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Unplugged: Electric Vehicle Realities Versus Consumer Expectations

Survey finds that consumers across the globe expect electric vehicles to go farther, on less charge time, for a lower price.


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Electric vehicles (EVs) have been around since the earliest days of the automotive industry. In recent years, however, as the price of oil has risen steadily and concerns about the environment have increased, interest in EVs has intensified.

This interest is coming from a number of sources, including government and industry. Policymakers, automotive executives, and electric utility industry executives are each, in their own way, trying to understand when and where consumers are most likely to adopt EVs and exactly how many may be on the road next year, five years from now, or 10 years or longer from now.

As they work together, and apart, in this complicated dance toward the next generation of personal mobility, with profound implications for all parties, it still comes down to the consumer. It is the consumer, looking for a less-expensive, greener transportation alternative with all the performance qualities of a traditional car, whose interest is the most intriguing and perhaps the most complicated. It is the consumer, after all, who will tell manufacturers how close they are to creating a vehicle that has a chance to achieve mass popularity in the marketplace.

Electric vehicle realities versus consumer expectations

With that in mind, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (DTTL) Global Manufacturing Industry group undertook an extensive global study designed to gauge consumer attitudes toward pure EVs.

While the broad category of EVs available today include a variety of hybrid vehicles using some form of both electric motor propulsion and internal combustion engines, this study focused exclusively on the pure electric vehicle. In this way, the study serves to anchor the far end of today’s automotive product offerings and create clarity for all those either participating in the study or interested in the findings.

The survey, revealed that the majority of consumers are either willing to consider the purchase of an electric vehicle or see themselves as potential first movers when it comes to electric vehicle adoption. However, deeper questioning revealed a significant gap between consumer expectations of electric vehicle capabilities and what an electric vehicle can deliver today.

Consumers generally felt that EVs should be able to go farther, on less charge time, for a cheaper price than automakers are currently able to offer.

This gap—and where it manifests itself most dramatically and where it might be most easily closed—will be of special interest to automakers operating in the electric vehicle space.

This report looks closely at the results of the survey, with special attention to geographical differences and similarities in consumers’ responses. It also provides critical context by contrasting consumer perceptions and expectations with the current realities of electric vehicle technology.

Download the attached PDF to learn more about electric vehicle realities vs consumer expectations in the areas of:

  • Consumer interest
  • Consumer profiles and preferences
  • Range
  • Charge time
  • Price premium
  • Purchase price
  • Fuel price
  • Fuel efficiency

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About the global electric vehicle research

DTTL’s Global Manufacturing Industry group conducted a global survey to explore consumer adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). The online survey captures the views of more than 13,000 consumers across the Americas, Asia and Europe in 17 countries. To qualify for the survey, potential respondents had to be 18 years of age or older and to have a driver’s license. The survey asked  respondents, among other things, how likely they would be to consider buying or leasing an electric vehicle when they buy or lease their next vehicle (assuming that electric vehicles were readily available) and how likely they were to actually buy or lease an electric vehicle. The research analyzed the characteristics and opinions of three groups based on their purchase interest: Potential first movers are consumers who are most likely to buy or lease an EV; Might be willing to consider are consumers who are interested, but less likely to consider an EV; and Not likely to consider consumer who would not be interested in buying or leasing an EV. The margin of error for survey results about the total sample was 1.0 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error was higher for survey results about sub-groups within the sample.

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