Californians Quote Fuel Savings as Main Reason for Driving Electric Cars

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2nd July 2014 17:06 - Automotive

A study on 8,400 Californians has pin-pointed the key drivers behind electric vehicle sales.

The research, which was led by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), was conducted with individuals who had purchased either a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) between September 2012 and April 2014.

The results showed that monetary savings, i.e. cutting fuel costs, are the main reason people purchase electric cars (37%). With just over one fifth (21%) of the votes, reducing environmental impacts was the second most popular choice. Other cited reasons include:

  • Coveted HOV lane access (15%)
  • Increased energy independence (7%)
  • Embracing new technology (6%)
  • Vehicle performance (6%)
  • Supporting the diffusion of EV technology (5%)
  • Other (3%)

However, purchasers’ primary motivation somewhat varied for different manufacturers. More than two fifths of Chevrolet (43%) and Nissan (47%) drivers cited reduced fuel costs as their main reason for buying an electric car. Just less than one quarter (24%) of Nissan drivers said lessening the environmental impact was a key factor.

One fifth (21%) said vehicle performance was their primary motivation behind buying a Tesla, with fuel savings (12%) and environmental impact (23%) also named.

Almost one third (30%) said high-occupancy vehicle lane access was the key driver behind buying a Toyota – far more than for any other automaker – with 36% citing monetary savings.

When broken down into the two different types of cars, one third (33%) of BEV owners quoted fuel costs as the main reason for making the electric transition, compared to two fifths (41%) of PHEV drivers.

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