Nineteen percent of drivers surveyed by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) said that they were either “very likely” or “likely” to consider purchasing an electric-only vehicle when shopping for a new car. This is notable, given that 42 percent of drivers know only “a little” about EVs or have “only heard of them.”
Thirty percent of drivers surveyed said that they would consider switching to an EV that got 100 miles or less per charge. Current EVs 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.
The results of this research bodes well for the emerging EV industry in the Bay Area. Most notable is Tesla Motors based in Palo Alto. Tesla is currently retrofitting a portion of the shuttered NUMMI plant in Fremont to manufacture it’s upcoming Model S sedan. Other local companies involved in the burgeoning EV business include Santa Rosa’s ZAP (manufacturer of small electric vehicles), CODA Automotive who has announced its intentions to assemble electric vehicles in Benicia, and Palo Alto’s Better Place, an EV battery infrastructure solution provider.
Nevertheless, the price of a home charging installation often required to support an EV could pose an obstacle to EV adoption, according to the study. Only 13 percent of drivers said they would consider spending more than $1,000 to retrofit their residence to support recharging of an electric vehicle. According to industry estimates, retrofitting to a 240 volt outlet accessible to vehicles averages between $1,000 and $2,000.
In addition, two-thirds of consumers expect a price discount on their electricity for charging at home overnight. This expectation could place increasing focus on utilities for time-based pricing to encourage home charging, or more public charging will be required if an electricity discount is not available.
Home charging is considered important to the success of EVs. Of the drivers surveyed, 83 percent said they park their primary vehicle in the driveway or garage of their private residence, as opposed to in a parking lot, on the street, in a shared garage or some other location.
Perhaps a reflection of America’s consumer culture, 62 percent of drivers surveyed said they most often parked in a mall or store parking lot when not at home or work. That’s substantially higher than any other location – “on the street” was number two at 17 percent.