Oct 182011

Unrealistic consumer expectations dog EVs, study says

Consumer expectations of electric vehicles are so unrealistic that  automakers are unlikely to satisfy them anytime soon, a study released  by  consulting firm Deloitte concludes.

Craig Giffi, leader of Deloitte’s U.S. automotive practice, said the  so-called pure battery electric vehicle can’t meet the desires of mass-market  consumers in terms of price, range and charging time.

“It certainly doesn’t look like it’s much more than a niche” vehicle, Giffi  said in an interview today. “The solution seems to be a combination of hybrid  technologies for the near future.”

Deloitte surveyed 13,500 consumers in 17 countries. The study found that  consumer interest is high. In most countries, a majority of respondents  considered themselves “first movers” who were likely to buy an EV or were  “willing to consider” EVs. In the United States, 54 percent fell into those  categories.

But when consumers shop for EVs, they are likely to be dissatisfied with:

• Price. In nearly all countries, most consumers were unwilling to pay  any price premium for EVs. Less than a fifth of consumers were willing to pay  more than a $2,000 premium — at a time when EV battery packs cost more than  $10,000. In the United States, 9 percent of consumers were willing to pay more  than a $2,000 premium.

• Range. To satisfy a majority of consumers in most countries, EVs would  have to get 200 miles or more on a single battery charge. That is about double  the range of most EVs today.

• Charging time. Most consumers wanted a charging time of less than two  hours, significantly below Level 2 charging, which uses a 240-volt outlet and  takes three to eight hours, Deloitte said. Charging using a standard U.S.  110-volt household line takes 10 to 20 hours.


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