DETROIT -- Potential electric vehicle buyers are less concerned with gasoline prices and more concerned with environmental benefits than automotive executives expect.
That is one of the findings in a survey released today by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, which polled 1,716 U.S. drivers and 123 industry executives.
It showed that 51 percent of consumers said significantly higher oil prices would motivate them to consider an electric vehicle. But a much higher number of industry executives -- 76 percent -- viewed high pump prices as a key motivator.
There also was a disparity in assessing the value of a vehicle’s green image, with 48 percent of consumers thinking it important. Only 33 percent of executives thought so.
The survey offers some encouragement to companies marketing EVs, showing 19 percent of consumers as likely or very likely to consider buying an EV.
But Kal Gyimesi, the institute’s automotive lead and co-author of the study, says the industry should be concerned that 42 percent of consumers say they know little about EVs or have only heard of them.
“There’s still an education gap,” Gyimesi said. “The industry needs to work hard to educate drivers.”
He added that the cost of installing 240-volt, or Level 2, chargers in homes could be another roadblock. Industry estimates are that 240-volt service would cost $1,000 to $2,000 to install, but a mere 8 percent of consumers said they would pay that much.