While Zipcar’s CEO and Chairman Scott Griffith, whose car-sharing company will ultimately be one of the early adopters of alt-vehicles, tells us he thinks it’s going to take a lot longer than people think (many more years) for electric vehicles to enter the mainstream, Better Place is busy touting data that says a significant amount of car buyers in several of its target markets are interested in buying an electric vehicle for their next purchase. According to Better Place, 30 percent of U.S. car buyers are interested in buying an EV for their next car, while 57 percent were interested in Israel, 40 percent in Denmark, 39 percent in Australia, and 35 percent in the greater Toronto area of Canada.
It’s one of those surveys that seems like it says a lot, but actually doesn’t end up saying all that much. The most important thing that the survey, which polled 8,000 drivers and was conducted by research firm Ipsos for Better Place, says is that a good deal of drivers are becoming increasingly aware that there is the option to purchase electric vehicles. That’s interesting in itself, considering car buyers just got used to having the option to purchase a hybrid car over the past couple of years. Though, from the sound of the survey, drivers seem to think that there are more electric vehicle options actually available today than there really are — if 30 percent of U.S. car drivers looked over what their electric vehicle options are to buy today, there would be a lot of mighty disappointed people.
What the survey doesn’t tell us is what it would take for a car buyer to actually purchase an electric vehicle including an acceptable price point, necessary features, and a must-have range. That will be the real sticking point to getting electric vehicles to mainstream adoption, not just an increasingly widespread interest, or awareness of, electric vehicles.
The most surprising data point out of Better Place’s survey is that 28 percent of Israelis who responded said they “would only consider an EV for their next vehicle.” At least that data shows that Better Place is doing something right by launching first in that market.