Most car shoppers (78 percent) said that if they were to purchase an electric vehicle, it would primarily be used as an everyday or commuter vehicle. In addition, on average, respondents said they would expect an electric vehicle to get 340 miles per charge in order for it to meet their needs.
Concerning value, nearly all car shoppers (91 percent) feel that electric vehicles are expensive, and 43 percent expect that electric vehicles will not retain their value as well as conventional gas cars.
Less than half of respondents (45 percent) said they are interested in electric vehicle technology. For those interested in electric vehicle technology, the primary reason cited was reduction in reliance on foreign oil (85 percent), reduction in pollution (83 percent) and reduction in vehicle emissions (83 percent). Only 37 percent said they were interested in electric vehicle technology due to potential tax credits, and a mere 8 percent said they were interested because of potential access to carpool lane stickers.
Of those interested in electric vehicle technology, the majority (65 percent) said they were open to purchasing an electric vehicle from a company that has not previously sold vehicles in the United States.
In gauging awareness of particular electric vehicle models, shoppers identified that they were most aware of the Chevrolet Volt at 71 percent, followed by the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid at 68 percent. The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid came in third for awareness at 46 percent, while the Nissan LEAF came in fourth at 45 percent. The Tesla Roadster came in fifth, with 39 percent awareness among consumers.
When shown pictures of electric vehicles that are currently or soon-to-be available for purchase/lease in the United States, the highest percentage of respondents (44 percent) said they would consider purchasing or definitely purchase the Chevrolet Volt, with the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid coming in close second (43 percent), the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid placing third (42 percent), the Ford Focus Electric reported in fourth (39 percent), and the Nissan LEAF finishing in fifth (34 percent).
However, according to recent new-car shopper activity on kbb.com, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF are trending quite similarly. Since hitting kbb.com in August 2010, both vehicles have had triple digit month-over-month activity increases, with the Volt increasing 138 percent and the LEAF increasing 191 percent for September 2010. The latest activity levels for October 2010 indicate the Volt has a 178 percent month-over-month increase in new-car shopper activity on kbb.com, while the LEAF has a 167 percent month-over-month increase.
"While it seems the car-shopping public still has a long way to go concerning electric vehicle consideration and understanding the realities of electric vehicle technology, the fact that there are all-new methods of propulsion becoming available to drivers is another great step forward for the automotive industry," said James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "The Volt versus LEAF race continues to heat up, and there are many other players coming to market in the alternative energy space in the near future. Time will tell whether this technology will be readily adopted by a large number of mainstream car buyers, or if this will just be another flash in the pan of vehicle history."