The year 2012
will be an important test of the commercial viability of plug-in electric
Chevrolet and Nissan, ended 2010 with the launch of their highway-capable PEVs
for the mass market. Many other auto manufacturers are working to
electrify their lineups with new models. For example, Toyota plans to
launch the PEV Prius in January 2012 and other manufacturers have plans to
launch plug-in electric models in the near future.
public awareness of electric vehicles continues to build with the increase in
model launch activity, according
to Pike Research.
interest in purchasing PEVs has gradually declined over the past two
In 2009, 48
percent of respondents stated that they would be “extremely” or “very”
interested in purchasing a PEV. In 2010 that number declined moderately to
44 percent and in 2011 it fell further to 40 percent.
“Price is the
most significant barrier to consumer interest in electric vehicles. About
two-thirds of our survey respondents who stated they would not be interested in
purchasing a PEV said that they felt such a vehicle would be too
expensive. Others said that they would want to wait a few years until the
technology is more proven, and almost half said that a PEV would not have
sufficient driving range for their needs. These are all key issues, both
real and perceived, that automakers will need to address if PEVs are to move
successfully out of the early adopter phase,” said research director John
respondents stated that they would be most likely to choose Toyota (51 percent)
and Ford (46 percent) when considering a PEV purchase, even though these two
automakers did not have PEVs on the market at the time of the survey.
Honda ranked third with 44 percent, followed by Chevrolet with 42 percent and
Nissan with 35 percent.
willing to pay a premium for PEVs, just not as much of a premium as automakers
must charge during the next few years due to the cost of batteries. Pike
Research’s price sensitivity analysis indicates that for a traditional gasoline
vehicle that would ordinarily cost $20,000, the optimal price point of a
comparable PEV would be $23,750 – a premium of 18.75 percent.
residential fast-charging equipment is high, with 80 percent of consumers
interested in a PEV stating that they would also be interested in such a unit
in their home. However, pricing is once again an issue, while Pike
Research’s analysis suggests that the first generation of residential
fast-charging equipment will cost between $500 and $800, only 28 percent of
survey respondents stated that they would be willing to pay $500 or more.
respondents expressed strong interest in smartphone applications that would
provide useful information on the status of their PEV. The most popular
feature was identifying the location of the nearest charging station (84
percent), followed by battery state of charge information (82 percent),
electricity pricing data (76 percent), and the ability to schedule stop/start
times for PEV charging (68 percent).