I think I saw the percentage of daily commutes that is covered by an EV with at least 200 miles of range is over 98%. People need to understand for the most part, you won’t even need to think about range if you charge nightly and at home…

    1. Benicia Dave says:

      Precisely. Why would I pay $1.50 an hour at Charge Point it EVGo when I can a full charge overnight at home?
      I drive a Volt, so paying for public charging does not make sense, and even though I live in northern California, there are few “free” stations and NONE in my area.
      I love my Volt-it’s a blast to drive and except for a road trip to and from LA this year, I’ve put gas in it three times this year (12 gallons a trip)

      1. Scorpion says:

        It’s not the $1.50/hour that makes public charging useless for PHEV drivers.

        The REAL problem is that your Volt (as well as my Fusion Energi and other PHEV’s) has a puny 3.3 kW on-board rectifier. Unlike Tesla, no other carmaker offers 10 or 20 kW rectifiers – even though those could be profitable (dealer-installed) options.
        That, plus the fact that ChargePoint and every other EVSE network (again, except Tesla) only offer 30 amp / 240v stations, or 7.2 kW, when in fact the J1772 standard allows up to 19.2 kW.
        If your Volt charged at 19.2 kW, it would be re-charged in 40 minutes and you’d get 52 miles for $1.50….far better fuel economy than running on gas.
        My Fusion Energi would get 22 miles for that $1.50, which is equal to 33 mpg at current gas prices. So, not as good mpg as hybrid mode, butt I’d still buy the charging session anyways, just cuz I like keeping my fuel dollars local / domestic.
        So, basically

        1. Peter says:

          That is the way to go. Don’t ever give you money to countries that don’t give s*** about human rights. And that have a lot of terrorist that are happy to kill us or there own people if you don’t agree with there religion.

          Go BEV and mainly make you own free energy at home if possible.

  12. Grant Gerke says:

    When Tesla releases the model 3, people will start talking about charging stations and the superior technology that is an electric vehicle.

  13. The biggest hurdle still to be overcome is the media’s long-standing refusal to talk about EVs and hybrids first in terms of their environmental benefit, not their initial cost.

    Going “green” is a commitment to help ease climate change. Does it cost more than polluting with vehicles using antiquated gas engines? Of course.

    But the solar panels on my home and the Tesla Model S in the garage not only help the environment, they’ve saved me tens of thousands of dollars in state and federal taxes.

    They are well worth the investment.

    1. Scorpion says:

      Are you kidding?
      The media refuses to talk about the environmental benefits of EV’s…wha?

      I challenge you to find a SINGLE article about a hybrid or EV going back a decade or more that doesn’t say something along the lines of “saving the polar bears” or “eco-conscious” or some such nonsense.

      You have it completely backwards; it is the fact that EV’s and hybrids are ONLY portrayed as “being green” that is preventing them from selling more and appealing to a wider audience.

      Does anyone besides myself ever promote plug-in cars for national security, cutting the trade deficit or keeping your fuel dollars local? NOPE

      By the way, converting every car in USA to 100% EV (and powered by renewables) cuts global GHG emissions by 3%

      Converting just half the cars in this country to PHEV would make us a net oil exporter for the first time since WW2.

      Guess which one of these EV advocates have (stupidly) chosen to focus on?

      1. Peter says:

        Soon oil export will be as impossible as coal export. No one will buy that s***
        Solar panels and wind power with batteries is soon the cheapest way to produce energy.
        Price is everything here and the fact that it is legal and possible to produce your own.

  14. Craig Manning says:

    “and most have never seen a charging station”.
    This is where education is most needed. That electrical outlet in the garage IS a charging station. DC fast charging is only needed for long trips. Most EVs are charged primarily at home.
    Granted DC fast charging is often tucked away, and not obvious, but that is not the main way to charge a car.
    Sure there aren’t charging stations on every corner, but they aren’t needed in the same way.

    1. Peter says:

      Agree

Leave a Reply