The majority of consumers would consider buying a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) for their next car purchase, according to a global study by Accenture. However, an accompanying report concludes that consumer preferences for charging PEVs could increase the cost and complexity of managing the electricity grid and charging infrastructure.

“Plug-in Electric Vehicles: Changing Perceptions, Hedging Bets”, a study of more than 7,000 people in 13 countries, found that 60% of consumers would consider buying a PEV for their next car purchase. Furthermore, 68% would probably or certainly do so within the next three years (23% certainly, 45% probably). Respondents in China are by far the most enthusiastic, with 96% of them probably or certainly considering a purchase in the next three years.

Consumers’ preferences for charging PEVs, however, could challenge utilities and charging service providers by increasing grid congestion and peak time electricity demand.

  • Two-thirds (67%) of consumers are not willing to let charge point operators limit when they can charge their PEV. A further 20% would only accept limits if they fell within time periods they had chosen. This would reduce the scope to manage electricity demand and avoid grid congestion.
  • 62% would reject battery swapping, where empty batteries are quickly replaced at service stations for fully charged ones, preferring to plug in their car to recharge the battery. This could limit the opportunity for charging off-peak, when battery-swapping companies would most likely refuel batteries.
  • 55% would only plug in their PEV when they need to charge up, rather than whenever they park. This behavior could result in less predictable charging patterns and could reduce the demand for public charging infrastructure.
Consumers would also need more supportive charging infrastructure in order to adopt fully electric PEVs. Only 29% of car drivers would buy fully electric PEVs, while 71% would prefer plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), which run on gasoline/diesel once the battery runs low. Additionally, 85% say fully electric PEVs have insufficient battery range to cover their daily driving needs. But 83% cite the insufficient availability of charging points and 70% think charging times for full plug-in EVs are too long.

To download the full report, visit http://newsroom.accenture.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5205.

Source: Accenture