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Gaining traction

Will consumers ride the electric vehicle wave?

Green car and treeDespite rising fuel prices, the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is still some distance away, is the finding of a new study by Deloitte.

According to the survey of 4,760 European consumers, only 16% see themselves as potential first movers to buy or lease an electric vehicle, while 53% say they might be willing to consider it, and 31 percent say they are not likely to consider purchasing or leasing an EV.

David Raistrick, UK’s head of manufacturing at Deloitte, commented: “There is no doubt that electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry. However, while interest in electric vehicles is growing, with 69% of respondents willing to consider an EV today, current market offerings generally fall far short of consumers’ expectations for driving range, charging time, and purchase price.

More than 80% of European consumers surveyed said that convenience to charge, range, and the cost to charge were all key considerations when buying or leasing an EV.

The majority (57%) of respondents who say they may be willing to consider an Electric vehicle expect to pay the same or less for an EV than they do for a regular car. Only 24% of the same group say they would be willing to pay a premium. Currently, hybrids and battery electric vehicles represent a tiny fraction of total cars on the road. The adoption of all forms of green vehicles will be significantly influenced by government policies.

David Raistrick added: “For mass adoption, manufacturers will need to meet the challenge of pricing electric vehicles in line with consumer expectations, while still maximising their margins. Consumers are not likely to want to pay a high price premium for EVs. This means that incentives such as tax reductions and exemptions will be very important to the purchase decision. Just like the Government supported the highly successful car scrappage scheme, they should now be turning their attention to electric vehicles.
“However, a bright note for the UK is that it appears from our research that UK consumers are more willing to pay a premium for electric vehicles than their counterparts in other European countries.”

Download Read our report: Gaining traction. European analysis 2011 (PDF, 1.9 MB)

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