Electric vehicles ‘fall short of expectations’
Beirut, September 22, 2011
Consumers across the globe expect electric vehicles (EVs) to be able to go farther, on less charge time, for a lower price than automakers are currently able to offer, according to a new report.
More than 85 per cent of the consumers rated range, convenience to charge and cost to charge as extremely important in a survey conducted by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) Global Manufacturing Industry group.
The study highlights a view of EV technologies today and, for example, analyzes the range capabilities of a selection of announced product introductions around the world through to 2013. For most manufacturers, the driving range of pure EVs falls short of consumer expectations.
“Among the more than 13,000 consumers surveyed across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, there are more similarities in expectations on EVs in the areas of range, charge time, and purchase cost than one might think,” explained Craig Giffi, DTTL Global Automotive sector leader.
“This can be valuable for automakers as they shape their plans to build EVs to appeal to consumers worldwide. The real challenge, however, is meeting global consumer expectations, which is significantly different to the realities of what EVs can deliver today.”
In most of the 17 countries included in the global study, a significant portion of consumers said that they would either be a potential first mover in the adoption of an electric vehicle or at least might be willing to consider purchasing or leasing an EV.
“Consumers in Germany, as well as in markets like Belgium, France, and Japan, were among the people less likely to consider themselves as potential first movers,” said Siegfried Frick, an automotive partner with Deloitte Germany.
“The fast-growing and populous markets of China and India led the world with consumers there more likely to consider themselves as potential first movers to adopt EVs.”
Criteria like vehicle range are clearly an issue.
“Consumers expect EVs to be able to go a considerable way, an average of 320 kilometers, but current technology permits most EVs to cover an average of only 160 kilometers between charges,” said Frick.
“This disconnect is representative of the divide between consumers’ expectations of EVs and the actual technologies that are available in the market today.”
The survey also found that consumers want faster battery charge times.
“Most of the consumers surveyed expect an EV to recharge its battery in two hours or less,” said Giffi.
“Japanese consumers, in particular, had even greater expectations: 37 per cent cited 30 minutes as the longest acceptable charge time. In all countries, only a small majority viewed up to eight hours—the actual and longest time it can take to recharge the typical electric vehicle battery in vehicles today using a level 2 charger— as acceptable,” he added.
As consumers become more experienced with EVs, new considerations for adoption, beyond factors such as range, convenience to charge, and cost to charge will likely emerge. Operating costs to maintain and repair the vehicle and total cost of ownership, including considerations on residual value of the vehicle, will likely come into view.
“A number of factors will have an important influence on global consumers’ adoption of EVs,” added Giffi.
“Government policies, fuel price trends, electric utility infrastructure, and alternatives will all play a role, but it is government policy that will likely shape and potentially accelerate or decelerate the adoption rate of EVs over the next decade and beyond,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service
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