One in five U.S. drivers will consider an electric car as their next new car, but many others are currently held back by concerns over perceptions of EV performance, recharging and convenience, according to a new survey by IBM.
The insights, from IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV), are derived from a new survey of 1,716 U.S. drivers and interviews with 123 auto industry executives. The study indicates that, even in these early days, there is a potentially large market for EVs.
Nineteen percent of drivers said they were “likely” or “very likely” to consider an electric car for their next car. This is notable, given that 42 percent of drivers know only “a little” about electric cars or have “only heard of them,” suggesting that automakers could increase the pool of potential buyers with sustained educational campaigns.
Thirty percent of drivers surveyed said that they would consider switching to an EV that got 100 miles or less per charge. Current electric cars get about 50 to 100 miles per charge.
And 40 percent of drivers said they would pay up to 20 percent more for an electric-only vehicle compared with a similarly-featured gas-, diesel, or hybrid-powered vehicle, with 27 percent saying they would pay 10 percent more and 13 percent saying they would pay 20 percent more.
Home charging was also a sticking point for drivers. Just 13 percent said they would spend more than $1000 to retrofit their house or garage to support recharging. Industry estimates suggest the average cost of retrofitting a 240-volt recharge outlet is between $1000 and $2000.
Also analyzed was the best place for public charging stations. In total, 62 percent said they most often parked in a mall or store car park when not at home or at work, substantially higher than the second location – ‘on the street’ – which came in at just 17 percent.
To drive the price of electric cars into this more affordable zone, the IBV research indicates that automakers should initially focus on sales to both consumers and commercial fleets, building scale and creating economic efficiencies in production. Automakers may also need to develop new business models for electric vehicles to overcome the higher initial price.