Armonk, New York – Consumers are interested in electric vehicles (EVs) but have stringent requirements about performance, recharging and convenience, according to a new survey by IBM. This contrasts with another IBM survey of auto industry executives who believe that sales of traditional vehicles will peak before 2020 and are looking to EVs as one of the next hot products.

The studies found that auto executives place greater emphasis on government incentives and oil prices than consumers do. The executives were also skeptical of consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for “green” vehicles.

Of those drivers surveyed, 19 per cent said they were either “very likely” or “likely” to consider purchasing an EV when shopping for a new car, which is notable given that 42 per cent of drivers know “only a little” about EVs or have “only heard of them,” suggesting that automakers could increase the pool of potential buyers with sustained educational campaigns.

Thirty per cent of drivers surveyed said they would consider switching to an EV that got 100 miles (160 km) or less per charge. Current EVs get about 50 to 100 miles (80 to 160 km) per charge. Forty per cent of drivers said they would pay up to 20 per cent more for an EV compared with a similarly-featured gas, diesel or hybrid vehicle, with 27 per cent saying they would pay 10 per cent more, and 13 per cent willing to pay 20 per cent more.

The price of home charging installation often required to support an EV could pose an obstacle to EV adoption, the survey found, with only 13 per cent of drivers saying they would consider spending more than $1,000 to retrofit their homes to support recharging an electric vehicle. According to industry estimates, retrofitting to a 240-volt accessible outlet averages between $1,000 and $2,000. Two-thirds of consumers also expect a price discount on their electricity for charging at home overnight.

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