Speed Bumps Remain for Electric Cars; Incentives Could Recharge Interest

Interest in traditional hybrids on the rise; plug-in hybrids show mixed response

12:00 AM EDT Jun 20, 2013 Rating
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New York, N.Y. - June 20, 2013 - Electric cars are beginning to post all sorts of impressive numbers. Recently the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold. And last year roughly 440,000 cars deriving some degree of go from a battery - including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and cars running on electricity alone - were sold in this country, with approximately 50,000 of them being pure electrics.

Those are big numbers, but it's important to look at them with an equally big dose of perspective. With roughly 14.5 new million cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year, combined hybrid sales of roughly 390,000 vehicles represent 3% of total sales; those 50,000 pure electrics? About 0.3%. But with more and more manufacturers producing battery-propelled vehicles of one kind or another, and fuel prices showing no sign of falling, many anticipate continued growth for the sector. The Harris Poll set out to gauge Americans' interest in electric and other higher-mileage vehicle offerings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,240 U.S. adults surveyed online between May 8 and 13, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

Harris Interactive has been tracking consumer consideration of both hybrid and pure electric cars for some time via its Harris Poll AutoTECHCASTsm study, with results echoing findings from this poll. Consideration has been on the rise over recent years for traditional hybrids, while other electric car segments - though showing points of growth - have been more sporadic in their gains, explains Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive.

When asked which of several improved-efficiency vehicle types they would consider the next time they are in the market for a new vehicles, nearly half of American car owners (or anticipated owners) indicated that they would consider a traditional hybrid (48%), while nearly four in ten (38%) would consider a smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle. Just over one-fourth (27%) would consider a plug-in hybrid, two in ten (19%) an electric vehicle and 16% would consider a diesel vehicle. Roughly four in ten (41%) indicate that they would only get a vehicle with lower operating costs if they could do so without changing their driving habits or expectations.

What's your number?

Numbers play some interesting roles in these vehicles' varied appeal. Take, for example\'e2\'80_

Plug-in's struggle to charge up

Current and prospective drivers were also asked how their likelihood to consider several types of vehicles has changed within the past two years. Focusing specifically on those driven at least partly by their batteries...

Challenges and opportunities for pure electrics

When asked to select their top concerns related to pure electric vehicles, price (65%) and range (63%) were the top issues, followed by repair/maintenance costs (55%), reliability (53%), performance/power (48%) and the fact that it is still new technology (44%).

But the electric vehicles industry still has some juice left; in addition to being in a state of constant advancement, the study indicates that several incentives - including some already being tried out by current manufacturers - show the potential to impact Americans' likelihood to consider such vehicles:

Furthermore, continues Chadsey, it's important to note that hybrids were once a new, untested technology, but have been slowly merging into the mainstream as more and more manufacturers put out their own versions of this vehicle type. It's likely that this same progression could be seen within the plug-in hybrid and pure electric categories, though it's important to note that traditional hybrids also gained an early boost from outside factors such as sharply rising gas prices and a strong environmental movement. Either could easily recur and, along with the steadily increasing number of companies offering their own takes on these newer categories, could help more and more of these vehicles find homes in mainstream garages. Until then The Harris Poll and Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST will both be keeping the engine running on this topic.

More insights on consumers' perceptions, interest, and attitudes towards electric cars, as well as a variety of other automotive technologies and engines, will be available from the Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST later this month.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.


TABLE 1

CURRENTLY OWN, LEASE OR USE A MOTOR VEHICLE

Do you currently own, lease, or regularly use a vehicle such as a car, truck, minivan or SUV?

Base: U.S. adults

Total

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

88

77

91

89

93

No

12

23

9

11

7

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

 

TABLE 2

ANTICIPATE BUYING OR LEASING A MOTOR VEHICLE WITHIN NEXT YEAR

Do you anticipate buying or leasing a new vehicle within the next year?

Base: Don't currently own, lease or regularly use a vehicle

Total

%

Yes

18

No

82

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

 

TABLE 3

NUMBER OF VEHICLES OWNED, LEASED OR USED IN HOUSEHOLD

How many vehicles, in total, such as cars, trucks, minivans or SUV's, are owned, leased or regularly used within your household?

Base: Own, lease or regularly use at least one vehicle

Total

%

1 vehicle

34

2 vehicles

47

3 vehicles

13

4 vehicles

4

5 or more vehicles

2

 

MEAN # OF VEHICLES

1.9

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding.


TABLE 4

MILES TRAVEL IN AN AVERAGE DAY

Do you currently own, lease, or regularly use a vehicle such as a car, truck, minivan or SUV?

Base: Own, lease or regularly use at least one vehicle

Total

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

0-25 miles

64

61

65

63

67

26-50 miles

23

21

24

26

19

51-75 miles

5

6

6

3

9

76-100 miles

4

3

3

4

4

101+ miles

3

8

2

3

2

 

MEAN # OF MILES

30.8

45.9

26.1

29.3

25.9

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding.


TABLE 5a

LOWER OPERATING COST VEHICLE TYPES YOU WOULD CONSIDER

by Generation, Gender & Political Party

Today, many vehicles offer several ways of spending less on operating your vehicle, from more efficient engines to electric powertrains. Which of the following types of vehicles would you consider the next time you are in the market for a new vehicle? Please choose any that you would consider.

Base: Own, lease, regularly use or anticipate buying or leasing a vehicle

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Echo Boomers (18-35)

Gen X (36-47)

Baby Boomers (48-66)

Matures (67+)

Male

Female

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Traditional hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; never plugged in)

48

55

46

47

40

51

45

41

57

47

Smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle

38

45

38

37

33

39

38

34

43

39

Plug-in hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; can be plugged in to extend electric range)

27

35

25

25

20

34

21

20

33

30

Electric (i.e. runs only on electricity; needs to be plugged in)

19

32

20

13

9

25

14

13

26

18

Diesel

16

18

16

16

12

24

8

20

11

20

Would only get a vehicle with lower operating costs if I could do so without changing my driving habits/expectations

41

34

39

45

48

39

43

50

34

41

Other

8

8

9

8

6

7

9

8

6

7

Note: Multiple responses allowed.


TABLE 5b

LOWER OPERATING COST VEHICLE TYPES YOU WOULD CONSIDER

by Region, # Cars in Household & Miles Travel Per Day

Today, many vehicles offer several ways of spending less on operating your vehicle, from more efficient engines to electric powertrains. Which of the following types of vehicles would you consider the next time you are in the market for a new vehicle? Please choose any that you would consider.

Base: Own, lease, regularly use or anticipate buying or leasing a vehicle

Total

Region

# Vehicles in HH

# Miles Travel in Avg. Day

East

Midwest

South

West

1

2

3+

0-30 miles

Over 30 miles

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Traditional hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; never plugged in)

48

54

49

42

52

48

50

46

48

51

Smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle

38

38

37

41

36

41

36

40

39

36

Plug-in hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; can be plugged in to extend electric range)

27

27

25

22

36

25

27

31

25

31

Electric (i.e. runs only on electricity; needs to be plugged in)

19

20

17

18

23

18

18

26

18

23

Diesel

16

18

15

15

16

13

18

17

13

22

Would only get a vehicle with lower operating costs if I could do so without changing my driving habits/expectations

41

39

41

44

38

39

42

42

41

43

Other

8

7

9

7

9

7

7

12

8

7

Note: Multiple responses allowed.


TABLE 6a

CHANGE IN CONSIDERATION WITHIN PAST 2 YEARS - Summary Table

How has your likelihood to consider each of the following changed within the past 2 years?

Base: Own Own, lease, regularly use or anticipate buying or leasing a vehicle

 

More likely (NET)

Much more likely to consider

Somewhat more likely to consider

No more or less likely to consider

Less likely (NET)

Somewhat less likely to consider

Much less likely to consider

Not at all sure

Regular gasoline

%

45

29

15

42

10

7

3

4

Traditional hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; never plugged in)

%

43

16

27

29

21

7

14

7

Smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle

%

37

15

23

34

23

10

12

6

Plug-in hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; can be plugged in to extend electric range)

%

30

10

19

33

30

9

21

8

Electric (i.e. runs only on electricity; needs to be plugged in)

%

23

8

15

31

38

13

25

8

Diesel

%

18

8

10

32

42

11

31

8

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

 


TABLE 6b

CHANGE IN CONSIDERATION WITHIN PAST 2 YEARS

Much + Somewhat More Likely (NET) Summary - by Generation, Gender & Political Party

How has your likelihood to consider each of the following changed within the past 2 years?

Base: Own, lease, regularly use or anticipate buying or leasing a vehicle

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Echo Boomers (18-35)

Gen X (36-47)

Baby Boomers (48-66)

Matures (67+)

Male

Female

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Regular gasoline

45

37

41

52

46

43

47

49

45

43

Traditional hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; never plugged in)

43

49

39

43

40

46

41

39

49

42

Smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle

37

38

34

39

35

38

36

34

42

37

Plug-in hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; can be plugged in to extend electric range)

30

37

30

27

20

35

25

25

35

29

Electric (i.e. runs only on electricity; needs to be plugged in)

23

37

23

18

11

27

20

19

29

23

Diesel

18

20

19

18

13

25

11

22

14

21

Note: Multiple responses allowed.

 

TABLE 6c

CHANGE IN CONSIDERATION WITHIN PAST 2 YEARS

Much + Somewhat More Likely (NET) Summary - Region, # Cars in Household & Miles Travel Per Day

How has your likelihood to consider each of the following changed within the past 2 years?

Base: Own, lease, regularly use or anticipate buying or leasing a vehicle

Total

Region

# Vehicles in HH

# Miles Travel in Avg. Day

East

Midwest

South

West

1

2

3+

0-30 miles

Over 30 miles

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Regular gasoline

45

43

43

50

41

46

44

42

45

44

Traditional hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; never plugged in)

43

44

40

43

47

43

43

43

43

45

Smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle

37

35

40

40

32

40

35

35

36

38

Plug-in hybrid (i.e. runs on a combination of gas and electricity; can be plugged in to extend electric range)

30

30

26

26

38

27

29

36

27

36

Electric (i.e. runs only on electricity; needs to be plugged in)

23

24

20

20

31

22

22

28

20

31

Diesel

18

17

17

18

20

16

19

15

15

24

Note: Multiple responses allowed.


TABLE 7a

TOP CONCERNS RELATED TO PURE ELECTRIC VEHICLES

By Generation & Gender

In your mind, what are the top concerns related to pure electric vehicles, that is vehicles which run only on electricity and which need to be plugged in?

Base: U.S. adults

Total

Generation

Gender

Echo Boomers (18-35)

Gen X (36-47)

Baby Boomers (48-66)

Matures (67+)

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Price

65

56

64

71

71

69

61

Range

63

49

56

71

76

74

52

Repair/Maintenance costs

55

47

57

59

57

57

53

Reliability

53

52

50

55

55

53

54

Performance/Power

48

44

48

50

50

48

48

Still new technology

44

41

39

45

51

45

43

No manual transmission option

10

11

10

9

8

8

11

Other

9

10

7

11

8

10

9

No concerns

7

9

8

5

5

4

9

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

 

TABLE 7b

TOP CONCERNS RELATED TO PURE ELECTRIC VEHICLES

By Region & Political Party

In your mind, what are the top concerns related to pure electric vehicles, that is vehicles which run only on electricity and which need to be plugged in?

Base: U.S. adults

Total

Region

Political Party

East

Midwest

South

West

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Price

65

58

67

67

67

69

62

66

Range

63

57

61

62

70

68

58

66

Repair/Maintenance costs

55

50

59

56

53

61

51

53

Reliability

53

56

56

52

51

59

53

49

Performance/Power

48

45

48

51

47

56

45

45

Still new technology

44

43

43

47

40

52

41

40

No manual transmission option

10

11

11

11

6

11

8

10

Other

9

10

7

9

11

11

8

9

No concerns

7

10

6

8

2

5

8

5

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding.


TABLE 8a

INCENTIVES WHICH MIGHT MAKE YOU MORE LIKELY TO PURCHASE AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE

by Generation, Gender & Political Party

Which of the following incentives might make you more likely to consider purchasing or leasing a pure electric vehicle? Please select all that apply.

Base: U.S. adults

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Echo Boomers (18-35)

Gen X (36-47)

Baby Boomers (48-66)

Matures (67+)

Male

Female

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Free fast-charge station installed in your home

56

61

53

55

50

61

51

49

62

57

Same cost as similar gas-powered vehicle

47

52

45

45

41

51

42

44

48

48

Charging stations at or near your workplace

42

54

45

40

21

47

38

38

46

45

Free gas-powered loaner included for a set number of days per year

20

29

17

17

14

21

19

17

24

15

Reduced costs on toll roads

17

27

19

13

8

18

17

15

22

14

Collision insurance provided with lease

15

20

14

13

8

14

15

10

18

15

HOV or carpool lane access

14

21

15

9

8

15

13

11

18

12

None of these

31

22

30

34

45

25

37

38

25

30

Note: Multiple responses allowed.

 

TABLE 8b

INCENTIVES WHICH MIGHT MAKE YOU MORE LIKELY TO PURCHASE AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE

by Region & # Miles Travel in an Average Day

Which of the following incentives might make you more likely to consider purchasing or leasing a pure electric vehicle? Please select all that apply.

Base: U.S. adults

Total

Region

# Miles Travel in Avg. Day

East

Midwest

South

West

0-30 miles

Over 30 miles

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Free fast-charge station installed in your home

56

56

55

52

61

54

66

Same cost as similar gas-powered vehicle

47

41

45

47

53

47

54

Charging stations at or near your workplace

42

42

43

40

46

38

58

Free gas-powered loaner included for a set number of days per year

20

19

16

23

19

19

23

Reduced costs on toll roads

17

24

12

17

17

15

23

Collision insurance provided with lease

15

15

15

15

14

13

16

HOV or carpool lane access

14

15

5

12

23

11

21

None of these

31

30

34

34

25

34

20

Note: Multiple responses allowed.

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 8 and 13, 2013 among 2,240 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll #38, June 20, 2013

By: Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

 

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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