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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

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).

2013 and 2014 each saw sales for electrified vehicles—hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles—exceeding the half-million mark, and 2015 is on track for a repeat. As of the end of July, nearly 290,000 vehicles with a battery generating at least some of their momentum have been sold in the US, including nearly 120,000 plug-in models (whether pure electrics or plug-in hybrids). The 2015 sales numbers to date still represent the same 3% of total US vehicle sales seen in 2012, before some major players joined the charge.

Among the other findings of the poll:

  • Millennials drivers are more likely than their elder counterparts to consider a traditional hybrid, with 57% saying they’d consider one (vs. 49% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 38% of Matures). This same trend holds true for plug-in hybrids (39% vs. 28%, 22% and 23%) and pure electrics (34% vs. 17%, 14% and 11%), as well as for diesel vehicles (27% vs. 16%, 17% and 9%).

  • Men are more likely than women to consider an electric vehicle (25% men, 17% women) and more than twice as likely to indicate that they’d consider a diesel (28% men, 11% women).

  • Distance drivers—those who travel more than 50 miles in an average day—are especially likely to say they’d consider a plug-in hybrid (38%, vs. 28% of those traveling 30 miles or less in a typical day); a pure electric (32% vs. 18%); or a diesel (28% vs. 17%).

  • Democrats and Independents are more likely than Republicans to consider a traditional hybrid (53% Dem, 52% Ind and 42% Rep); a plug-in hybrid (34%, 32% and 20%); or a pure electric (26%, 25% and 10%).

  • Top concerns related to pure electric vehicles were price (67%) and range (64%); followed by repair/maintenance costs (58%); reliability (53%); performance/power (50%); and the fact that it’s still new technology (42%).

  • Price (73% Matures, 71% Baby Boomers, 63% each Gen Xers and Millennials) and range (75%, 75%, 58% and 52%) are especially strong concerns among older Americans.

  • When considering a new vehicle, drivers’ top concerns are reliability (93%) and purchase cost (81%).



That is impressive given that the cost of fuel has dropped considerably and non-hybrid cars have got more efficient.
This is when you really need the CAFE standards - to keep the pressure up on improving efficiency. With CAFE (etc) the temptation is to relax on improving efficiency when oil gets cheap.

A key question is - what are people actually buying ?
It is one thing to say you are "considering" a hybrid, it is another to actually buy one.

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More important to look at what people actually does. Hybrids have stayed below 3% of overall market for ten years and plugins is less than 1%. I do not see much change until autonomous cars are coming by 2020 to 2025. Then it will chance.

Tesla may reach 500k by 2020 and 3 million by 2025 but that does not change the global picture either with 90 million cars per year globally and very little development by the old guard.


The bullet point on driving range is odd -- people who drive farther are more interested in HEV and PEVs? That seems opposite to the marketing strategy from OEMs (i.e. to focus HEV and PEV sales on short range, start-stop drivers). But I suppose people who driver farther also have greater access to at-home charging... I would like to get my hands on the data.


Autonomous cars may be coming, but they can use any drive system, ICE, hybrid or EV.
They need electronic controls, not electric drive.

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True. Any drive train can have autonomous drive. However, BEVs can be build to last much longer without repairs. Tesla's stated goal is 1,000,000 miles for their BEVs. Tesla already has 8 years and unlimited mileage warranty. This is a world record that no one offers for gassers and never will. The 1 million miles goal is not achievable with a gasser that would last 200,000 miles. So when an autonomous car is operated like a taxi selling miles it can do 100,000 miles per year for 10 years as a BEV but only 2 years as a gasser. So the capital cost per mile driven is less for the BEV than the gasser and we know that other maintenance and electricity is cheaper for BEVs so you get it.

Besides the BEV's cost advantage the other benefit of autonomous driving is that it solves the two remaining problems with BEVs, range and long time to charge. You can go as fast cross country in an autonomous BEV as in a gasser as you simply get a new fully charged BEV every time the one you drive is about to run out of electrons. With range and charging time solved the benefits of BEVs like better handling, less noise and vibration more safe as they do not carry combustible fuels trumps the gassers. So yes I am dead certain that autonomous drive will spell the fast and furious end to gassers on a global scale. Those old auto makers that cannot make the transition to BEVs fast enough once the autonomous drive is done will bankrupt. It is going to be quite spectacular once those fully autonomous cars arrives.


So why don't conservatives want to conserve?


Conservatives are for limited government so they can waste resources to make quick profits...let someone else clean up the mess.


I don't think conservatives were mentioned, just political parties. Which seems unnecessary....

Distance drivers have higher fuel bills. When you're paying $400/month for gas, electrics (of any kind) look especially attractive. Think about the kind of upgrade you could afford if that (additional) amount paid for your car, instead of gas. $48,000 over 10 years. Maybe keep the car modest and get a second college education (or pay for your kids'). $48k. That's a lot of donuts.

Most interesting finding, not reported, is that ~20x the number of people currently driving electric would consider driving electric. That number swings up sharply as the matures age out. Will probably swing up even more sharply as more boomers and gen X become familiar with and then enamored of Tesla Model 3, Chevy Volt and Bolt, BMW i and new Nissan Leaf.


$400 per month becomes $200 per month with pack replacement.


The first-generation Honda Insight hybrid, sold from 2000 through 2006, is renowned even today for its ultra-high gas mileage: 52 mpg combined (48 mpg city, 58 mpg highway).

Those ratings remain unmatched today by anything today that doesn't include a plug and a large battery pack.

So why, 15 years after the Insight went on sale--considering engineering advances made over that time--don't we have regular cars without plugs that can top those numbers?

My conclusion? Regulation will be needed to push mpg higher.


Good points ai_vin:

The answer is certainly complex but, resistance to change from well established car manufacturers and negative influence from Oil and Governments certainly have a lot to do with it.

Much lighter vehicles with less drag, stop-start, improved ICE, accessories and drive trains could soon do 70 to 90 mpg instead of the current 35 to 45 mpg.

Future improved lighter e-vehicles will also consume a lot less energy. E-vehicles with on board very high efficiency ultra light solar cells will offer extended range with smaller battery packs, specially in very sunny places.

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