Photo of a plug-in electric vehicle icon with a plug attached and two passengers inside the vehicle.

New report seeks to answer what consumers really think about PEVs and what is still needed to overcome widespread barriers to adoption.

Vehicle manufacturers, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories, universities, private researchers, and organizations from around the globe are pursuing advanced vehicle technologies that aim to reduce the consumption of petroleum. However, the broad acceptance of these technologies is dependent on consumer sentiment. Drivers must be willing to purchase and drive PEVs for these technologies to succeed.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently released a report, Consumer Views on Plug-in Electric Vehicles—National Benchmark Report. The report presents the findings of a study into the American public’s sentiments toward the issues surrounding plug-in electric vehicles. The study, conducted in February 2015, covered a 1,015-household sample designed to be representative of the U.S. population.

Consumer Views Quick Facts

A sampling of the report findings included the following:

Vehicle Purchasing Behaviors

  • 60% of respondent households owned two or more vehicles.
  • 48% of respondents stated their next vehicle purchases would likely be sedans.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Awareness

  • 48% of respondents were able to name a specific plug-in electric vehicle make and model.
  • 52% of respondents stated plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were just as good as or better than traditional gasoline vehicles.
  • 24% of respondents stated they would consider or expect to purchase plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for their next vehicle purchase or lease.

Barriers to Plug-in Electric Vehicle Acceptance

  • A pure electric vehicle would need to be able to travel 300 miles on a single charge for 56% of respondents to be willing to consider purchasing one.
  • 53% of respondents could consistently park their vehicles near electrical outlets at home.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Acceptance

  • Respondents who were aware of plug-in electric vehicle charging stations were more likely than respondents overall to view plug-in electric vehicles positively and be willing to consider purchasing them.
  • Respondents who were able to name one of the top nine best-selling plug-in electric vehicles were more likely than respondents overall to view plug-in electric vehicles positively and be willing to consider purchasing them.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office sponsored this report, as part of its mission to support research, development, and deployment of efficient and sustainable highway transportation technologies that increase energy security, lower costs, and reduce environmental impacts.