Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Costs of plug-in cars key to broad consumer acceptance

22.10.2009
A University of Michigan survey released today shows widespread consumer interest in buying plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). But the cost of the cars is much more influential than environmental and other non-economic factors as a predictor of purchase probabilities.

The survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,513 adults age 18 and over was conducted between July and November 2008 as part of the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. The findings were released at The Business of Plugging In: A Plug-In Electric Vehicle Conference in Detroit.

"The data provide strong evidence that a combination of economic and social incentives may be most effective in successfully introducing these vehicles," said economist Richard Curtin, director of the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research.

The study was supported by funds from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the U-M Transportation Research Institute. In addition to assessing the current state of knowledge and opinions about PHEVs, the survey addressed the willingness to pay for these vehicles given different cost and fuel savings scenarios.

Overall, when given no cost or fuel-saving estimates, 42 percent of those surveyed said there was at least some chance that they would buy a PHEV sometime in the future.

The researchers then asked respondents to rate the likelihood of purchasing a PHEV under three different cost-scenarios, each time assuming they would save 75 percent in fuel costs compared to a traditional, gasoline-powered vehicle. With each successive doubling of the price of PHEVs, the probability of purchase fell by 16 percentage points.

On average, 46 percent of those surveyed said there was some chance they would purchase a PHEV that cost $2,500 more than a traditional vehicle; 30 percent said there was a chance they would buy if the PHEV cost $5,000 more; but just 14 percent said there was a chance if it cost an additional $10,000.

The relationship between cost and purchase probabilities was clearly indicated by the proportions who said there was zero chance of buying or 100 percent chance of buying at the three different cost premiums presented in the survey.

"Indeed, 56 percent of all consumers responded that there was no chance that they would buy a PHEV at the top premium," Curtin said. "The proportion indicating a zero probability of purchase moves from nearly one-in-four at $2,500, to one in three at $5,000, to more than one in two at an added cost of $10,000. At the other extreme, those who said they were 100 percent certain that they would buy a PHEV reached a high of just 10 percent for the lowest added cost and fell to just 1 percent for the highest added cost."

It should be no surprise that vehicle purchases, typically the second largest purchase households make, would be very sensitive to price, Curtin says. But although consumer acceptance of PHEVs was not determined solely by cost issues, the role of environmental considerations played a smaller role in consumer attitudes about PHEVs than had been anticipated.

Half of all consumers reported that showing a commitment to the environment through the purchase of a PHEV was "very important" to them. This kind of overt demonstration of a commitment to buying environmentally friendly products—known as "badging"—has long been recognized as a powerful influence on purchases of many different "green" products, Curtin says.

But when asked what they thought was the main advantage of a PHEV—reducing money spent on fuel, reducing vehicle emissions or reducing dependence on foreign oil—54 percent reported that reducing dependence on foreign oil was the main advantage.

"Reducing vehicle emissions was by far the least frequently cited advantage," Curtin said. "Just 15 percent of all consumers cited that as the main advantage."

Surprisingly, only 31 percent thought reducing money spent on fuel was the main advantage, even though the price of gas was high during the time the survey was conducted. When the survey started in July 2008, gas prices were near their all-time peak level ($4.28 per gallon) and then fell sharply during the period of data collection. But the researchers found no relationship between PHEV purchase probabilities and the price of gas.

"The data provide strong evidence that a combination of economic and social incentives may be most effective for the successful introduction of PHEVs," Curtin said. "The survey also showed the significant influence of hybrid vehicles in signaling people's commitment to a clean environment.

"Nonetheless, consumer attitudes toward the environment are less compelling than economic criteria in explaining hybrid purchase probabilities. Presumably, if PHEVs are priced so that consumers can recoup their initial investments over a reasonable time period, consumers would find ample economic justification for their purchase. The critical role of environmental and other non-economic attitudes may be to provide the initial burst of interest and sales to propel the appeal of PHEVs to the mass market."

The analysis also examined how vehicle usage patterns and currently owned vehicle choices, as well as demographic characteristics such as age, income, education and gender, are connected to preferences for PHEVs. Additional correlates of purchase probabilities, including location and availability of outlets for recharging, and preferences for new technologies, are also analyzed in the survey report.

Diane Swanbrow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht Did you know how many parts of your car require infrared heat?
23.10.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht Two intelligent vehicles are better than one
04.10.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>