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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

2015 Harris Poll finds 48% of US car owners would consider hybrid for new car, same as in 2013; plug-in consideration up 2 points

August 20, 2015

A new Harris Poll of 2,225 US adults (aged 18 and older) has found that 48% of American car owners (or anticipated owners) say they’d consider a traditional hybrid the next time they’re in the market for a new vehicle—a result identical to 2013 findings. Harris recorded lower consideration levels for plug-in vehicles, whether they be plug-in hybrids (29%, up 2 percentage points) or pure electrics (21%, also up 2 points).

An additional two in ten would consider a diesel (19%, up 3 points), while 35% would consider a smaller or gas powered vehicle to save on operating costs (down 3 points).

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Ipsos poll finds 64% of Canadians would consider buying or leasing fuel cell vehicle if available

August 11, 2015

Eight in ten (80%) Canadians “agree” (33% strongly/48% somewhat) that “electric cars are the way of the future”, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Hyundai. Just two in ten (20%) “disagree” (3% strongly/17% somewhat). Three quarters (75%) of Canadians “agree” (32% strongly/44% somewhat) that they would “like to have a car that is not powered by traditional gasoline”, while only one in four (25%) “disagree” (7% strongly/18% somewhat) that they would like to drive such a car.

However, the poll also found that a majority (71%) “agrees” (25% strongly/46% somewhat) that “constantly having to charge electric cars is a pain” (29% disagree – 7% strongly/22% somewhat). While most (90%) can “agree” (45% strongly/45% somewhat) that “cars that operate on an alternate source of fuel rather than traditional gasoline are great for the environment” and that they’re “innovative” (89% agree – 38% strongly/51% somewhat), two in three (67%) also “agree” (20% strongly/47% somewhat) that they would “like to own an eco-friendly car but electric-powered cars are too much hassle”. One in three (33%) “disagrees” (8% strongly/25% somewhat) that electric-powered cars are too much hassle. Only one in four (24%) say they’re “familiar” (3% very/22% somewhat) with hydrogen fuel cell technology, while most (76%) are not (43% not very/32% not at all familiar – never heard of it).

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SFU researchers find promise for plug-in vehicles in Canada, but need for increased supply and policy support

July 16, 2015

New work by a team at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada has found that more than one-third of Canadian buyers want a plug-in vehicle (PEV), with the majority of those (89—93%) wanting a plug-in hybrid rather than a pure electric vehicle. However, less than 1% of vehicle sales in Canada are electric because of low consumer awareness and limited vehicle choice.

With the current supply of PEVs in Canada (7 models), the future PEV new market share is not likely to exceed 4—5% by 2030, according to the report; increasing supply (to 56 models) could increase market share to over 20% by 2030.

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UMTRI survey finds drivers’ cautious attitude toward autonomous vehicles little changed over past year

Researchers at University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have found little movement over the past year in motorists’ attitudes toward the prospect of autonomous vehicles. A new survey of 505 licensed drivers in the US found that the most frequent preference (43.8%) for vehicle automation was for no self-driving capability. Partially self-driving vehicles was the second more frequent preference (40.6%), with completely self-driving vehicles being the least-preferred choice (15.6%). Preference for having vehicle automation generally decreased as respondent age increased.

The findings of the 2015 survey by Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak, developed to examine motorists’s preferences among levels of vehicle automation, were similar to those of their survey fielded in June 2014, which asked the same questions.

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Expanded UMTRI study finds self-driving vehicles generate enthusiasm, concerns worldwide; interest highest in China and India

November 02, 2014

Despite safety concerns about equipment failure, a majority of drivers on three continents have high expectations for autonomous vehicles. Building on an earlier study on public opinion regarding self-driving vehicles in the US, Great Britain and Australia (earlier post), Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) expanded their survey to include more than 1,700 respondents in India (527), China (610) and Japan (585). The report includes recently released findings from the same survey in the US, the UK, and Australia.

They found that about 87% of respondents in China and 84% in India have positive views regarding autonomous and self-driving vehicles, compared to 62% in Australia, 56% in the US, 52% in the UK and 43% in Japan. Half of the Japanese respondents were neutral, while the US registered the highest percentage of negative views (16%) among the six countries.

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UC Davis ITS study suggests hastening consumer adoption of plug-ins will require innovation on the sales side

October 12, 2014

Ratings of buyer satisfaction with the new vehicle purchase experience by phase of the purchase process from 2013 SSI buyer index scores. Source: ICCT. Click to enlarge.

A study by researchers at the Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis finds that buyers of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) are substantially less satisfied with the dealer purchase experience than buyers of conventional vehicles—with the notable exception of Tesla buyers. A fundamental problem appears to be divergent expectations regarding the level of support buyers receive from dealerships.

In a new working paper, the team contends that PEVs require innovation in how these products are retailed to customers as well as demanding changes in consumer behavior and relying on new support infrastructure. While the diversity of the dealer community could foster innovation in retail activities, the same diversity could also hinder the quality and pace of diffusion amongst dealers. This, in turn, the team suggests, could—through a sub-par purchase experience—hinder the quality and pace of the adoption of plug-in vehicles by customers. This dynamic may have repercussions for achieving ZEV targets and potentially other regulatory objectives, they note.

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