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Accenture Study Finds Consumers Will Require More Than Fuel Savings From Hybrid and Electric Vehicles; Cost, Vehicle Dynamics, In-Vehicle Services

According to a new Accenture study of 1,800 consumers in Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the US, while interest in hybrid and electric vehicles may be growing, consumers do not see fuel savings as the only purchasing factor and are demanding more from automakers. Just 36% of respondents cited higher fuel prices as a reason to buy.

Accenture’s survey showed that six out of 10 consumers are more likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle only when it is superior to gasoline-only models in every way. The global management consulting and technology services company suggests that while automakers are increasingly focused on addressing the demand for greater fuel efficiency and economy they should also address those areas that continue to influence the consumer.

Among the findings of the study:

  • Those that have driven a hybrid or electric vehicle rate fuel efficiency as being very good to excellent, but most rate the ride, performance, style and maintenance as good at best.

  • 42% percent of the respondents said they are likely to buy a hybrid or electric auto in the next two years. (This rose to a high of 62% in Italy). Most of these (80%) are more likely to buy hybrids than all-electric vehicles.

  • About half would pay nothing more for a hybrid or electric car compared to a fuel-only vehicle, and around 75% desire a payback time for a hybrid or electric car purchase to be five years or less.

In-vehicle services which satisfy different customer needs including commerce, entertainment, safety, maintenance, communication and infomobility (i.e., navigation) will not only be key influences on consumer choice but will also play a key factor in the development of more fuel efficient vehicles, Accenture said.

Our study suggests that while consumers are increasingly embracing and understanding the value of alternative vehicles they still want models that represent a new phase in the evolution of the automobile. In-vehicle services will play a key part in this and car manufacturers have an opportunity now to ramp up their capabilities in this area to achieve competitive differentiation. Both OEMs and suppliers need to start building strategic partnerships that will lead to distinctive capabilities, particularly around safety, environmental protection and entertainment.

—Luca Mentuccia, managing director of Accenture’s Automotive group

The respondents ranged in age from 18 to 61 years and over, and were a near even split between male (52%) and female (48%) consumers.

Selected Results from Accenture Global Auto Consumer Survey, March 2010
Survey QuestionPercentage of respondents
Germany France Italy US/Canada
More likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle that is better than a fuel-only car in every way 74% 55% 46% 65%
Rate the fuel efficiency of a hybrid or electric car very good to excellent, but rate ride, performance, style and maintenance as good 59% 64% 45% 74%
More likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle in the next two years 29% 51% 62% 31%
More likely to purchase a hybrid in the next two years 67% 63% 71% 70%
More likely to buy an electric vehicle in the next two years 17% 22% 19% 5%
Everyone should own a hybrid or electric car 21% 39% 57% 26%
Would pay nothing more for a hybrid or electric car compared to a fuel-only vehicle 45% 52% 46% 56%
Desire a payback time for a hybrid or electric car purchase to be five years or less 64% 83% 73% 82%
Assuming a hybrid or electric vehicle could run on an electric charge for 200 miles, want the driving distance between re-charging points to be every 11 to 50 miles 55% 44% 52% 20%
Want re-charging to take less than 20 minutes 72% 73% 69% 50%



Gas prices have been stable for the past two yrs, so people forget about it. However, it only takes one interruption in supply to make fuel prices the number one factor. And there are many possibilities...hurricanes, terrorism, accidents, economic recovery (well, maybe not that).


Exactly, fuel prices are the biggest mover here, all we need in insanely high fuel prices to make EVs economical.


An oil import fee and carbon tax should do nicely.

Nat Pearre

"An oil import fee and carbon tax should do nicely."

I don't think the WTO would much care for an oil import fee (though I love the idea). I do however think that fuel taxes should be raised to the point that they pay for the harm done by consuming them... like repairing roads for instance.


While an oil import tax is easier politically, than a carbon tax...it would encourage accelerated depletion of domestic reserves which is not a good thing strategically. Non-renewable carbon tax could be more effective at shifting to a suite of renewable energy sources.

Cheaper, more practical renewable-powered vehicles will be needed no matter what.


"More likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle in the next two years 29% 51% 62% 31%
More likely to purchase a hybrid in the next two years 67% 63% 71% 70%"

So, on average, 67% would buy hybrid - but adding those who would buy EV's to the 67% hybrid buyers is 43%?

Could explain some golf scores or maybe Tiger room expenses..


Lowest cost in not everything in life.

There are essentials such as clean air, clean water, better food (not junk food), good housing, good education and access to good health care for everybody, security net, better bank regulations, fairer taxes, limits on lobbies, etc where the cheapest does not always apply.

Otherwise, everybody should live in low cost shacks, drive old rundown antics, wear low cost made in C... T-shirts, and drink low cost beer etc.


People forget what made Japanese autos successful in the U.S. back in the 1970's: the price of fuel.
Before that very few considered Japanese cars.


Wow - who would'a guessed; a hybrid or EV will not sell well if it is more expensive than an equivalent normal car. We are all waiting for better batteries; as shown by Prius sales after 10 years and Volt sales projections.



Not everyone cares about cost... but a lot of people do. Not everyone can afford to drop an extra $4-6k on a vehicle.. a lot of people lead very low-key practical lives. I think Toyota has done a very good job at capturing environmentally-conscious consumers.

I think that these technologies are wonderful, amazing, and potentially game changing. You can't expect everyone to share your beliefs and spend extra cash on things you care about.. regardless of how important you find them.



I agree that there is a strategic need for alternatives, but I don't think we're necessarily on a bad path. In fact, we (American consumers) tend to be more likely to adopt things when they make sense financially without having to mess with tax credits.

R&D on cars isn't a quick process. Look at what Ford has done just since 2006 when Mulally took over.. I think in the next 5 years you are going to see some very exciting offerings from car makers at a reasonable price.



One may think that many Americans are looking for a local vehicle producer to hang on. Ford has been spending $$$$M to tell the average American and Canadian buyers that their products are NOW as good as Toyota and Honda.

Since this is coming from Ford (the interested party) it remains to be proven. I'll stick to our Toyotas for a few more years. Thank you.

Buying higher quality products instead of a mountain of cheaper products is a question of how one was educated. The Big-3 used-sold that approach for decades and convinced the majority that vehicles were better by the pound. Why buy a 2500 lbs car when you can buy a 5000 lbs monster and amaze your neighbours with all the fins etc.

I dropped out of that sale's pitch decades ago.


The best future for American are the creation of good paying jobs that last. After we get another 10 million people employed in good jobs that are stable, houses, cars, retirement accounts and many other things start coming back.


In response to Nat Pearre's post:

"I don't think the WTO would much care for an oil import fee (though I love the idea). I do however think that fuel taxes should be raised to the point that they pay for the harm done by consuming them... like repairing roads for instance."


Oil has been specifically exempt from the WTO since its inception. Otherwise, the US could bring a WTO action against OPEC for price fixing behavior.

So for instance taxing oil imports to the advantage of locally sourced oil is perfectly okay with regards to WTO obligations.

However, the exporting nations could take specific retaliation (at least in the realm of oil) against the taxing country with no WTO recourse for the taxing country. It cuts both ways.

Dag Johansen

This study is indeed pointless. Just wait until gas is over $5/gallon in a couple years and people will provide VERY different answers.


Oil is fungible. If OPEC had any ability to retaliate against high-taxing nations, they would have done it many years ago to reverse the policies of Japan, the UK and all of Europe. It did not happen, because it is not possible to do it. Buying politicians and PR is the real threat.

The US consumer would see things differently if gasoline returned to the $4.25 level of 2008; if we had fuel taxes to reach a pump price of $7-$9, hybrids and EVs would be one of the few segments selling. The $2500 premium of a hybrid powertrain pays for itself quickly with a 40% fuel saving.


Boy rocket scientists. Yes, to gain wide acceptance hybrids will have to be price and performance competitive, besides having a high mpg. Still the Prius is selling just fine thanks and this not be happening according to this study. They are still not price competitive. What happens when an E-REV like the Volt drops to a comparible price with a three figure mpg? E-REVs are the same as series-PHEVs and are far simpler mechanically than a series/parallel HEV like the Prius. Also, batteries will drop in price. I'd say give it five years, not ten like the Prius, and the advantage will be clear. E-REVs will be priced better. The debate will be over and the only question will be: What percentage of EVs?
This study is like IBM executives saying there's almost no market for a $20,000 home computer. Well that was then. Things are different now.


...and this will all happen with $3/gallon gas. The price will increase when the economy begins to recover and will accelerate the change over.
The Prius was evolutionary.
E-REVs will be revolutionary.
Hang onto your hat.


And do not forget illogical consumer decisions. Think consumer electronics - iPhone in particular. Do people really need to buy the premium-priced iPhone and contract? Of course not. But millions do.

EVs, E-REVs, BEVs etc. will be viewed as expensive consumer electronic products by some purchasers. Note the stats on two-year window for hybrids - 70% indicating people like the technology. Even at $3 gas, running the Volt under 40m AER daily will cost less than $2. The convenience of not stopping for gas will grow as a desirable benefit.


Some of them are logical but emotional. Not having to take it in for an oil change every few months and never having to go to a gas station ever again come to mind.


Considering the types of questions asked the conclusions of this "study" are next to useless. Leading questions don't give an accurate picture of consumers preferences. Just because people answered those questions does not mean they believe in the premise.

Accenture has the contract to run the business end of BC Hydro.

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