New NREL study measures the public’s attitude about plug-in vehicles

2015 Kia Soul EV

A new report by Mark Singer of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) aims to highlight what consumers think about plug-in vehicles, including pure EVs and PHEVs, and to gain some insights about what may be needed to encourage widespread adoption.

The report, Consumer Views on Plug-in Electric Vehicles – National Benchmark Report, presents the findings of a study conducted by the NREL in February 2015, which covered a 1,015-household sample designed to be representative of the US population. Respondents were asked what they thought about plug-in vehicles, with a focus on vehicle purchasing behaviors, awareness, and barriers to acceptance.

About half the respondents seem to be aware of plug-in vehicles and fairly open-minded about them. 48% were able to name a specific plug-in make and model, and 52% said that PHEVs were just as good as or better than legacy gasoline vehicles.

24% of respondents said they would consider a PHEV for their next vehicle purchase.

When it comes to pure EVs, subjects were asked about barriers to acceptance such as charging and range issues. 53% of respondents said they could consistently park their vehicles near electrical outlets at home, but 56% of respondents said that an EV would need to have at least a 300-mile range for them to consider purchasing one.

NREL plans to repeat the study annually to track changing consumer perceptions.

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Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory