• Mar 24, 2010

Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

What do future buyers of hybrid and electric vehicles expect? Surprisingly, according to a recent survey, a reduction in fuel usage or elimination of fuel is not a primary concern. What buyers want is simple: all of the benefits of a traditional gasoline vehicle with better reliability, performance and affordability. Okay, maybe that's not simple. Theses expectations are lofty and perhaps even unreachable.

A recent survey conducted by Accenture, a consulting group, shows that 65 percent of respondents are likely to consider a hybrid or EV if it sacrifices none of the benefits of gasoline vehicles. As if this target is not difficult enough to reach, respondents also expect improvements in the three categories listed above. Let's look at this a little more closely. Respondents want better performance, a car that lasts forever and offers all of the virtues of a gasoline vehicle at a lower price? Don't we all.

The high expectations don't end there. Fifty-one percent of responders want a vehicle capable of recharging in 20 minutes, more than 50 percent will not pay more for a hybrid or EV than a traditional vehicle, and more than half want recharging stations every 11 to 50 miles apart, assuming the vehicle's range is 200 miles, another expectation. While automakers race to meet these expectations with their collective hands full building an impossible vehicle, is there anything else to add to the list?



[Source: Accenture]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 65 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well doesn't the Leaf almost meet these criteria already? Overall cost of ownership no more than existing ICE competition, it only gets 100 mile range but many people will live with that, and in major cities they are establishing a 40 minute fast charge network. Not too far off what's stated above.

      It isn't important what 100% of the car market wants or expects in EV's, for the first few years. It only matters what the target 10% of the market wants, and EV's in the form of the Leaf will satisfy that very large market. To put that in perspective ... lt's 10% of the market, satisfied by only two EV's: the Leaf and Volt. What other vehicle model gets 5% of all car sales?

      Then after 5 years EV's will satisfy the wants of 50% of the market, then 90%.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Spot on, Mark.
        ICE cars won't be replaced overnight, and won't be best for everyone everywhere initially.
        Here in Europe fair numbers should be sold from 2012 on.
        In the US it all depends on oil prices, and I see around 2015 as the date when substantial numbers might be sold due to rising oil prices.
        Range extended vehicles make more sense to me in the climate and with the distances in the US.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What's the deal with all these surveys about EV cars *before* they are even available? How are people expected to form an opinion about cars they haven't driven or can't even know somebody who did?

      It's like asking people if they like the Apple iPad...

      Let's wait 9 months and then do the surveys.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's all well and easy to say the customer has unreasonable expectations. But you cannot actually force them to buy your product. If they have expectations and they don't feel they are met, they won't buy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Taking a survey before EVs hit the market...

        is like when Homer Simpson was asked to design a car because he "represents the average person".

        And what did he want in a car...

        "The Homer"

        http://jalopnik.com/assets/resources/2008/06/TheHomer.jpg
        • 4 Years Ago
        It seems to me like asking people what they expect from an EV is a perfectly reasonable question. Asking it now allows the makers to tailor their marketing so that potential buyers don't end up upset because they had unrealistic expectations (which is what they seems to have).

        The makers have to be very upfront and honest about what their EVs will be capable of, or else they will garner a negative reaction when reality doesn't meet with expectations. Future generations of EV will no doubt surpass consumers wants and needs, but this first batch must be marketed very conservatively.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd like to see the poll questions they asked. What kind of bias do these questions have? What group of people did they target, was it via website, email, telephone, door-to-door, snail mail, or a table at the mall?

        Anyone who's ever taken a statistics class in college will verify that you can make poll results support any position you want, even a wrong-headed or insane one, by manipulating the questions and their order, and by carefully selecting the group you poll. There should be a law that whenever a poll is taken the pollsters should be required to disclose everything I said above.

        Example, if I set up a table in the parking lot of an oil refinery or coal mine I'd get a different result versus the same poll taken at a suburban mall in Malibu, CA (or any wealthy community).

        That being said, 5% of people buying an all-electric vehicle within 2 years is pretty good, especially when taking into consideration the unknowns and limitations of the upcoming crop of electric vehicles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So what's so unrealistic about expecting the next generation technology to be superior to the existing technology. Isn't that the point?
      Level4
      • 4 Years Ago
      Captain obvious says: Duh!
      IamXD
      • 4 Years Ago
      And why is any of this unrealistic? Consumers want the replacement product to perform better than the product before it. Isn't that called progress?

      If the DVD player was released to the market with worse picture and sound than the VHS tape at a higher price it would never have sold.

      Simply saying that a product is green and therefore better is not legitimate. We are all working and earning members of society who want our money to be well spent. Only those with true disposable income can argue that a product is better because it's green.

      Completely not surprised by the results of the survey. I love the idea of electric and hybrid cars but they have to be better than whatI drive now...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @IamXD
        "Consumers want the replacement product to perform better than the product before it"
        Your definition of "better" isn't everyone else's. An EV is already better: it travels for some miles without using gasoline and you can refuel it at home.

        As others have pointed out, the survey percentages are weird. Only 65% of USA/Canada are "More likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle that is BETTER than a fuel-only car in EVERY WAY"? So 35% of Americans won't buy a car if some of its forward motion comes from an electric motor, no matter that it's better in every way? That's a huge number of reactionary idiots who have been hoodwinked by "batteries are toxic", "hybrids are unAmerican", "they're worse for the environment", "you''ll get cancer from the voltages" and who knows what other bullshit.

        On the other hand, 31% of USA/Canada are "More likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle in the next two years." There won't be enough hybrid and electric vehicles on sale in 2012 to meet that insanely high level of demand.

        Accenture must have asked some deeply stupid and incoherent questions, or they are summarizing badly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I expected to have flying cars by now!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Those are actually reasonable expectations, assuming the EV is a fully developed and deployed technology. The problem is the EV is a new emerging technology, and just like the first flat-screen TVs cost thousands of dollars and had a dimmer lower-contrast picture than cathode ray tubes could produce, in the same way the early adopters of EV technology will be paying a premium price for them and will have to make sacrifices in low range and limited recharging locations. But as the EV becomes more popular the infrastructure and technology will improve and the prices will plummet, just like what happened with flat-screen TVs which you can now buy for a just a few hundred dollars and which now have enhanced frame rates and dynamic contrast.
      johnsmith
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.It’s really a great post..I would like to appreciate your work and I am going to recommend it to my friends.if u want to learn about the weight loss.According to diet reviews, choosing top rated diet pill such as superslim African mango is the best way to start a healthy weight loss programs. Clinical studies show that superslim diet extract is effective and safe to promote a slimmer, leaner, fit body. The African mango can now constitute of healthy weight loss programs for obese and overweight people. Also can eradicate fats and toxins from the body and prevents diseases risk connected to obesity. http://www.facebook.com/africanmangoesextract http://googlehealthproduct.blogspot.com/2011/06/does-african-mango-extract-work-honest.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      Was this not all covered by Gary Witz? Was it not covered in "Who killed the electric car?". Customers expected more from an electric car because of how much it cost, but in reality it was going to deliver less. So GM was unable to shift many cars.

      This hasn't righted itself yet. And it doesn't look like it will soon. And if the car makers don't get expectations of their customers in line with reality before they sell them the car (something GM concentrated on with the EV1 and critics called "trying to talk people out of leasing an EV"), then each sale to a non EV-nut will turn into a person who tells their friends how disappointed they are and hurts future sales.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @montrealmustang
        To be fair, the Bugatti Veyron wasn't built with light weight in mind. It was mainly built for top speed and around the massive Quad turbo W16.

        The VW 1L concept (290kg) and Up concept (695kg) are probably closer to what Dan is talking about. Of course these require light weight materials that are still expensive to use.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Chris M
        That's what I find too. Weight seems to be less of a factor for EVs due to the regen (plus the low rolling resistance tires reduce the weight contribution further). Aerodynamics are more important for EVs than weight (since EVs do worse in highway driving).
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Aptera is a joke. I've seen the 3 prototypes in real life and the fiberglass is all cracked down near the rear wheel from the grade changes driving in and out of driveways.

        A real car cannot be as light as these joke vehicles you talk about. If you want a vehicle that light, buy a motorcycle and put a fairing on it. But the average consumer just won't put up with it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan, what fantasy world do you live in that fiberglass cars would be able to pass federal crash tests?

        Yeah, the automotive industry could do a lot of cool things without having to worry about crash tests or emissions, but then we'd all be dead from fender benders in a cloud of smog.
        • 4 Years Ago
        DAN: I say onto you nitwits that a 4 seater car need not weigh more than 500kg.
        WAKE UP!!!!

        I don't know what you've been smoking, but no 500kg car would pass even the most basic automobile crash test currently in America. I don't care how many exotic alloys you use. The Bugatti Veyron is built with nothing but lightweight materials and STILL weighs over 2000 kilograms and that's a two million dollar car. If they couldn't make that thing light, nothing can be made light.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Frederiksen: Halving the weight of a vehicle will increase fuel economy somewhat, but not by double.

        There are two ways extra mass reduces fuel economy:
        1) It increases rolling resistance, but the effect is small and can be countered somewhat by increasing tire pressure.
        2) It takes more energy to accelerate the extra mass. That energy takes the form of momentum, and in conventional cars is lost as heat when the car brakes, but hybrids and EVs can use regenerative braking to recover most of that energy, up to 70% recovery. For that reason, mass is less of a efficiency factor for hybrids and EVs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        that's the lie they used to justify their position.

        actually these expectations are not unrealistic, at least technically. if only the automakers would make the obvious design, namely ultra light, ultra aerodynamic lean plugin hybrid. when you make it lighter it costs much less to drive it.

        something like a fiber glass kia ray. or the solectria sunrise car from the 90s which was built to demonstrate the virtue of optimal design. principle called the hypercar.

        this is nothing new and could easily be done and would be hugely succesful. but alas the car engineers are thoughtless and the leadership is evil/thoughtless.

        and unfortunately even you the green readers are too thoughtless to understand the obvious. it doesn't take 1300-2000kg to hold up 4 people in seats in a cabin. that's just primitive heavy steel engineering as it's always been.
        if you halve the weight you halve the rolling resistance. you double the energy economy and halve the battery amount you need to do a given range. would you like to only have to pay for half the batteries? humm?

        it's easy to push a bicycle and very hard to push a hummer. please, for the sake of the world, wake the fuck up already people.

        aerodynamic glass fiber cars. say it out loud a couple of times until it sinks into your dull minds.

        the aptera is an aerodynamic fiber glass car. the solectria sunrise was an aerodynamic fiber glass car. in 1996 it drove 600km on a single charge of NIMH batteries. with the best lithium of today it could go over 2000km on a single charge. and the solectria sunrise was far from optimal even though it was a good effort. it was based on geo metro parts.
        http://www.megawattmotorworks.com/articles/images/solectria_sunrise.jpg

        aerodynamic fiber glass car. get a tattoo if you can't remember.
        it's that easy. weight optimized electric motor and electronics. minimum battery of maybe 40km worth. 1-2 cylinder range extender generator.

        just look at a glider aircraft. it's made from fiber glass. and it's extremely aerodynamic. why? because of the fucking efficiency!

        so could we please save the 20 years of waste that it would otherwise take for you apes to get this on your own and learn it right now!

        aerodynamic fiber glass cars

        verily I say onto you nitwits that a 4 seater car need not weigh more than 500kg.
        WAKE UP!!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why don't you sell us your car Dan? C'mon, we know it's perfect!
      • 4 Years Ago
      You can't possibly ask people to pay more to get less, and then expect them to like it. This isn't some greedy western ideal, it's just common sense. As green as some of the people who post here are, I don't think any of you would like it if I went over to your house/appartment and moved all your stuff to a place half the size, then charged you twice in rent. You *might* just feel like you were getting cheated.

      As much as I agree that the car industry is full of crooks, they ARE genuinely trying to avoid a repeat of the Diesel Debacle in the 80s. Most of you don't remember, but after the fuel crisis of 1979 car companies offered many diesels to customers. Most of these cars were slow, expensive and broke down a lot. What do you think happened? Sales crashed and diesel got such a rotten reputation in the US that no one ever dared try to sell them again. No one except the Germans because it was easier for them to pass CAFE and CARB regulations, and because they already had the hardware in Europe.

      You know what the current worst enemy of electric cars is? Electric Cars. Most companies are taking very cautious baby steps towards selling them to the public. They are terrified of screwing up and having everyone think they're garbage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        royharvie:
        I guess you're talking to me:
        My username just came by accident. The username field on AB didn't used to mean anything, you just filled it every time with whatever you wanted and it was printed above your text in a larger font. So I used it as a headline for my posts. Well, one day the system changed and it captured my headline that day and attached it to my account as a username.

        That day there was a small-run sports car who bought an engine from another manufacturer to put in their car. They bought some complex, expensive and probably heavy German engine, BMW or Mercedes. I asked "Why not the LS2/LS7?" which are GM small block V8s that get good gas mileage, are light and small and cheap (very cheap in the case of the LS2). That became my user name. At some point AB reprocessed their user name list and removed the slashes from everyone's user names, so my name then became "Why not the LS2LS7?"
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ montrealmustang
        "You can't possibly ask people to pay more to get less, and then expect them to like it."

        Then why do people buy convertibles, 2-seater sportcars, etc.

        It is all about trading something.... usually it you trade your money to gain a particular feature.

        But sometimes you can trade a feature for a feature.

        Some people are not using a particular feature... say a range over 100 miles. In fact, 95% of the people don't use that feature on a regular basis.

        But people tend to shop for PEAK performance rather than normal operation.

        There are MILLIONS of folks who would gladly trade in the long range of an ICE car plus a few thousands of their dollars to get the many features of an electric car.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Neptronix, I am glad there will be some revenue Nissan will make servicing EV's, I think there will be much less revenue than servicing ICE. It remains to be seen how Nissan will market the Leaf and upcoming EV's without it reflecting bad on their ICE cars.

        You site suspension components, those will come after the accumulation of 100,000 mile same as a ICE. Their will be much less wear and tear on the brake system also as a result of regen. braking.

        You site, drive train bits such as differential, transmission, these components are all in one on my car, one small gear box, no differential, the gearbox takes a little over 1 qt of oil. The cooling is not under near the stress of a ICE car. You can't heat the cabin with it.

        What did those NIMHI cars cost back then to produce? They cost the same as a ICE if produced in those limited numbers. The EV1 came close to the break even point with the limited numbers they hand built, according to Chelsea Sexton. I think the Rave 4 EV were less than 40K to the consumers that had a opportunity to purchase after the lease.

        Yes, you still have all the things on a auto to replace that are on current ICE car minus the ICE drive train. Yes, the electronics will poop out.

        Neptronix said, "I believe that CARB mandated that everyone make an electric car back in the 90's too." Yes, CARB mandated EV's. The mandates are back, CARB and CAFE gave the auto makers a little more lee way this time. They will build EV's now to help there fleet stay in line with CAFE standards, off setting the ICE fleet that does not meet CAFE.

        Neptronix said, "I really don't think they wanted to sell the NiMH cars back then as it definitely wasn't profitable. I remember GM saying each car cost them $100,000 ..."
        Well you could say the Volt will cost 150k to build, you could say a gas powered Yaris cost a 100k to build if you did the R&D on them and then sold just 1,000 total. A majority of the auto makers don't want to sell EV's now. It is blasphemy for Nissan to do what they are doing as far as the rest of the auto manufacturers are concerned. The ICE manufacturers are praying at this very moment that Nissan does not make there EV affordable and they will not be affordable, because it is not yet massed produced in numbers but at least they are not hand built so we are making progress.

        If I was a auto manufacturer I would not want to sell EV's. They have a hundred year infrastructure in place to make profits, why displace existing profits for unknown profit margins, even with the government subsidising EV's. I don't blame the oil companies for not producing batteries they own the patents to. What kind of nut would think about building batteries if it stood even a remote chance of displacing oil sales.

        Money never creates a conspiracy, never. Corporations always do what's right and would never do anything detrimental to the public or planet to increase or maintain their profits. We should not regulate any of them. We could save much money by getting rid of the EPA, FDA, anti trust laws and many others. (This last paragraph was a bit of sarcasm.)


        • 4 Years Ago
        The only problem is they want it to have all the positives and to be cheaper too! Reliability (less moving parts), performance (better low end torque) probably can be improved, but affordability will take a while (assuming gas prices stay stable).

        Good comment about the diesel though, I didn't think about it that way. It kind of makes more sense why automakers are taking a more cautious approach, rather than the aggressive approaches the new smaller companies are taking. Of course, enthusiasts (like many here, including me) are always impatient and want them to move as quickly as possible to get the product into the market.
        • 4 Years Ago
        EVsuper: i'd like to think it's a conspiracy but i really doubt it.

        The general consensus is that electric cars require far less maintenance, but that only holds true to a degree.

        You still have all those finnicky suspension, interior, exterior, and drivetrain bits to replace on an electric.. and in time the electronics will poop out too.

        There are hydraulic brake systems, differential/transmission fluids, and cooling systems that need flushes and maintenance just like every other car.

        My question is, what did those NiMH cars cost back in the day?
        And what did they cost to the auto manufacturer?

        I believe that CARB mandated that everyone make an electric car back in the 90's too.

        I really don't think they wanted to sell the NiMH cars back then as it definetely wasn't profitable. I remember GM saying each car cost them $100,000 ...
        • 4 Years Ago
        montrealmustang said, "You know what the current worst enemy of electric cars is? Electric Cars. Most companies are taking very cautious baby steps towards selling them to the public. They are terrified of screwing up and having everyone think they're garbage".

        Interesting outlook montrealmustang, indeed I believe many of the auto corps are putting out garbage EV's but not for the reason you site. They are terrified to make a capable EV in fear of losing parts and service revenues on their ICE vehicles. Daimler, Toyota, Mitsubishi are all putting out low range garbage EV's to show how incapable they are and to skirt fines via CARB and CAFE. The only thing that makes them better than a NEV is crash testing and hwy speeds. They put out the very capable Rave 4 EV 10 years ago. The 120 mile range, hwy speeds, Rave 4 EV. This alone blows your theory out of the water. A used one still sells for over 25k with the original batteries.
        Mitsubishi is asking 42k for their 16kwh battery pack car that goes 40 miles in the winter, most likely 70 miles tops here in America. I like the imiev but it is only fair if asking 42k they should put twice the battery pack in it, or sell it for 20k.

        Joe Sixpack will not buy a EV if it was equal to a equivalent ICE vehicle in price, with similar options. Purchasing a EV would save him a 1000 dollars per year in fuel costs but the range limitations and having to plug it in are not worth that. As David Martin says 5 dollars per gallon in gas and Joe Sixpack will be singing a different tune.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Miles, don't confuse planned obsolescence with technological limitations (eg. cellphones).

        "I don't see how EV's will be that much more reliable. ICE engine & trans are among the most reliable things on a car, I never have any significant problems until I'm around ~150k miles, and this tech is quite mature."

        While it's true that newer ICEs are more reliable than they used to be I wouldn't be bragging about self destructing at 150k miles when electric motors reliably exceed 1 million miles or more. Comparing the two is like comparing a 1984 car to a 2010 model - night and day improvement virtually overnight.

        Another point is that ICE is struggling to incrementally improve after having 100 years to work on it. Electric vehicles are in their infancy and will only improve yet they are already many times as reliable as a comparable ICE vehicle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Damn, I'm glad Roy asked that question "LS2LS7".... I kept wondering but was afraid to ask because it might be something obvious I should figure out for myself and I didn't want to look stupid :-)
        • 4 Years Ago
        TheTom,
        You have valid points, and I do understand planned obsolescence.

        I didn't say they self-destruct at 150k, I said that's when I have my first problems on any significance. (Front main bearing seal leak is my only problem on the 1L Metro and it happened at 170k+ miles) That's not necessarily much different than you'd expect from some other elec motor today. I agree they should get much better than ICE over time, but I won't concede they are there yet. Saying they go for 1m miles is unproven in the real world as far as I'm concerned.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't see how EV's will be that much more reliable. ICE engine & trans are among the most reliable things on a car, I never have any significant problems until I'm around ~150k miles, and this tech is quite mature.

        I understand fewer moving parts on an EV should increase reliability, but the tech is still pretty young. Cell phones come to mind. I could use my old 'Ma Bell' phone to hammer in nails without a blink, but my cell phones seem to self-destruct some time around the end of year 1, just from sitting in my pocket.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Excellent post.

        A small correction, the German diesel cars in California prior to 2009 did not pass the smog tests, they just paid the fines (about $4M).

        So what is LS2LS7?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well stated. I agree with all points!

        It's like some EV fanboys are blind to the fact that an EV offers a fraction of a gas car's functionality at 3 times the cost.

        And sort of like Linux, it will remain obscure until it improves to the level of the thing it's replacing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      bring back the carburetor!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Frederiksen: Halving the weight of a vehicle will increase fuel economy somewhat, but not by double.

      There are two ways extra mass reduces fuel economy:
      1) It increases rolling resistance, but the effect is small and can be countered somewhat by increasing tire pressure.
      2) It takes more energy to accelerate the extra mass. That energy takes the form of momentum, and in conventional cars is lost as heat when the car brakes, but hybrids and EVs can use regenerative braking to recover most of that energy, up to 70% recovery. For that reason, mass is less of a efficiency factor for hybrids and EVs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Too bad we can't go back to 1970's crash standards huh.. :p

        Seriously.. that 700-500lb we tacked on to small cars since then really sucks.

        I blame SUVs for everything.
    • Load More Comments