Many Americans are concerned about global warming and vehicle emissions, according to market research company Ipsos.
But only 30% surveyed in a recent Ipsos study said they would buy an eco-friendly vehicle.
Ipsos set out to find out, Why is there a disconnect between environmental beliefs and automobile selection?
According to the study, which is titled “Ipsos Global Mobility Navigator Syndicated Study,” The answers are overall cost, range and charging location stations.
On that first barrier regarding cost, Ipsos vice president of mobility Todd Markusic said it is the primary barrier, regardless of the type of vehicle in question.
And it is the most important factor when drivers are purchasing/leasing a new vehicle, he said.
“This poses a huge hurdle for BEV (battery electric vehicle) manufacturers, since the cost of batteries remains high and are then rolled into the asking price,” Markusic said in a news release.
He continued, “Our study revealed consumers are only willing to pay up to an extra 10% more for a BEV over a similar gas/diesel version of the vehicle. However, we see once that price point exceeds 20%, consideration in the BEV option drops considerably.”
These new findings are from the second module of the Ipsos Global Mobility Navigator Syndicated Study in which 20,000 consumers worldwide shared their opinions on alternative engines and what it would take to get them to consider one.
Ipsos said the module helps answer the question, Why aren’t environmental concerns necessarily translating into BEV sales?
Regarding the second main hurdle, the range barrier, Ipsos said it appears to be based on a misconception that causes “range anxiety.”
But Ipsos said the average American actually drives around 170 miles during his or her normal workweek. Many current BEVs offer 200 miles per full charge, so an owner would only need to charge once a week to meet his or her driving needs, Ipsos said. That is similar to filling up gas once a week, the company said.
“The misconception of ‘range anxiety’ has many believing they couldn’t drive to the store without having to charge their BEV, with 45% incorrectly thinking they would need to charge their vehicle once a day or more,” Ipsos wrote.
Regarding that last major barrier for BEVs, location of charging stations, Ipsos said most consumers would seek ways to recharge their BEV at home rather than charging stations. Ipsos noted that current fast charging options can recharge a BEV to 80% within 40 minutes.
And a 30-minute option is “on the market horizon,” Ipsos wrote.
Additional key findings from Ipsos’ study:
— “Type of Engine” is not a primary purchase attribute that opens the door to consideration of an electric motor.
— Consideration of alternative engines has risen nearly every year since 2011.
— Thirty-seven percent of those seriously considering a BEV believe the external design should be different than the gas version of the vehicle.
— According to the average new car buyer, it will be at least 4.6 years before a BEV is available that meets their budget and vehicle needs.
Exposure is extremely important to help the BEV industry clear these hurdles, Markusic said.
“The U.S. exhibited some of the lowest familiarity with BEVs, with only 10% indicating they know them ‘very well.’ Meanwhile, most consumers simply have not been exposed to a BEV, with less than 10% having any type of significant interaction with one, which includes driving, looking or riding in one,” Markusic said.
He continued, “Many of the existing barriers could be resolved with messaged marketing and consumer education to resolve misconceptions.”
Ipsos said more than 50 new electric models could be released over the next few years. Because of that, the auto industry should have a more in-depth understanding of its consumers, the company said.
Ipsos added, “For that, they will need even greater insights as to what it would take to break barriers and put consumers into the driver’s seat of a BEV.”