Study Shows Car Buyers Ignore Electric Vehicles image

A new study shows that car buyers are not attracted by plug-in electric vehicles.

The study was made by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and is based on a survey of 2,300 adult drivers, from 21 large cities in the US in fall 2011. Since then, marketing efforts for vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt have merely increased awareness, according to researchers.

“Based on sales data of electric vehicles, and subsequent surveys, we would be very surprised if the result would be much different today than in August 2011,” said John Graham, who designed the study.

The study shows that people have preconceived notions about electric vehicles causing some of them to be more pessimistic about EVs than they should be and some to be too optimistic. Dr. Graham believes that most customers experience what he calls ‘sticker shock’ at the dealership and walk away, as they know an EV costs more, but not thousands of dollars more.

Only 22% of the respondents showed interest in a pure EV, while 78% showed interest in a plug-in car. There was also a difference between cities, with San Francisco, Chicago and Boston having the most buyers interested in plug-in vehicles, compared with the other cities.

“It’s going to be a decade before we figure out if plug-in vehicles can become the norm, rather than an interesting curiosity of a niche buyer,” said Dr. Graham.