Electric vehicle manufacturers need to focus on economy as well as environment, says new study
J.D. Power study says consumers want to save money as well as the planet by buying an electric vehicle – and that
automakers like Chevrolet, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Tesla better listen up if the electric market is to survive in
By now, the novelty of electric vehicles has worn off as Chevy, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Tesla among other manufacturers are
up and rolling. Now it’s time to focus on dollars and cents as well as the environment if the industry isn’t going to remain
a marginal, barely significant blip in the sea of new autos available for sale in coming years, a new study says.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Electric Vehicle Ownership Experience Study, recently released, electric
vehicle purchasers cite driving an environmentally-friendly car as being the top benefit of ownership. But for those who
don’t yet own an electric vehicle, the study says, it's all about the bucks, baby.
"Current EV owners focus on the emotional benefits of owning an electric vehicle--which are having a positive effect on the
environment--but the way for manufacturers to take EVs to the masses and increase sales is to address the economic equation,"
says Neal Oddes, senior director of the green practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "There still is a disconnect between the
reality of the cost of an EV and the cost savings that consumers want to achieve."
Owners of electric vehicles report their electric bill going up an average of $18 per month after using their home outlets to
charge their vehicles, contrasted with the $147 they’d typically pay per month for gas in the same amount of time. J.D. Powers’
report says virtually all owners of electric vehicles charge them at their residence, with one-third of all owners using a standard
120-volt outlet rather than installing a home-charging station, which ups the amperage and charges the vehicle in far less time.
But to truly reap the economic benefits of electric-powered vehicles, a longer ownership period is needed, the study says.
"The payback period is longer than most consumers keep their vehicle," said Oddes. "The bottom line is that the price has to come
down, which requires a technological quantum leap to reduce the battery price. There also needs to be an improvement in the
infrastructure, or the number of charging stations outside of the home. Until those two concerns are addressed, EV sales will