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Plug-in vehicles are just starting to drizzle into the market, but many U.S. consumers are champing at the bit to buy them. So says E Source, a "dynamic" research and advisory firm, which recently analyzed data from the Nielsen Energy Survey and supposedly discovered that 85 percent of U.S. consumers would purchase a battery-powered vehicle either right away (3 percent), when their current automobile needs replacement (57 percent) or when electric vehicle technology is proven and becomes mainstream (25 percent).

Under the headline numbers, though, E Source found that not all plug-ins are the same. Consumers "strongly prefer" (58 percent) plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt. Pure EVs, like the Nissan Leaf, are only preferred by a mere eight percent. Bill LeBlanc, senior advisor at E Source, says that the statistics show "a substantial willingness for drivers to move to plug-in electric vehicles, but only if the manufacturers can provide the easy extended range of travel that Americans are used to."

E Source's analysis also suggests that liberals are more inclined to desire electric vehicles than conservatives (see here). LeBlanc adds that:
We see that all ages and all political mindsets like the plug-in hybrid vehicles equally. But when it comes to the all-electric car, it appears to be seen as more of a "green" purchase, rather than as a practical upgrade to a more-efficient vehicle.
The E Source study examined other variables, including home ownership, type of home, household size, annual income, gender, age, marital status and ethnicity. We'd suggest that these findings be taken with a grain of salt.

[Source: E Source]
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Most U.S. Consumers Want to Buy an Electric Vehicle

E Source Study Finds 85 Percent Are Ready to Purchase


BOULDER, Colo., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Plug-in electric vehicles may just be entering the market, but most U.S. consumers are ready to buy them. E Source recently analyzed data from the Nielsen Energy Survey and found that 85 percent of U.S. consumers say they would purchase a battery-driven car either right away (3 percent), when their current car needed replacement (57 percent), or when the technology is proven and it becomes more mainstream (25 percent). The caveat is that consumers strongly prefer (58 percent) plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) versions such as the Chevrolet Volt. PHEVs have greater range than electric-only cars like the Nissan Leaf and only 8 percent of consumers prefer them. "We are seeing a substantial willingness for drivers to move to plug-in electric vehicles, but only if the manufacturers can provide the easy extended range of travel that Americans are used to," says Bill LeBlanc, senior advisor at E Source.

E Source also reports that younger drivers are more willing than older drivers to purchase the electric-only cars, and people who describe themselves as liberals are similarly more inclined to desire the all-electric cars than those classified as conservatives. "We see that all ages and all political mindsets like the plug-in hybrid vehicles equally," says LeBlanc. "But when it comes to the all-electric car, it appears to be seen as more of a 'green' purchase, rather than as a practical upgrade to a more-efficient vehicle."

Another factor that E Source looked at was how far people drive each day and how that affects their desire for a plug-in electric vehicle. Daily driving habits don't seem to affect desire for the all-electric vehicle; however, desire for the PHEV grows as people spend more time in their cars. "Overall, the survey supports the existence of a huge untapped market for electric vehicles that can be charged at night at home. People seem very ready to move to the next generation of cars and dramatically decrease the frequency of their visits to the gas station," reports LeBlanc.

The E Source study examined other variables, including home ownership, type of home, household size, annual income, gender, age, marital status, and ethnicity. More information about the study can be found at www.esource.com/Residential_Energy-Use_2011.