Electric Vehicles (EVs) may be taking the world by storm but public acceptance is better in China than it is in America. These are some of the conclusions of a 2011 Accenture survey tiled “Plug-in Electric Vehicles: Changing Perceptions, Hedging Bets“.
Globally 58 percent of respondents said they favor plug-in electric vehicles as a long-term substitute for internal-combustion vehicles. In the US only 46 percent of respondents said that they favor plug-in electric vehicles replacing conventional vehicles over time.
Germany is a green energy leader and they are vying for leadership in the electric vehicle market, but only 53 percent of the population see electric vehicles as a viable, long-term replacement for conventional cars.
In Italy, 76 percent of the population surveyed favored electric vehicles as an eventual substitute for conventional vehicles. In China, the number was a staggering 86 percent in favor of plug-in electrics.
Traditional consumption patterns may help explain the difference. In China people appear to be more comfortable with charging their cars at electric fueling stations, while Americans and respondents from the rest of the world prefer charging their cars at home. Some 65% of global respondents stated that they would prefer to charge their vehicles at home as did 77 percent of respondents in the US. In China only 35% of respondents would prefer charging at home.
The Chinese are also more interested than the rest of the world in knowing where the EV power source is coming from. Accenture’s study indicated that globally 45 percent of respondents expressed a desire to know where the electricity to charge their electric car comes from. In the US, only 43 percent were concerned about the origin of their electric power, while in China 62 percent wanted to know where their power came from. This is a critical issue in the sustainability profile of an EV as a car powered by electricity from renewable energy is much better for the environment than EVs powered by the burning of coal
As revealed by the Accenture study, the Chinese are also more forward looking in terms of emerging technology. Although battery exchange may win out over home charging, 62 percent of Americans surveyed would prefer to charge a battery over exchanging it, while 35 percent of the Chinese respondents favored charging over an exchange.
A J.D. Power and Associates Report predicts that China is expected to reach sales of 35 million light-vehicles in 2020 while the US can expect sales of 17 million light-vehicles.
The US may be well positioned to lead the EV revolution, but with its massive domestic market and receptive population, China will give America a run for its money.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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