Consumer Attitudes, Opinions, Preferences, and Price Sensitivity for Plug-in Electric Vehicles and EV Charging Stations

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were first commercially available in 2010, and by 2012 their numbers had grown significantly, with many auto manufacturers adding new models to their fleets.

A number of auto manufacturers are electrifying their fleets with new models. In the United States, sales of electric vehicles are estimated to reach 47,966 in 2012.

Pike Research anticipates the category will grow swiftly, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% between 2012 and 2020 in the United States.

As the market for PEV expands, consumer perception of these types of vehicles is shifting, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse. Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of consumers participating in Pike Research’s annual survey that identified themselves as “extremely interested” or “very interested” in PEVs fell from 40% of the respondents to 36%. While this decrease is not staggering, it does indicate that auto manufacturers will need to make improvements in PEVs in order to attract buyers in larger numbers. It also indicates that manufacturers need to do a better job of educating consumers about the benefits of PEVs and making these cars more relevant to the end user.

This Pike Research report details findings from a web-based survey of 1,001 consumers in the United States. The study assesses consumer demand, preferences, opinions, and price sensitivity for PEVs and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The survey was conducted in the fall of 2012 using a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample. Pike Research conducted similar surveys in 2010 and 2011, and this latest version shows, when appropriate, year-over-year comparisons of data to identify trends.

Key Questions Addressed

• What is the overall level of interest among U.S. consumers for PEVs?
• How does this interest vary by demographic, behavioral, and political segment?
• What is the level of consumer price sensitivity in the PEV market? What is the optimal price point for PEVs?
• Which vehicle brands would consumers prefer for PEVs? Which models are consumers most familiar with?
• What are the barriers to faster PEV adoption?
• What are consumers’ preferences for different PEV range/price configurations?
• What is the importance of PEV charging infrastructure for consumers?