Consumer demand for EVs on the rise
An IBM study released this week bolsters auto companies' ramp up of their electric-car offerings and the work of startups and utilities alike in building the infrastructure to support electric vehicles.
The study by IBM's Institute for Business Value shows a huge slice of potential consumers, 19.9 percent, would be somewhat or very likely to buy an all-electric car. That should come as good news to automakers, from the California startup Tesla, headed by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, to Ford, which is rolling out an all-electric Focus, and General Motors.
GM’s Chevrolet Volt was been named North American car of the year at Detroit’s annual festival of cars, the Detroit auto show.
And many of those consumers would even be willing to come up with a little extra cash for electric vehicles. Forty percent said they would be willing to pay up to 20 percent more for an electric vehicle than for a gas, diesel, or hybrid automobile.
"There's a strong consumer interest in this that's very encouraging," Kal Gyimesi, IBV automotive lead and co-author of the study, told Portfolio.com. Nearly a fifth of consumers leaning in an electric direction is a very strong showing for any segment or style of automobiles.
And, he said, there's lots of room for that number to grow, since, despite hype surrounding companies like Tesla and cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, about 45 percent of consumers surveyed by IBM really don't know much about electric vehicles.
"There's a tremendous opportunity yet for the auto industry," Gyimesi said. "People need to continue to be educated."
And auto-industry executives seem to recognize it, though they may not recognize the full willingness of consumers to shift to electric vehicles. And there are obstacles to wide adoption of electric cars—the biggest one being putting infrastructure in place to charge those cars.
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