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Nissan, Frost & Sullivan study finds 37% of Southeast Asian consumers open to buying EV

Thirty-seven percent of Southeast Asian consumers planning to buy a car are open to purchasing an electric vehicle, according to a Nissan-commissioned study by Frost & Sullivan. The finding demonstrates the region’s strong potential to speed up the electrification of mobility. Customers in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia emerged as the most enthusiastic about electric cars.

Along with the release of the study, Nissan announced that the new LEAF will go on sale in seven markets in Asia and Oceania during the next fiscal year: Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Nissan is also exploring launch in Indonesia and Philippines.

The study—Future of Electric Vehicles in Southeast Asia—was released in Singapore at Nissan Futures, a gathering of industry leaders, government officials and media.

With the right incentives, the region can accelerate the adoption of electric and electrified vehicles, the study shows.

Across the region, two out of three consumers identified safety standards as the most important factor if purchasing an electric vehicle. Charging convenience was identified as the second-most important. Contrary to common perception, cost was not a deterrent—in fact, customers surveyed were willing to pay more to own an electric vehicle, compared with a comparable conventional car.

However, the study showed that lower costs would prompt more people to consider electric cars. Three in four respondents said they were ready to switch to electric vehicles if taxes were waived. Other incentives that would sway consumers include the installation of charging stations in apartment buildings (70%), priority lanes for electric vehicles (56%) and free parking (53%).

Chart1
Motivating factors for buying an electric vehicle. Source: Nissan. Click to enlarge.

Electric car ownership in Southeast Asia is still relatively low. Nonetheless, the survey shows that consumers are aware of differences among technologies such as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrids and Nissan’s e-POWER series-hybrid vehicles. The highest association of electric vehicles is for BEVs at 83%. Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam are most evolved in their understanding with BEVs. A significant presence of full hybrids in Malaysia and Thailand skews association of EVs with hybrids.

While potential demand for electric vehicles is significant, adoption barriers remain, including a lack of knowledge. Range anxiety is the main barrier. Customers are also unsure about safety standards for electric vehicles.

Leapfrogging in electrification of mobility requires strong collaboration between public and private parties and a long-term approach tailored to each market’s unique situation. Consumers in Southeast Asia have indicated that governments have a critical role to play in the promotion of electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, as car manufacturers, we need to do a better job in explaining that EVs are indeed a safe, smart and sustainable option in all weather. Nissan’s electric vehicles undergo extremely rigorous testing in the most severe conditions. We are very proud that our 300,000 Nissan LEAF customers have driven more than 3.9 billion kilometers around the world since 2010, without experiencing any critical incidents with the batteries.

—Yutaka Sanada, regional senior vice president at Nissan

The current uptake rate of electric vehicles isn’t a true reflection of underlying demand, which is much stronger. Contrary to popular belief that the high cost of EVs is the impediment, the survey reveals that safety concerns and charging concerns run high on customers’ minds. If the industry and government can take away these barriers, the full potential of EVs can be reached.

—Vivek Vaidya, senior vice president of mobility at Frost & Sullivan

The study was conducted by Frost & Sullivan in January 2018 in six countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The findings are based on 1,800 online customer responses and face-to-face discussions.

Nissan has sold more than 300,000 LEAFs globally since the model first went on sale in 2010. The company introduced a fully redesigned Nissan LEAF in September 2017, with a suite of advanced technologies that showcase Nissan ingenuity, including the e-Pedal system for one-pedal driving.

The new Nissan LEAF also features increased power and range, and improved refinement, comfort and convenience. The car’s new electric powertrain delivers 110kW of output and 320 N·m of torque.

Deliveries of the new Nissan LEAF began in Japan in October 2017, followed by the US and Canada in January. The car will go on sale in Europe in February. It will eventually be available in more than 60 markets worldwide.

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