INTERNATIONAL. Consumers across the globe expect electric vehicles (EVs) to be able to go farther, on less charge time, for a lower price than automakers are currently able to offer, according to a new report from the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) Global Manufacturing Industry group.
“Among the more than 13,000 consumers surveyed across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, there are more similarities in expectations on EVs in the areas of range, charge time, and purchase cost than one might think,” explains Craig Giffi, DTTL Global Automotive sector leader.
“This can be valuable for automakers as they shape their plans to build EVs to appeal to consumers worldwide. The real challenge, however, is meeting global consumer expectations, which is significantly different to the realities of what EVs can deliver today.”
For more than 85% of the consumers surveyed, range, convenience to charge, and cost to charge were all extremely important or very important considerations for buying or leasing an EV. The study highlights a view of EV technologies today and, for example, analyzes the range capabilities of a selection of announced product introductions around the world through to 2013. For most manufacturers, the driving range of pure EVs falls short of consumer expectations.
In most of the 17 countries included in the global study, a significant portion of consumers said that they would either be a potential first mover in the adoption of an electric vehicle or at least might be willing to consider purchasing or leasing an EV.
“Consumers in Germany, as well as in markets like Belgium, France, and Japan, were among the people less likely to consider themselves as potential first movers,” says Siegfried Frick, an automotive partner with Deloitte Germany.
“The fast-growing and populous markets of China and India led the world with consumers there more likely to consider themselves as potential first movers to adopt EVs.”
Criteria like vehicle range are clearly an issue. “Consumers expect EVs to be able to go a considerable way, an average of 320 kilometers, but current technology permits most EVs to cover an average of only 160 kilometers between charges,” says Frick.
“This disconnect is representative of the divide between consumers’ expectations of EVs and the actual technologies that are available in the market today.”
The survey also found that consumers want faster battery charge times. “Most of the consumers surveyed expect an EV to recharge its battery in two hours or less,” explains Giffi. “Japanese consumers, in particular, had even greater expectations: 37% cited 30 minutes as the longest acceptable charge time. In all countries, only a small majority viewed up to eight hours—the actual and longest time it can take to recharge the typical electric vehicle battery in vehicles today using a level 2 charger— as acceptable.”
As consumers become more experienced with EVs, new considerations for adoption, beyond factors such as range, convenience to charge, and cost to charge will likely emerge. Operating costs to maintain and repair the vehicle and total cost of ownership, including considerations on residual value of the vehicle, will likely come into view.
“A number of factors will have an important influence on global consumers’ adoption of EVs,” concludes Giffi. “Government policies, fuel price trends, electric utility infrastructure, and alternatives will all play a role, but it is government policy that will likely shape and potentially accelerate or decelerate the adoption rate of EVs over the next decade and beyond.”
For a copy of the report Unplugged: Electric vehicle realities versus consumer expectations, please visit www.deloitte.com/electricvehicle.
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 conducted between November 2010 and May 2011 captures the views of more than 13,000 consumers across the Americas, Asia and Europe in 17 countries – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.
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 are consumers who would not be interested in buying or leasing an EV.
The margin of error for survey results about the total sample was one 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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