A majority of consumers would consider buying a plug-in electric vehicle, according to a worldwide survey of over 7000 individuals by consultants Accenture.
The study, Plug-in electric vehicles: changing perceptions, hedging bets, finds that 60% of respondents would consider buying an electric plug-in the next time they purchase a car and 68% said they would do so in the next three years.
Interestingly, the Chinese respondents were the most enthusiastic with 96% ‘probably’ or ‘certainly’ considering the purchase of a plug-in electric vehicle over the next three years.
But consumers’ growing interest in plug-in electric vehicles could present utilities and infrastructure providers with something of a logistical problem, warns Accenture.
“The uncertain demand for plug-in electric vehicles and their impact on the grid means that energy providers must choose between running the risk of network overload and the need for large infrastructure investment, or early deployment of smart technologies that proactively manage local electricity demand and supply,” says Matias Alonso of Accenture.
According to Accenture’s survey, two-thirds of drivers would be unwilling to let utilities or operators dictate when they could charge their electric vehicles.
Over half also said that they would only plug in their electric vehicle when it required charging – rather than whenever it was parked – which could be harder for operators to manage and calls into question the network of public charging stations currently being trialled around the world.
The concept of battery swapping, as pioneered by Better Place, also seems to be unpopular with over 60% of survey respondents saying that they would prefer to plug in their vehicles.
And while 85% of those questioned believe that all-electric vehicles would not offer sufficient battery range to meeting driving needs, 71% say that for the moment they prefer the idea of plug-in hybrids, which can also run on convention petrol or diesel.
“As drivers get behind the wheel, they may become more open to fully electric vehicles and battery swapping services,” says Alonso. “But denser charging networks and fast charging units will be required if utilities want to drive up demand for all plug-in electric vehicles.”
For further information:
US reaches milestone of over 1800 electric vehicle charging points (16-May)
British Gas and npower launch electric vehicle energy tariffs (10-May)
US government partners with Google on electric vehicle infrastructure (20-Apr)
Hybrid and electric car sales soar, while corporates commit to green fleets (7-Apr)
24 May 2011