Electric vehicle study gets insider view on consumer awareness in the US

5 Jan 2011

The EV charging infrastructure market in the US is projected grow from US$746.3m in 2011 to US$3.95bn in 2016, with 37.2pc of respondents of the ‘EV Consumer Survey’ saying they are very or somewhat likely to purchase an EV in the next two years.

Zpryme Smart Grid Insights carried out the survey, which took in the views of 1,046 US drivers aged 18–65 to assess their overall interest in EVs. The study also looked at the EV ecosystem, EV market value and segmentation and EV opportunities.

It found the EV brand that would lead to a purchase consideration was most often Ford (17.8pc), followed by Toyota (16.7pc), Chevrolet (16.0pc), Honda (12.6pc) and Nissan (7.1pc).

Interestingly, the Chevrolet Volt (53.1pc) was the most popular EV model, followed by the Ford Focus EV (49.1pc), Nissan LEAF (30.8pc), and the Tesla Roadster (16.8pc).

Tesla Roadster 2.5

The Tesla Roadster 2.5 would be the electric vehicle of choice for 16.8pc of US respondents to the Zpryme survey. Image courtesy of Tesla

Zpryme also carried out industry Q&As with 11 major EV and EV infrastructure stakeholders, as well as looking at the market size and value projections for EV/PHEVs.

EV infrastructure

In terms of the provision of advanced EV infrastructure and components, the leaders are blue chips, such as GE, Leviton, ABB and Siemens.

Zpryme said charging stations will be pure players ECOtality, Coulomb Technologies, Better Place and ClipperCreek.

Utilities such as Southern California Edison, Florida Power & Light, and Xcel Energy are developing EV grid integration road maps and infrastructure that can safely absorb the impact of thousands of EVs on the grid.

Among the EV consumer survey findings:

  • Being able to use all of their smartphone apps in the EV would have a positive influence on an EV purchase for 52.9pc of respondents.
  • Respondents were asked to pick the top two reasons that would convince them to buy an electric vehicle. Their No 1 factor was vehicle price (64.5pc).
  • Potential EV drivers in the next two years were more inclined to be involved in online activities, use technology to enhance their driving experience and use a smartphone. Among this group, 20.5pc owned an iPhone.
  • Usage of an EV as a primary vehicle would more often be the choice of 77.7pc of the people, while 22.3pc said an EV would become a secondary vehicle.
  • Four-fifths (83.7pc) said they would rather buy than lease (16.3pc) an EV.
  • Less than half (40.6pc) reported they would be willing to pay a premium to rent an EV.

Willingness to purchase an EV

A substantial amount of survey respondents said they were either very likely (8.5pc) or somewhat likely (28.7pc) to purchase an EV in the next two years. However, among those respondents who were not likely to purchase an EV in the next two years, 1.1pc indicated they were very likely to purchase an EV in the next five years, while 25.8pc said they were somewhat likely to purchase an EV in the next five years.

Reason to purchase an EV

Economic factors dominated the key reasons to purchase an EV, as 66.8pc indicated vehicle price would be the top reason to purchase an EV, followed by saving money on fuel costs (50.4pc).

Price to pay for an EV

Nearly one-third (31.1pc) of all respondents said they would pay more than the conventional vehicle price for an EV. Among all respondents, 12.6pc indicated they would pay US$5,000 over the conventional vehicle price while only 5.2pc said they would pay US$10,000 over the conventional vehicle price for an EV.

Nissan LEAF charging station

Nissan LEAF electric vehicle and recharging station at the 2010 Washington Auto Show

Charging expectations

Respondents who were either very or somewhat likely to purchase an EV in two to five years indicated that 400 miles (33.7pc) or 300 miles (33.3pc) would be an acceptable driving range for an EV before it would need to be recharged. Among this group, 32.1pc indicated that four hours would be an acceptable time to recharge an EV, 18.1pc said six hours and 20pc said eight hours. Interestingly, 87.4pc indicated they would be willing to pay a premium to charge their EVs in a faster manner.

EV geography

More than two-fifths (40.1pc) of likely EV consumers reside in Western US, while the South (37.3pc), Northeast (37pc), and Midwest (35.3pc) fall closely behind.

EV charging infrastructure

Home charging stations, public (level II) charging stations, and fast charging station annual unit sales are projected to grow by 37.7pc, 43.1pc, and 44.2pc, respectively, from 2011 to 2016.

By 2016, the number of installed home charging and public charging stations (level II and level III) are projected to reach 442,900 and 344,900 respectively.

The EV charging infrastructure market is projected grow from US$746.3m in 2011 to US$3.95bn in 2016. The cumulative total number of charging service users is projected to grow from 39,800 in 2011 to 574,900 million in 2016. During this time period, the EV charging services market is projected grow from US$30.4m to US$505.2m.

The study was developed by Zpryme’s Smart Grid and Electric Vehicle Insight practices and sponsored by Airbiquity.

To download ‘The Electric Vehicle Study’ for free, click here.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic