With mass-market production electric vehicles (EVs) finally hitting the market, some people are taking the time to look at what motivates buyers to consider purchasing a battery-powered auto instead of just a regular old gas burner. High price tags can deter many potential EV buyers, but is the act of selecting a plug-in vehicle a rational choice that's likely to be influenced by price or a commitment to save the environment? Well, Dan Ariely, professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and best-selling author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality, suggests that several factors will motivate buyers to choose greener rides, and few of those impulses will be sensible.

Ariely recently spoke with GE Reports and offered his insight into what he believes will attract consumers to EVs, stating:
One of the key reasons people would buy an EV is to be environmentally responsible. And environmental responsibility is a case where it's hard to get people to care about it - there's the sense that it will happen in the future, [it's hard to] see it progressing, and people think that anything they could do about it personally would be a drop in the bucket. So maybe, if you won't buy an EV for the 'right' reasons, but you may buy one for the 'wrong' reasons...[in this case], a desire to look like a good person to yourself and everyone else.
Ariely also suggests that a car is, "a way not just to confer status, but to communicate status. It communicates to yourself and to others who you are." He notes that automakers should give plug-ins a unique look that immediately communicates to others that the vehicle is not a run-of-the-mill auto and that the driver has done his part to help out the environment. Distinctive design, Ariely argues, will motivate early adopters. Sure worked for the Toyota Prius.

[Source: GE Reports]

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