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Openness toward electric vehicles in the US, as opposed to willingness

May 27, 2014

Electric vehicles (EVs) could be interesting to American consumers, but then again, maybe not.

A study by GfK conducted in six countries showed that 45% of consumers in the US who plan to buy a new car in the next two years would consider an electric vehicle, if it were offered in the type of vehicle they are planning to purchase, and 36% have a favorable opinion of them. But the cars are seen as too expensive to buy and maintain.

Is there willingness to pay more for electric cars?

Customers in the US are not willing to pay more for electric cars compared to conventional engine cars. Only 33% would pay up to 5% more. They would also like to see a wider range of choices. Three quarters of this market sees “low emissions” as the main benefit associated with electric vehicles, while half or more of US consumers perceive the main benefit of EVs as “easy to operate” and “safe.”

Four out of ten see the vehicles as “reliable,” and under a third as “great value for money” and “low maintenance cost.” Only 3% of consumers in the US know EVs well.

Electric vehicles in USA

Finding market potential in the US

“Since one of the main concerns about an EV is the premium price, Tesla has smartly addressed this issue by linking the price premium of the EV into the premium of a luxury vehicle.  For non-luxury segments, the additional cost of an EV is not something that most consumers are willing to pay.  Consumers are willing to pay for benefits they understand, and they are telling us they don’t understand why they should pay more for an EV.  If electric car makers communicate premium benefits, they may find market potential in the US ”  said Donna Miller, Executive Vice President, Automotive at GfK.

For more about our offerings, visit our Automotive pages or contact us for more information about our Electric Vehicle study.

Donna Miller is Executive Vice President of Automotive at GfK in US. She can be reached under: donna.miller@gfk.com

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