• Apr 29th 2011 at 8:06PM
  • 34
Plug-in vehicles are just starting to drizzle into the market, but many U.S. consumers are champing at the bit to buy them. So says E Source, a "dynamic" research and advisory firm, which recently analyzed data from the Nielsen Energy Survey and supposedly discovered that 85 percent of U.S. consumers would purchase a battery-powered vehicle either right away (3 percent), when their current automobile needs replacement (57 percent) or when electric vehicle technology is proven and becomes mainstream (25 percent).

Under the headline numbers, though, E Source found that not all plug-ins are the same. Consumers "strongly prefer" (58 percent) plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt. Pure EVs, like the Nissan Leaf, are only preferred by a mere eight percent. Bill LeBlanc, senior advisor at E Source, says that the statistics show "a substantial willingness for drivers to move to plug-in electric vehicles, but only if the manufacturers can provide the easy extended range of travel that Americans are used to."

E Source's analysis also suggests that liberals are more inclined to desire electric vehicles than conservatives (see here). LeBlanc adds that:
We see that all ages and all political mindsets like the plug-in hybrid vehicles equally. But when it comes to the all-electric car, it appears to be seen as more of a "green" purchase, rather than as a practical upgrade to a more-efficient vehicle.
The E Source study examined other variables, including home ownership, type of home, household size, annual income, gender, age, marital status and ethnicity. We'd suggest that these findings be taken with a grain of salt.

[Source: E Source]
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Most U.S. Consumers Want to Buy an Electric Vehicle

E Source Study Finds 85 Percent Are Ready to Purchase


BOULDER, Colo., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Plug-in electric vehicles may just be entering the market, but most U.S. consumers are ready to buy them. E Source recently analyzed data from the Nielsen Energy Survey and found that 85 percent of U.S. consumers say they would purchase a battery-driven car either right away (3 percent), when their current car needed replacement (57 percent), or when the technology is proven and it becomes more mainstream (25 percent). The caveat is that consumers strongly prefer (58 percent) plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) versions such as the Chevrolet Volt. PHEVs have greater range than electric-only cars like the Nissan Leaf and only 8 percent of consumers prefer them. "We are seeing a substantial willingness for drivers to move to plug-in electric vehicles, but only if the manufacturers can provide the easy extended range of travel that Americans are used to," says Bill LeBlanc, senior advisor at E Source.

E Source also reports that younger drivers are more willing than older drivers to purchase the electric-only cars, and people who describe themselves as liberals are similarly more inclined to desire the all-electric cars than those classified as conservatives. "We see that all ages and all political mindsets like the plug-in hybrid vehicles equally," says LeBlanc. "But when it comes to the all-electric car, it appears to be seen as more of a 'green' purchase, rather than as a practical upgrade to a more-efficient vehicle."

Another factor that E Source looked at was how far people drive each day and how that affects their desire for a plug-in electric vehicle. Daily driving habits don't seem to affect desire for the all-electric vehicle; however, desire for the PHEV grows as people spend more time in their cars. "Overall, the survey supports the existence of a huge untapped market for electric vehicles that can be charged at night at home. People seem very ready to move to the next generation of cars and dramatically decrease the frequency of their visits to the gas station," reports LeBlanc.

The E Source study examined other variables, including home ownership, type of home, household size, annual income, gender, age, marital status, and ethnicity. More information about the study can be found at www.esource.com/Residential_Energy-Use_2011.


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  • 34 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Annie, I know you. You are a time traveler, and your real name is 0-fer. More than one hundred years ago you were in Charleston, when a funny little locomotive lost a race to a horse. You scoffed and said "this is a toy." (A few years later, you were offered a chance to invest in the B&O Railroad. You declined, saying you preferred to keep your money under your mattress, "besides, what's wrong with canals?") When the lightbulb was invented, you laughed and said "I'd rather keep my kerosene lamp...thank you very much!" When the phone came along, you held out for the telegraph. At Kitty Hawk you were heard to say "it'll never fly", and when Henry Ford produced the Model T you cried, "I'll stick with my horse!" Years later a man named Kennedy promised to land a man on the moon. You said, "impossible!" More recently you chose a typewriter over a computer, and the Post Office over e-mail. Annie, I have a question: Are you a person of faith? If so, why do you have so little faith? Five years from now when I (and many others) drive by in our electric vehicles, and you are pumping $5 (who knows maybe $10) gas at the neighborhood Exxon station, will you still look down your nose at the electric car? My guess is you will, because even though we will come to be known as "Mr. or Ms. 1 for 1", you will still be Annie 0-fer.
      anniewheelr
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ah did anyone tell them that most of the electricity that would run their electric car would come from coal and oil produced electric? Did they tell them that it would further drain already limited grid strength especially in large cities? Did they tell them how much it will cost to keep one of those cars running? Did they mention what it would cost to repair one if it broke? Look at the difference from 30 years ago when almost anyone could learn to fix and time an engine. Now you can't even find half the stuff it's jammed in so close together. And the cost to keep and maintain a car has skyrocketed...insurance has gone up because it is more costly to repair a car. We need to know the total cost of going to an electric car before we buy one...and if, as some say, it will not even make a dent in the emissions percentage then why spend the extra money to have less range, less comfort and higher maintenance costs?
        EJ
        • 8 Months Ago
        @anniewheelr
        "Ah did anyone tell them that most of the electricity that would run their electric car would come from coal and oil produced electric?" That's only true if they live in the midwest. Did anyone tell you that even if all EV cars were sourced from coal, they still produce 120grams per mile CO2 less than petrol? Or that as the grid greens, so do the EVs, but as oil gets harder and harder to drill for, gas cars get dirtier? Or that even if it was dirtier, it's still domestically sourced, employs American workers, stops shifting billions of dollars a year to foreign countries, and greatly stabilizes our national security position by eliminated our dependance on foreign oil? "Did they tell them that it would further drain already limited grid strength especially in large cities?" Did anyone tell you that most people will charge at night, when there is so much extra capacity that everyone charging their EVs will allow power generation facilities to run at more efficient levels rather than cutting back to the inefficient levels they run at now. The extra usage will actually cost them less to operate at night, and give them additional revenue. "Did they tell them how much it will cost to keep one of those cars running?" Did anyone tell you that an EVs regular maintenance is practically zero compared to a gas car? "Did they mention what it would cost to repair one if it broke?" Did anyone tell you that the motor in an EV has 4 parts, and will last longer than the frame? Did anyone tell you that the battery warranty on these vehicles is better than most gas cars? And most importantly, did anyone tell you that a small solar array on your garage is enough to offset the average persons driving needs? And that in three to fours years, will pay for itself in saved gas, after which you'll be driving for free? But don't pay any attention to me, after Bush was elected I shifted a large part of my portfolio to oil and gas. So keep burning that fuel baby, I'd like to continue to get a chunk of your weekly paycheck...
          Naturenut99
          • 8 Months Ago
          @EJ
          re: "That's only true if they live in the midwest. " Not even that general. Illinois is roughly 40~50% coal depending on provider. (Lots of nuclear... unfortunately). Its more state by state.
        hahiran
        • 8 Months Ago
        @anniewheelr
        I swear that the oil lobby pays these people to troll the site.
        Marcopolo
        • 8 Months Ago
        @anniewheelr
        By cracky, anniewheelr's right! These here, dang newfangled, whose y'micallit's aint worth a frog in a catus bush! Ain't nothin' t' beat ma 1931 hupmoble! I was born here, an I was raished here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here, an no sidewindin' bushwackin', hornswagglin' cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter a'tryin' t' sell me no hethen 'lectric horseless carriage! An' if'n that don't hold them smart alec'y folks, I'll be back with more genuine frontier gibberish. Yours, cantankerously, Old Coot, friend of anniewheelr, Under the hood, Rollin' Rock Ridge
        Ziv
        • 8 Months Ago
        @anniewheelr
        Coal is down to 44.5% of the electricity source, oil down to 1.0%, but with nat gas up to 23.3% and nuclear up to 20.2% and renewables up to 3.6% and hydro still at 6.8%, our electricity is cleaner than ever. Coal is dropping in its share of the electricity generation and renewables and nukes are growing. So 'most' will not come from coal or oil. A million cars will have no real effect on the grid, they are too tiny a proportion of the electricity being used. And most of the cars will be charging at night when it is cheaper and there is an oversupply of electricity anyway. Electric cars are a lot more reliable than ICE vehicles because they are simpler, with the exception of the EREV's which are pretty complicated but they are a 6 or 8 year work-around until batteries are cheaper and lighter. (Hydrogen needs to cut their stack costs by around 90% to make them cheap enough to be worthwhile, BEV's need battery prices to drop by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years to make a decent range BEV affordable, that is going to happen sooner rather than later) Again, battery powered cars will be simpler than present day ICE vehicles. The cost of owning a BEV is pretty plain. A car with enough range to satisfy most drivers will be expensive and complex for the next few years. You can go 'cheap' like the IMiev or the Leaf but you have crappy range. Or you can go expensive like the Tesla and have good range. The Volt falls in between, with unlimited range but a moderately high MSRP, but it is a more comfortable car than just about any other out there due to its smooth BEV like power. Annie, you have to read about your subject before you rant. BEV's/EREV's don't make financial sense this year, but they will in a few more years. And if gas stays over $4 a gallon for long, they will make sense even sooner. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epa_sum.html
        David
        • 8 Months Ago
        @anniewheelr
        Annie, is that a tin foil cap in your avatar... Oh, I see, its just a normal umbrella. Sorry for the confusion
        skierpage
        • 8 Months Ago
        @anniewheelr
        Common sense beats your laundry list of inaccurate FUD. Very little USA electricity is generated from oil; despite its many problems coal is a domestic industry that doesn't fund terrorism and destroy the US economy. People will mostly recharge at night when the grid has excess capacity, and some will do the right thing and recharge off their solar panels. Electric cars should be more reliable than gas cars and will cost less to operate, though battery pack replacement is a factor. If you factor in the emissions involved in producing, spilling, refining, and distributing a gallon of gasoline (most studies just compare electric emissions with the car's pollution), emissions from electric cars powered from coal are comparable to conventional cars (studies differ), and in California where electricity comes from natural gas and the Pacific Northwest where it comes from hydro, emissions are substantially reduced. As for your stupid ending rhetorical question, electric cars get us off oil. What's your solution?
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      The most optimistically pro EV survey I have seen yet. I doubt this 57% market includes a willingness to pay a substantially premium price. Prices must come down sharply and they will. When you think about it, all high volume production cars are extremely good value. If you tried to build a standard Chevy Malibu from scratch it would cost you millions of dollars. Probably tens of millions. Auto manufacturers are masters of bringing prices down through mass production and this skill will be applied to batteries, electric motors, and controllers.
        Marcopolo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        Roy, most new technology is introduced by high priced, luxury sector of the auto-market, and once proven and the development cost recovered becomes a standard feature on the middle range then later even the base model is equipped with what was once a luxury. Another factor, non- business people fail to grasp, is that every noble loss making project and failed model, the customers who buy the next model must pay for the unpopularity of the previous failure. This seems very unfair, but in reality an automaker has only one source of income, the consumer, who ultimately pays for everything.
      briang19
      • 4 Years Ago
      If true this doesn't bode well for Tesla, but it might for Fisker.
        Naturenut99
        • 4 Years Ago
        @briang19
        Not a fair comparison. Leaf - 73 EPA miles rating Model S - 160, 240, or 300 miles est. range Plus Tesla will have an even more affordable car with the next one. Which would put it in price line with the others but with longer EV range.
      Marcopolo
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mark, there's a lot of misinformed sentiment for the EV1, mostly created by the WKTEC movie fans. Most advocates for this primitive little vehicle would never have bought one, and certainly have no idea of the costs of attempting, at that time, to mass manufacture and market such difficult product. But, time and mythology have given the EV1 undeserved credibility . GM, is not a small bespoke manufacturer catering to a small group of enthusiasts who can afford to buy a low volume product. GM, is a mass production volume manufacturer who must amortise development costs across a large volume of units. Very few would have actually purchased an EV1 (as opposed to all those who say they would have) . GM spent $ 1 billion (before government subsidies) on development of the EV1, to amortise that money the vehicle would have to sell 200,000 units at $34,000 (1996 dollars) to break even. Since the equivalent ICE was less that 40% of that price, the EV1 was just plain uneconomic. The Volt is a different proposition. Like Prius, Volt is now seen as the drive-train of the future and a combination of the existence of largely subsidised world-wide mass market, plus the government funded developments costs will see GM realise a profit on Volt. But the main reason is the Volt is a far more acceptable, and practical car.
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      We run the numbers, economy of an electric vs initial price. I think we pretty much like the concept of EVs and the current instability of the fuel market is very much in the favor of these new EVs and PHEVs. A high percentage of urban dwellers can make a good case for a PHEV, or an EV. I believe the results of the survey. Whether the people will execute the change over remains to be seen. We will have to be patient, because these cars are not yet really available.
      nitrostreet
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't know but I put that same quote on here 8 months ago and you'd have though I killed someones favorite dog.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I do not know one person who would buy one of these expensive cars with all their drawbacks, seriously.
        EJ
        • 8 Months Ago
        Hi, I'm EJ. Nice to meet you.
          Naturenut99
          • 8 Months Ago
          @EJ
          EJ... Brilliant ! wjkush... Hi I'm Dan. Now you at least know 2. Dont worry you'll end up knowing far more people than you realize who want/will have an EV.
        hodad66
        • 8 Months Ago
        Just waiting for the Leaf to become available in Florida. I drive 5K per year and the Leaf will fit all of my needs as my only vehicle. If I need to take an extended trip I'll rent. Many of us out here..... you should get out more.. ;-)
        Marcopolo
        • 8 Months Ago
        Hi, I own four personal transport EV's. Curiously, I haven't noticed any 'drawbacks', except , well,..I miss seeing the girl working in the Shell service station, she was kinda cute!
      Kai F. Lahmann
      • 4 Years Ago
      Same as always: - 3% "there's is a new gadget. I need it. Now." - 57% (interesting extremely high!) "I want this with my next replacement buy." - 25% "I'll wait until it's normal." - 15% "This hadn't exist in the civil war, so it can't be good!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hi All, We would like to share the best Peak Oil video here, if AG picks it up - it will be great! We have everything you need to know about the Peak Oil in this great video. Revelations from IEA Chief Economist about Crude Oil production Peak in 2006 are groundbreaking. It is not new and was in the latest IEA report, but who reads anything these days? Maybe, YouTube will bring it to the masses. http://sufiy.blogspot.com/2011/04/abc-catalyst-peak-oil-report-tnrv-czxv.html
      nitrostreet
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is in line with the conclusion GM came to in the late 90's after the EV-1 experiment: "The majority of cash paying customers are not going to buy a car that doesn't drive like a normal car" This conclusion is what spawned the creation of the Volt, the following press release from GM it looks like the average owner of a Volt is getting 1000 miles per (9 gallon) tank currently: http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news.detail.brand_chevrolet.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Apr/0421_volt
        nitrostreet
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nitrostreet
        I guess you can't put long links in anymore, here it is split in two: http://media.gm.com/ content/media/us/en/news.detail.brand_chevrolet.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Apr/0421_volt
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nitrostreet
        ""The majority of cash paying customers are not going to buy a car that doesn't drive like a normal car"" I'm baffled how GM could have come to that conclusion when they offered not a single one for sale.....
        nitrostreet
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nitrostreet
        Link above didn't all copy, lets try again: http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news.detail.brand_chevrolet.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Apr/0421_volt
      Ziv
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am a pretty fiscally conservative sort, and the Volt seems to be an order of magnitude better as an all around car than the Leaf. In my book, buying a Leaf would be only a little better than buying a GEM, I would still need a real car for long distance driving and a GEM costs less than half what a Leaf costs, albeit with a pokey top speed and a really austere finish quality. That having been said, I hope Nissan, Ford, Mitsubishi and GM all sell enough BEV's and EREV's in the next few years to help reduce our reliance on foreign oil for transportation, we need to switch to a much more healthy ability to produce our own electricity to power our cars.
        EJ
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        "albeit with a pokey top speed and a really austere finish quality." And unlike the Leaf, the ability to get seriously injured in an altercation with a bicycle...
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