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How do consumers perceive electric vehicles? A comparison of German consumer groups

: Peters, Anja; Dütschke, Elisabeth


Journal of environmental policy and planning 16 (2014), Nr.3, S.359-377
ISSN: 1523-908X
ISSN: 1522-7200
Fraunhofer ISI ()
acceptance; diffusion of innovation; early adopters; survey; preferences

Electric vehicles (EVs) are currently being discussed as a promising means to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of today's transport systems. While technological progress and cost reduction are certainly crucial topics for their successful diffusion, consumer acceptance is another issue that warrants further analysis. Based on a large online survey (N ¼ 969), we compared four consumer groups which differ in their likelihood to purchase an EV with regard to their socio-demographic characteristics, their willingness to pay (WTP) and their perceptions of EVs. The findings indicate that early users in Germany are most likely to be middle-aged men living with their families in a multivehicle household who have a higher WTP for an EV. Perceived compatibility of an EV with personal needs seems to be the most influential factor on the stated willingness to purchase an EV. With regard to the promotion of EVs, strengthening their environmental advantages and providing financial incentives for purchase are rated as important measures by a majority of the sample, while performance characteristics which are comparable to conventional vehicles seem to be less important for most participants. Based on the data analyses, we provide recommendations for measures regarding the further development and promotion of EVs.