Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


What electric car convenience is worth

When fueling up means plugging in
Limited range, long charging time concerns for potential electric vehicle customers

Want a Nissan Leaf? Join the 20,000 people on the waiting list to get one. The Chevy Volt got your eye? General Motors ramped up availability earlier this year to try and meet demand. With the latest generation of electric vehicles gaining traction, new findings from University of Delaware researchers are informing automakers’ and policymakers’ decisions about the environmentally friendly cars.

Results of one study show the electric car attributes that are most important for consumers: driving range, fuel cost savings and charging time. The results are based on a national survey conducted by the researchers, UD professors George Parsons, Willett Kempton and Meryl Gardner, and Michael Hidrue, who recently graduated from UD with a doctoral degree in economics. Lead author Hidrue conducted the research for his dissertation.

The study, which surveyed more than 3,000 people, showed what individuals would be willing to pay for various electric vehicle attributes. For example, as battery charging time decreases from 10 hours to five hours for a 50-mile charge, consumers’ willingness to pay is about $427 per hour in reduction time. Drop charging time from five hours to one hour, and consumers would pay an estimated $930 an hour. Decrease the time from one hour to 10 minutes, and they would pay $3,250 per hour.

For driving range, consumers value each additional mile of range at about $75 per mile up to 200 miles, and $35 a mile from 200-300 miles. So, for example, if an electric vehicle has a range of 200 miles and an otherwise equivalent gasoline vehicle has a range of 300, people would require a price discount of about $3,500 for the electric version. That assumes everything else about the vehicle is the same, and clearly there is lower fuel cost with an electric vehicle and often better performance. So all the attributes have to be accounted for in the final analysis of any car.

“This information tells the car manufacturers what people are willing to pay for another unit of distance,” Parsons said. “It gives them guidance as to what cost levels they need to attain to make the cars competitive in the market.”

The researchers found that battery costs would need to decrease substantially without subsidy and with current gas prices for electric cars to become competitive in the market. However, the researchers said, the current $7,500 government tax credit could bridge the gap between electric car costs and consumers’ willingness to pay if battery costs decline to $300 a kilowatt hour, the projected 2014 cost level by the Department of Energy. Many analysts believe that goal is within reach.

The team’s analysis could also help guide automakers’ marketing efforts — it showed that an individual’s likelihood of buying an electric vehicle increases with characteristics such as youth, education and an environmental lifestyle. Income was not important.

In a second recently published study, UD researchers looked at electric vehicle driving range using second-by-second driving records. That study, which is based on a year of driving data from nearly 500 instrumented gasoline vehicles, showed that 9 percent of the vehicles never exceeded 100 miles in a day. For those who are willing to make adaptations six times a year — borrow a gasoline car, for example — the 100-mile range would work for 32 percent of drivers.

“It appears that even modest electric vehicles with today’s limited battery range, if marketed correctly to segments with appropriate driving behavior, comprise a large enough market for substantial vehicle sales,” the authors concluded.

Kempton, who published the driving patterns article with UD marine policy graduate student Nathaniel Pearre and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology, pointed out that U.S. car sales are around 12 million in an average, non-recession year. Nine percent of that would be a million cars per year — for comparison to current production, for example, Chevy plans to manufacture just 10,000 Volts in 2011.

By this measure, the potential market would justify many more plug-in cars than are currently being produced, Kempton said.

The findings of the two studies were reported online in March and February in Resource and Energy Economics and Transportation Research, respectively.

Article by Elizabeth Boyle

Andrea Boyle | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>