Electrical Business

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Fickle consumers won’t buy electric vehicles, yet expect utility support


September 26, 2013
By Anthony Capkun

September 26, 2013 – New “E2” (Energy + Environment) research from Market Strategies International finds American consumers are becoming less optimistic about electric vehicles (EVs) and their expectations of EV ownership, due greatly in part to concerns about battery life and recharging infrastructure.

Currently, 48% of respondents do not think they will be driving an EV within the next 10 years, while 41% consider themselves likely to do so. Two years ago in a similar survey, 46% said they would likely drive an EV within a decade.

“Past E2 surveys have identified practical considerations—such as battery life and charging infrastructure—as important consumer concerns,” said Jack Lloyd, senior vice-president, Energy Division at Market Strategies. “Now that EVs are not just futuristic concepts but actual products available in the marketplace, these considerations seem more tangible, and are having a more pronounced effect on purchase interest.”

About two-thirds (66%) of respondents agree their local electric utility “should begin working and investing now to assure that the needed infrastructure will be in place for convenient recharging of electric vehicles”, but 58% don’t know whether their utility has the technical capability to make it happen.

“Interestingly, consumers seem to be getting less inclined to invest in an electric vehicle for their own use, but many do want their local electric utilities to support the development of an electric vehicle market,” added Lloyd. “Only one in five consumers thinks that their utility is a meaningful source of information on the vehicles themselves, but more than half think that utilities should be building EV charging infrastructure, introducing subsidized EV charging rates and working with governments to implement pro-EV policies.”