JD Power & Associates has released its first consumer study on electric vehicles. It was conducted in October and surveyed more than 7,600 consumers who either own an EV, are considering buying one, or shopped for one but decided not to buy. Here are a few of the key findings:
• For early adopters buying battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the top reason was lowering emissions and they were willing pay a premium to do it.
• Future buyers are more pragmatic than idealistic. Of these respondents, 11% would consider buying one for environmental benefits, while 45% are interested in saving money on fuel. For those who’ve gone shopping but decided not to buy an EV, their primary reason was the price.
• The technology needs to be improved to reduce the overall cost of the vehicle, said Neal Oddes, senior director of the green practice at J.D. Power. It’s a huge task for automakers but once they do it, EVs will go mass market, he said. As for now, they only account for 1% of the market in US new vehicle sales.
• Current owners said recharging their vehicles’ batteries increased their monthly electric bills by $18, much less than the estimated $147 they would have paid for gasoline during that same period.
• Vehicle size is another factor blocking EV sales. Most consumers considering it are looking for midsize sedans, and most of the EV on the market now are smaller.