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Pike Survey: 48% of US Consumers Interested in Purchasing a PHEV40

Expressed interest in PHEV40 purchases. Click to enlarge.

According to a new survey from Pike Research, 48% of prospective US consumers would be “extremely” or “very” interested in purchasing a PHEV with a 40-mile range on a single charge (PHEV40), given electricity cost equivalent of $0.75 per gallon, home re-charging, additional charging stations being available around town, and assuming the price and other vehicle features were right.

Of those interested in purchasing a PHEV40, almost half (49%) said they would be willing to pay 5 or 10% more for a PHEV compared to the price of a standard gasoline vehicle; 17% expressed a willingness to pay between 20 and 50% more; just over one-third (34%) said they would not pay a premium at all—a PHEV would have to be the same price as a gasoline vehicle, or they would not purchase one.

Willingness to pay a premium for PHEV40s among those interested. Click to enlarge.

Among respondents willing to pay a premium price, the weighted average of that premium was 12% more than the cost of a standard vehicle.

Pike also asked those expressing lack of interest in a PHEV40 their reasons (multiple responses were accepted. The most common reason (45%) was that consumers wanted to wait until the technology is more proven in a few years; 33% said the 40-mile range was insufficient; 29% said they didn’t like the idea of plugging in and that it seemed like it would be too expensive; 28% questioned PHEV reliability; 25% questioned the quality of an electric vehicle.

Other key findings of the survey are as follows:

  • 82% of respondents drive 40 miles or less per day, with an average daily driving distance of 27 miles.

  • 85% of consumers stated that improved fuel efficiency would be an important factor when choosing their next vehicle.

  • Approximately two-thirds of survey respondents expressed a willingness to pay a premium price for a PHEV, over and above the price of a standard gasoline vehicle. The average premium these consumers were willing to pay was 12% higher than a standard vehicle. The remaining one-third would only purchase a PHEV if it was the same price as a standard gasoline vehicle.

  • Levels of interest in PHEVs were not dramatically different between demographic categories such as age, gender, income, and level of education. That said, younger consumers are somewhat more likely to demonstrate interest in PHEVs, as are people with higher levels of education.

  • The “green consumer” behavioral group was significantly more interested in PHEVs than the average respondent in the survey. This group includes self-identified environmentalists and those who regularly purchase organic and environmentally-friendly consumer products.

  • Among consumers interested in purchasing a PHEV, respondent interest levels were quite strong for upgrading to a residential fast charging outlet which would utilize the same amount of electricity but reduce charging times from five hours to one hour. However, willingness to pay for such fast charging outlets was limited. The great majority of respondents interested in fast charging were willing to pay $250 or less for this upgrade. Pike Research analysis indicates that the first generation of residential fast charging outlets will cost between $500 and $800.

  • Access to workplace, private, and public electrical charging stations is an important priority for consumers interested in PHEVs. Workplace charging was the most important of these categories, with 79% of survey respondents stating that access at their place of employment would be a priority.

Pike Research’s report, “Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey”, analyzes results from a web-based survey of 1,041 US consumers. The report includes an analysis of consumer demand and willingness to pay for PHEVs and their associated vehicle charging infrastructure. Segmentation analysis includes an examination of demand within different demographic and behavioral groups.

Separately, Pike Research forecasts that PHEV programs will initially focus on the small car segment (80% of sales in 2015), followed closely by the small SUV segment (10% of sales by 2015). By 2015, Pike expects the United States to be the largest market for HEVs and PHEVs, selling 435,484 and 204,110 vehicles, respectively, followed closely by China with 371,198 and 190,125 vehicles.

Pike says that PHEVs are expected to be a subset of the HEV market. Consequently, Pike projects that it is probable that PHEVs will follow a similar sales curve initially, with worldwide sales exceeding half a million vehicles by 2015. Pike Research forecasts that there will be 1.7 million total PHEVs on the roads globally by 2015.



Very optimistic.


They should have let people opt for 30 20 and 10 mile PHEvs at various price points, as well at 40.

The obsession with range is killing PHEVs - look at how well Toyota are doing with "ordinary" hybrids.

You really only need the EV bit for urban and stop/start driving, the highway bits could be done on ICE power.

With a little intelligence (on the part of the engine management / GPS system) you could optimise the use of a 10 mile PHEV and get very good mpg results for a much smaller battery, and lower cost (and weight).

The system would have to learn your commute and charging patterns, and then optimise the battery usage.

This would take about 1 week - perhaps you could just tell it your start and end points, and it could estimate it off the bat, and then refine it.

The trick is to use intelligence to optimise the battery usage, rather than just brute force battery size.

"In the future", if batteries get very high capacity, and/or cheap, you can use a large battery, but to build and sell affordable PHEVs NOW, we need to optimise the use of smaller batteries.

GPS systems cost $100: AI and machine learning are well understood, they should be able to eat this for breakfast, and if they get it wrong, all that happens is you have to drive in an urban area on the ICE - hardly the end of the world.


The only countries, where a PHEV can be built with less than 10% premium, are in China and India.

Therefore, most (50+%) Americans will buy imported PHEVs from China and India starting in 2010.

What will be the NET effect of the local Big-3? Are they heading for Chapter 7 by 2012/15?


Yes and 100% of consumers are interested in buying a one way ticket to mars for all of congress and the house and well lets just say we want a big honking B arc;/


I would love a PHEV40, as long as it is below 30K and it can have a small generator hooked to it for when my dumb @$$ forgets to charge it.


Agree w/ Mr Mahon 100%.
Probably the best place to start w/ PHEVs is where the gasoline is very expensive, and high percentage is city driving - Europe (? Japan too) is a prime target, not US. And average daily driving distance is likely shorter than in US, so people will be less demanding regarding the range. The increased range drastically increases the price and reduces sales.

The thing against PHEVs in Europe is that high pct of population live in blocks of flats, which makes home charging inconvenient. It will require investment in charging infrastructure, first near such buildings and overnight parking places.
Another thing is protectionism - European hybrid-car and battery makers are far behind the Japanese (and Koreans), and will take years to catch up.

The way to go is to start w/ 10-20 mile PHEVs until price of batteries comes down due to volume production and future inventions. Price of e-motors will also have to come down.
Preferably sell them with upgradeable battery packs, to add more later.
A positive side effect of PHEVs is that they pollute the least where it matters the most, in cities.
For many people driving 30 miles/day, a 10 mile PHEV could mean halving fuel bill if they spend too much time in slow moving and stop-n-go traffic. Some people can recharge at work - they'll be the first buyers.

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