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Sierra Daily

Jan 20, 2011

How Can I Get You Into An EV Today?

Ibmev_survey_chart_motivators_rev2b IBM’s Institute for Business Value recently took an interesting approach to assessing prospects for electric-vehicle sales in the U.S. Big Blue’s researchers asked consumers what factors would motivate them to opt for an all-electric vehicle, then asked auto industry executives what they thought would get consumers behind the wheel of a clean, quiet machine.

It turns out consumers claim they are driven by rationales a bit more noble than the greenback-focused sales guys say they are. While consumers and execs pretty much agree on the relative importance of factors like the range of electric vehicles and the convenience of battery charging, the buying public rates traffic congestion and concern for sustainability issues far more importantly than the business guys. And when it comes to anything that involves dollars, the gulf widens. While 41 percent of shoppers say lubricative government incentives might motivate a decision to drive a plug-in, the guys in the plaid sport jackets say that factor is more like more like 73 percent. While 51 percent of consumers say significantly higher oil prices would motivate them, the execs say it’s more like 76 percent. And while both groups consider an electric vehicle’s out-the-door price the most important factor of all in the decision to abandon the fuel-burner, the execs see sticker price as the be-all-and-end-all: Eighty-one percent of them say price is the deal-breaker, while drivers rated it at 71 percent.

So who’s right? You can choose to believe that tire kickers are motivated by their higher natures, or that the professionals who cajole us into signing on the bottom line have the inside line on consumer behavior. 

--Reed McManus

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