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Survey Finds Potential EV Customers Would Trade Range for Price

Electric car maker THINK released results of a customer survey that found that 50% of potential EV buyers responding would be willing to accept 70-80 miles range if it reduced the cost of the vehicle by $5,000. The online survey was conducted by a team of MBA students from University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

One hundred miles range has long been considered a customer requirement for full-functioning, highway-capable electric vehicles.

The survey also indicated that potential electric vehicle customers would be willing to pay more for extended range. Fifty-five percent of the respondents indicated that they would pay a $5,000 premium for an electric vehicle with 150-160 mile range. Only 9% of potential customers said they were interested in reducing their range below 50 miles for a greater discount.

Offering different sizes of batteries for different customers is an intriguing idea. Customer support for it will likely grow as fast charging technology becomes more widespread.

—Richard Canny, THINK CEO

The THINK City electric car, being sold in Europe today and coming to the United States later this year, has a range of 100 miles on a single charge. The company announced in January that it was working with AeroVironment, a leading developer and supplier of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to promote fast changing project using AV’s level III fast-charge system and the THINK City electric vehicle.

A total of 367 consumers completed the survey.

Comments

SJC

This is what I have been saying for years, if the car does less you expect it to cost less, not more. 300 mile range and I can refill in 5 minutes versus 100 mile range and can recharge in 4 hours says that the EV does less, not more.

mahonj

As things stand, an EV is an ideal second vehicle, but hasn't the range for a primary vehicle.

Thus, you either sell them as second cars, or do a swap/rent system that enables you to swap your EV for a ICEv for a weekend or holiday or whatever.

If you had a low price rental option with all the insurance pre-arranged, it might be a better solution for many people than the expense of a long range EV or PHEV.
or, you could drop in your EV and take an ICEv, with the understanding that they could rent your EV while you were away (and pay nothing).
I am sure there are lots of Prius-types who would like to rent an EV while travelling.

[ However, that is fraught with problems if anything goes wrong ]
Anyway, EVs would make a good second/city car (but not for Nebraskans).

john mcavoy

mahonj,

you got it backwards, the "second vehicle" is the one you use only occasionally, not your commuter which statistically is <40 miles/day with one person in it. Who drives 300 miles a day? Answer, damn few and folks who shouldn't buy a BEV.

sulleny

john has it right. And with the rapid pace of development in EV battery technology anyone investing in a swap/rent/lease system of replaceable EVs or batteries will be sunk.

"Offering different sizes of batteries for different customers is an intriguing idea." Th!nk CEO

Only if you want to lose your shirt to next gen EVs with double and triple AER. Note that this study shows that 91 percent of respondents will not limit range for lower cost. This bodes poorly for A Better Place.

shopa

I have invented a way to increase the range of electric
vehicles: make them lighter and safer at the same time.

Electric vehicle range is very sensitive to vehicle weight, and my invention can enable substantial weight reduction by reducing the steel needed for safety.

It will also help auto makers meet the new NHTSA side impact into a pole test.

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The invention has been granted US patents 7,695,018 and

7,699,347.

Please help me promote this invention that can save fuel

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ToppaTom

I used to think these surveys were way, WAY better than the trials and test programs.

They are virtually free, of course.

Now I'm starting to become disheartened as they proliferate and ask the uncommitted about future choices.

So I ran my own.
100% - Fully 100% of those poled would consider a bicycle for their daily commute.

3% consider it a good idea.
10% consider it highly unlikly
87% consider it rediculous.
5% were eating dinner and thought I was inconsiderate.

Beat it, shopa.

mahonj

@john, I take your point - assuming you sized your EV to fit your commute, you would presumably use it every day - in that respect it would be your primary car.

The rest is semantics.

@Sulleny - I am not sure what you are saying - is it that the pace of EV/battery development is so fast that early adopters will lose their shirts ?

I have some comments on that:

a: They probably will lose their shirts - early adoptors usually do.

b: On the other hand, the pace of battery development is NOT very fast - we are not dealing with semiconductors here, Everyone wants it to be fast, but it isn't.

Car swap and battery swap systems are very different.

A car swap system requires no changes to the cars, you just need a good reservation and distribution system.
(but you have to swap cars).

I don't see why you would lose extra money on this.

A battery swap system requires redesign of the EV so the battery can be replaced easily - this may well compromise vehicle design, and luggage space etc.

It will still require a reservation and distribution system, but you do not need to unload the car to change the battery.
This would cost more than a car swap system, and so you could lose more money on it.

Another take on this would be to bolt a car sharing scheme onto EV sales. I.e. rather than each EV owner owning a whole ICEv, they would own a share in one (say a large one) and have access to it when required.

[ Or have access to a pool of cars of varying sizes, which increases flexibility ]

The main problem with this is mainly cultural - people like to own their cars, and do not like the idea of other people crunching their gears or kerbing the tires, or abusing their babies in any way.

SJC

I could get by with an EV and rent for the weekend if I wanted to go farther, but I am not sure many others are willing to. They are buying a piece of capital equipment with after tax dollars and I think most want it to do everything that they want to do with it. That is why you hear the rationalizations that they have to take the kids and their friends to soccer or they have to tow their boat a few weekends a year.

Will S

I think most people could get by with an EV as a commuter vehicle that also serviced all local trips. With a number of charging stations beginning to dot the major highways, and an 85% charge in 15 minutes, the most common trips of the majority of people would be covered. There will always be outliers, so that should cover the "Yeah, but..."

HarveyD

Current EVs are not for everybody, e-range and cost have not been optimized yet. It will be very different 5+ years from now, when batteries are 2x to 3x more efficient and cost has gone down 2x or 3x.

Current 2 or 3 cars families could easily have 1 or 2 EVs like the Leaf.

Single car families would be better off with a PHEV (sized to suit their real needs) for the next 5+ years.

SJC

The DC to battery to battery quick charge is not a bad idea. If I can charge at the other end over time or get a quick charge to get home...no problem.

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