Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Majority of consumers would consider buying an EV for their next car

The majority of consumers would consider buying a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) for their next car purchase, according to a global study by Accenture. But an accompanying report concludes that consumer preferences for charging PEVs could increase the cost and complexity of managing the electricity grid and charging infrastructure.

‘Plug-in electric vehicles: changing perceptions, hedging bets’, a study of over 7000 people in 13 countries, found that 60 percent of consumers would consider buying a PEV for their next car purchase. 68 percent would probably or certainly do so within the next three years (23 percent certainly, 45 percent probably). Respondents in China are by far the most enthusiastic, 96 percent of them probably or certainly considering a purchase in the next three years.

Consumers’ preferences for charging PEVs, however, could challenge utilities and charging service providers by increasing grid congestion and peak time electricity demand.

  • Two thirds (67 percent) of consumers are not willing to let charge point operators limit when they can charge their PEV. A further 20 percent would only accept limits if they fell within time periods they had chosen. This would reduce the scope to manage electricity demand and avoid grid congestion.
  • 62 percent would reject battery swapping, where empty batteries are quickly replaced at service stations for fully charged ones, preferring to plug in their car to recharge the battery. This could limit the opportunity for charging off peak, when battery swapping companies would most likely refuel batteries.
  • 55 percent would only plug in their PEV when they need to charge up, rather than whenever they park. This behavior could result in less predictable charging patterns and could reduce the demand for public charging infrastructure..