The majority of consumers are more or less priced out of the market.

Electric cars are gaining popularity with the general public, but are they still too expensive? According to a survey 1,084 consumers by Navigant Research, a consulting firm located in Boulder, CO, 71 percent want their next car to cost under $25,000, while 41 percent won't go a cent above $20K. Looks like people are even thriftier than we'd originally thought.

Meanwhile, Navigant's Electric Vehicle Survey found that 67 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion on hybrids while 61 percent thought positively of EVs, meaning that while consumers might be interested in purchasing an EV, the majority of consumers are more or less priced out of the market.

According to the project's principal research analyst, Dave Hurst, the EV will become more accessible, but it's going to take time. "Batteries make up half the cost of vehicles. We're anticipating that battery prices will come down by about a third by 2020," Hurst told Automotive News.

But that brings about another issue uncovered by the survey. People might be interested, but they don't know about any particular model. Only 44 percent of those surveyed were "somewhat familiar" with the Chevrolet Volt, while the Nissan Leaf sat at 31 percent. Only six and five percent, respectively, said they were "extremely familiar" with the plug-in hybrid and pure EV.

Ignoring the elephant in the room (range anxiety), we have to wonder what the price point is where an EV starts to make sense for most consumers. Will it ever make sense?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 148 Comments
      nel323
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a Volt, I live 17 miles from work, I can make the trip there and home on pure electric and have 10 miles to spare. I had a 240 volt charger installed in my garage - it was 900 dollars, I received a 300 dollar rebate for it, so the cost was 600. In the past year and half - 15,000 miles I have spent 13 dollars on gas, and 720.00 on electricity. Teh car I had before the Volt was a Prius that cost me 1, 500 dollars a year in gas to go the same distance. This means The Volt cost was less to drive, and in fact the first year savings paid for the 240 volt charger. Oh yeah I lease the Volt as I did with teh Prius, lease payments are the same.
      GR
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unfortunately, due to the problem of stagnating wages in America, it's a little harder for the average person to buy a new car these days. So the idea of buying a new EV is almost out of the question for many Americans, despite the fact that many EVs can actually save people money in the long run.
      roberto tomás
      this is strange to read in a day and age when most economy cars are $16-$20k, and most starter family cars are $19-$24k. Heck, the Toyota Camry starts over $22k and a Kia Optima (same class) can cost all the way up to almost $40k.
      Mulad
      • 1 Year Ago
      Considering that the average cost of a new car hit $31,252 in August 2013, this survey smells a bit off. Of course, many car owners buy their vehicles second-hand, and that probably explains the reported reluctance to pay the average cost.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why I hate when ABG decides to base conclusions on surveys: Google "WP-EVCS-13-Navigant-Research" Go to page 28 (section 11) (SOURCES AND METHODOLOGY) "Navigant Research conducted a web-based survey of 1,084 U.S. consumers in the fall of 2013 using a structured online questionnaire. The survey invitation was sent to a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample of consumers who are members of a large online panel. Respondents were offered a chance to win prizes in exchange for their participation. The margin of error for these survey results is +/- 3% with a 95% confidence interval. " There was NO SCREENING for consumers based on whether they were in the market for any car at all. Let alone new cars. So yes, it DOES INCLUDE folks who could only afford used cars. Additionally, whenever an online survey includes a "chance to win prizes in exchange for their participation".... that does skew the results to folks with a slightly cheaper sensibility. Which is why the survey paper also says, "note that consumers often have difficulty providing survey responses that will accurately predict their purchase behavior for products that have not yet been introduced into the market. "
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Joeviocoe Thank you for taking the time to adopt my suggestion that you Google, and read, the report in full. Unfortunately you seem selective in your interpretation. The full quote states: " Great care was taken in constructing a survey questionnaire that would yield the most accurate and unbiased results possible. However, note that consumers often have difficulty providing survey responses that will accurately predict their purchase behavior for products that have not yet been introduced into the market " I am not an advocate of this type of survey methodology, however I am assured that the questionnaire did carefully exclude used vehicles. (although, the term ' new car' could be ambiguous in the minds of some participants ). At the best, all these sorts of 'surveys' , may provide some mildly useful information, in conjunction with other indicators, about future trends and market opinion. But on the whole, I agree with you that such surveys are largely for media consumption, and pretty much valueless.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Thanks for the agreement on my conclusions. Yes, my interpretation was indeed selective. I selected FACT, but ignored subjective statements that have no value. Like, "Great care was taken", and " most accurate and unbiased results possible" Those statements mean NOTHING since they were not quantifiable. They are there to give people a warm feeling about the content of the survey. These statements allow people to reinterpret the data anyway they want. Like having people assume that the results were screened for new car buyers. --" I am assured that the questionnaire did carefully exclude used vehicles." Well... there is nothing in the survey that should give you this "assurance". Other than hollow words of "great care" and "most accurate"... which allows you to fill in whatever mechanism would give you greater confidence in the results. THIS is how research firms use science to cater to industry. By doing just enough credible work to satisfy some scrutiny when checked... but leaving certain holes that allow interpretations of the data to shaped into whatever conclusions wanted. And thus, Navigant makes a compelling survey that the whole industry will be able to shape as they want... and Navigant is guaranteed to be commissioned again. Product demand. Surveys, studies, reports, etc.... are products subject to the same forces as everything else. They want to sell products... and interpretive surveys sell better than definite ones.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      --"According to a survey 1,084 consumers by Navigant Research, a consulting firm located in Boulder, CO, 71 percent want their next car to cost under $25,000, while 41 percent won't go a cent above $20K." Wow... does anyone on Autoblog realize that this survey also include consumers who ARE NOT IN THE MARKET FOR NEW CARS. Automakers are FULLY AWARE that most consumers are not actually going to buy a NEW CAR... but are perfectly suited for the USED CAR market. And thus, automakers will continue to simply IGNORE these people. And they have not had trouble selling their cars
        EZEE2
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        You're both wrong. (I get to be the smart kid for a day YAY!) What people want, and what they do, are the key here. Yes, I am sure people DO WANT their next car to be less than $25,000, have a V8, leather, and have massaging seats with a hand that reaches up and....well never mind. But the KEY here is that the average new car sale price is $31,252. So in the end, people are paying quite a but more. So yes, people might say they want this or that, but in the end, the survey is nonsense. It also makes me realize that GM blows at telling people about the Volt. With the tax credit, the volt is CHEAPER than the average price of a new car. So that whole article on people needing more education on EV's and such...well, THAT article was accurate. Now, me personally, thinks new car prices are insane, so if my Beloved 2000 Ford Ranger Flex Fuel Extended Cap ULEV vehicle ever dies (which it won't) then I will buy used.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          EZEE2? As in "Too Easy"?? *grin*
          EZEE2
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          Dammit! How did you see that and I didn't and it is MY OWN NAME!
          EZEE2
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          Unfortunately she took a dim view of everything and ended it between us. On thanksgiving day no less. Oddly, she never said what the last straw was. She knew some hackers, or someone, that got into everything, and I mean, everything of mine. Personal email, all accounts, Facebook....so looks like that fun chapter of my life is over. The threesome was before her, which I told her about, and she knew about the porn people as well (they kept bugging me to get to get into 'acting'), so a bit of a mystery to me. Forewarned - if someone wants I to your stuff, no password change, no security, nothing, will stop them.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          Don't worry, there are still all your comments about threesomes and your buddy in porn still publicly available in the ABG archives for her to find.... *evil grin*
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Joeviocoe " Wow... does anyone on Autoblog realize that this survey also include consumers who ARE NOT IN THE MARKET FOR NEW CARS." I don't think you can necessarily draw that conclusion as fact ! The Automotive News article implies that only new vehicles buyers were contacted. However, I do agree that the article would be a lot more authoritative if Brandon Turkus had included information about the survey's methodology.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Marco... just read the white paper. Chart 5.7 is the one reference in this ABG article. But go to section 11: "Navigant Research conducted a web-based survey of 1,084 U.S. consumers in the fall of 2013 using a structured online questionnaire. The survey invitation was sent to a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample of consumers who are members of a large online panel. Respondents were offered a chance to win prizes in exchange for their participation. The margin of error for these survey results is +/- 3% with a 95% confidence interval. " There was NO SCREENING for consumers based on whether they were in the market for any car at all. So yes, it DOES INCLUDE folks who could only afford used cars. Additionally, whenever an online survey includes a "chance to win prizes in exchange for their participation".... that does skew the results to folks with a slightly cheaper sensibility.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          --"The Automotive News article implies that only new vehicles buyers were contacted" No, I am not seeing that being, "implied" anywhere. It looks as though the question included something like, "on their next vehicle purchase," And, "while 43 percent won't cross the $20,000 threshold"... seems to imply a mix of people in the New car market AND the used car market.... completely skewing the numbers. Automakers do NOT build many new cars "below $20,000"... yet that is 43% of the market? Surveys are designed to say whatever the they want them to say.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ Joeviocoe Joe, simply because the survey doesn't specifically exclude used cars, doesn't mean you can automatically add that it does ! You are making an assumption, that may or may not, be correct. You can read a full copy of the white paper which is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.
      Steve
      • 1 Year Ago
      Perhaps it's just like every other new technology launched in the past: i.e. original iPod cost as much as $400 for 15GB but now it's only $250 for 160GB. It's matter of making EVs more affordable with more research and support of early adopters.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Steve
        It is not. EVs will drop some in price but comparisons to digital electronics and hard drives is misplaced. Those things get cheaper because they get better are representing a bit with less resources.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Yeah.. cars can never follow Moore's Law. Digital equipment can, since there is plenty of room to shrink. Density can grow exponentially in non-energy systems. Data storage, processing, memory, display pixels... all can be crafted into smaller and smaller materials. Batteries don't work like that. Instead of getting components to be smaller.. they need internal surface areas to become larger in the same space... while still functioning with the same parameters for operating temps, voltages, currents, cycle life, etc. We are seeing steady advancements in batteries... and we'll have to deal with that.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Steve
        Steve -- That might be true for the part of the price of the car that is for software/computer costs, and to a lesser extent the controller. But the battery costs are currently dropping much slower than that. And the rest of the car that is common to gas cars (wheels, tires, seats, doors, etc) are going up in price just like they are going up for gas cars. Prices will come down, and there will be improvements in features/performance, but nowhere the speed of iPods. We aren't going to see a Model S drop from $80K with 300 miles of range, down to $50K with 3,300 miles in range over a couple of years (which would be the same as the rate of change you mentioned for the iPod).
      thomas.leopard
      • 1 Year Ago
      You can get a leaf for around $22k with a full tax rebate, possibly even less if you know how to negotiate. Not breaking news, people.
      superchan7
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here in California, living costs place most white-collar professionals into $20,000-25,000 new cars. Not surprised that people think price is a barrier to EV ownership.
        Daniel D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @superchan7
        Bingo. When you wipe out the middle class to maximize corporate profits, you also wipe out your potential customers.
          JoeP
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Daniel D
          But it is worth it so that people so busy that they can't protest what is happening in the US.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wait 'till they find out what the hydrogen cars cost.. ;p
      electric-car-insider
      @clquake, the tax credit does make your lease payment go down - very much so. And in California and several other states, you also get a check in the mail within 60 days of your purchase. $2,500 in CA covers most or all if your down payment on a lease. It's possible to pay nothing at all for the first year of a three year lease for an EV, and then less than your monthly fuel bill for the lease payment, making an EV essentially a free car.
      BorisF
      • 1 Year Ago
      Am I only one who understands logic of most people in this survey? Unlike those who follow auto forums, most people see electric cars as cheap in quality with unreliable resale value. Also, people are cheap, if they do not believe that electric car will help them raise their social status or raise driving convenience level significantly. It will take few decades or much higher oil prices to change attitudes. I will bet on former.
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