Survey Says Choice is Key in Expanding Sales of Plug-In Vehicles

5 years ago by Eric Loveday 21

Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

Thanks Captain Obvious.

InsideEVs Scorecard Shows Tons of Choices Currently Exist

InsideEVs Sales Scorecard (Thru February) Shows Tons of Choices Currently Exist (click to enlarge)

A recent survey conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) concludes that as more plug-in vehicle choices emerge, buyers will purchase more plug-in autos.

This has long been the case in the automotive industry as a whole, due to the fact that buyers have different tastes.  One vehicle, or even a handful of vehicles, will never be to the liking of all potential buyers, but dozens or even hundred of choices will surely please a wider swath of consumers.

As David Owen, manager of Clean Air Technologies for CenterPoint Energy, explains:

“The survey suggests a trend toward smaller, more economic vehicles.  However, the availability of plug-in vehicles in a wide range of makes and models will be a key to how fast and to what extent they are seen as alternatives to conventional vehicles.”

However, others findings of the survey conducted by EPRI weren’t so obvious.

Of those surveyed (south Texas consumers), 46 percent expressed willingness to pay a slight premium for an electric vehicle if one was available in their make and model of choice.

Other results from the survey seem to indicate that range is still a major issue for potential buyers.  Only 8 percent of those surveyed who are seriously considering an electric vehicle would opt for a pure battery electric over a plug-in hybrid.

But it all comes down to education.  As the survey indicates consumer education is a primary factor in addressing electric vehicle uncertainties and misconceptions.  If informed on the workings of electric vehicles, buyers then indicated a preference towards them.  And some consumers even stated that they bought a plug-in vehicle shortly after becoming knowledgeable on the advantages of going electric.
As Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation research for the Electric Power Research Institute, stated:
“While electric vehicle sales have not yet met some manufacturers’ sales forecasts, there are persuasive indicators from consumers that those expectations may ultimately be met or exceeded.”
Given time, the electric vehicle industry will continue to develop and grow.

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21 responses to "Survey Says Choice is Key in Expanding Sales of Plug-In Vehicles"

  1. cgVolt says:

    With my Volt, I commute just over 100 miles per day (and charge level 1 during the day). I will only buy a BEV if it can get about EPA 200 miles electric or more like 120 if I limit my errands to 1 per day or something and cost under $40k before tax credits. American company preferred.

    I would get a plug-in for my wife if I could find a 7 seater under $50k and still have storage space (she currently drives a Suburban). American company preferred.

    Those are simply my choices.

    1. Anderlan says:

      At exactly $50k you could probably get a 40kwh Model X in 2 years :-\

      1. evnow says:

        No, you won’t. X is only available in 60 & 85 kWh options. So we are looking at $60k minimum – after tax credits !

  2. GeorgeS says:

    Love that little score card. You should put Jay’s Tesla guestimated sales on it.

    1. scottf200 says:

      That is part of the scorecard page at the very top of the site: http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/

  3. Jay Cole says:

    Everyone does seems to miss the Tesla numbers. We have them pegged at 1,200 for January and 1,400 in February, net of 2,600.

    …so inexact though under we get quarterly/yearly updates, and even then Tesla doesn’t break it out. For 2012 they said around 2,650.

    1. Anderlan says:

      So, after the quarterly report our editors could add a Tesla S column and merge the cells for Jan. thru March, and simply put the quarter report number in it.

      1. evnow says:

        Then you can’t give monthly totals.

  4. vdiv says:

    “Only 8 percent of those surveyed who are seriously considering an electric vehicle would opt for a pure battery electric over a plug-in hybrid.”

    Manufacturers seem to be following this quite a bit as the number of new BEV models planned or coming out pales in comparison to that of PHEVs. It is a slow (feels too slow to me) evolution.

  5. bloggin says:

    A BEV works best as a second car, until it offers 200 EV miles, and then it’s only for consumers who have a place to charge at home.

    As an only car, the plug in hybrids are the best option and the best of both worlds. Driving a plug in hybrid is really like having two cars, your EV and your backup hybrid vehicle.

    Which is why the Volt sells so well consistently. Adding more EV range to the Volt would make it even better.

    1. Future Leaf Driver says:

      Too bad GM has no plans to increase EV range (other than +3 miles) for Gen 1 Volt. Doesn’t make sense why they will not open up the battery power (since it’s so well protected with heating and cooling systems) and at least have the Volt achieve 40 EV range (in all seasons/temperatures) like they originally marketed. It’s not like current Volt owners haven’t be asking for this for years now.

      Hopefully after the BMW i3 with 100 mile range plus gas extender starts shipping maybe they’ll start thinking differently..

      1. scottf200 says:

        People expect there cars to last much longer than a cellphone or laptops so we Volt owners appreciate them treating the batteries well so we get a decade or more use even in warmer places. With 2011/12’s 16 kWh the range is 25-50 (Sept 2010). With 2013’s 16.5 kWh it is more like 28-53. Using a heater a lot in the winter can use up as much kW as driving at steady flat pace.

        See the other insideevs recent article: GM Working on Next-Gen Dedicated Electric Vehicle Bigger Than Chevy Spark EV
        http://insideevs.com/gm-working-on-next-gen-dedicated-electric-vehicle-bigger-than-chevy-spark-ev-production-set-for-south-korea/

        1. Future Leaf Driver says:

          Agreed, buyers do expect their cars to last longer than cells or laptops but most owners will probably trade up their cars long before a decades time and a lot of Volt owners have commented on having access to more battery power rather than having to use gas.

          Yes, I’ve read that article as well and as I comment before -Hopefully after the BMW i3 with 100 mile range plus gas extender starts shipping maybe GM will start thinking differently.

          1. Herm says:

            GM HAS to provide a 10 year / 150k mile warranty on the battery in CARB States, 8 years /100k miles in other States. This is due to the Volt having an engine and thus falling under emission regulations. A Leaf or Tesla S do not have those requirements.

      2. bloggin says:

        If you look at the total amount of storage space that there is in a battery, and then start knocking stuff for safety, security … by the time all is said and done, you’re only using a quarter to a third of the space in a battery.

        So if GM can improve their testing like Ford is doing with Arbin through the $3.1M grant, being able to use just half of the battery will double the useable EV miles of the current battery pack.

        With Ford in 2012 stating it takes 1 year to complete validation testing equal to 10 battery years or 150k miles, expect to see their EV mileage close to double by 2015 at the latest. Crazy hybrid mpg, 30+ EV miles for plug-ins, and 150 mile EV using the same battery pack as today.

        Because it’s not as much the composition of the battery itself, but developing software that better manages and allows for the use of more of the available cell capacity.

        http://www.arbin.com/blog/129-31m-grant-for-arbin-a-ford

    2. evnow says:

      No – BEVs are excellent first cars. We just need a ICE backup/second car. Infact, ICE works best as a second/backup car.

      1. bloggin says:

        lol…I get what you are saying. Owners of ICE vehicles who then buy a BEV, may use the BEV as their daily commuter, and use the ICE as their back up. But it will be the second car, as they will already own an ICE vehicle.

      2. MMcI says:

        I second that. When I told my dad that he literally stopped in his tracks and said “Well… yeah… why did I think otherwise until you said that?”. It’ll take time, but for a lost of users the ICE car quickly becomes the backup car. And if it sits idle in the garage long enough… the idea of just renting as needed feels less and less crazy.

  6. scottf200 says:

    One key is different manufacturers that customers prefer (or have been a family tradition). Simplest example is Chevrolet vs Ford. I mainly drove Fords but branched out and brought my 1st Chevrolet (Volt). Others will not deviate from their favorite brands (Nissan, Toyota, etc).

    1. evnow says:

      Yes – this is very important. Lot of people I know are open to plugins – but not from GM/Ford.

  7. Delta says:

    These discussons about EV’s and their limitations will be thrown out the window the next time there is an oil crisis. It is only a matter of time before the next price spike. In fact, all drivers should be very happy that there is an EV alternative because the oil industry knows full well that they have to keep prices low enough to not start an electric car revolution.