A new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters (ERL) finds that there is a 23% increase in the chance that car buyers will purchase a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) if it can be charged with a renewable energy source, such as solar or wind power. This increase even includes conventional car buyers when they were offered a PEV with a green electricity program for charging.
The research was conducted by John Axen and Kenneth Kurani. They surveyed three types of car buyers that included conventional new vehicle buyers, hybrid vehicle buyers, and PEV buyers. They started their survey by asking the participants if they were interested in purchasing a PEV as their next vehicle. Then they were asked if they were interested in purchasing renewable electricity like solar or wind. Then in the last part they asked the participants if they considered combining the two products.
According to Axsen, “We found that combining, for example, a solar-cell system installation with the sale of a PEV made it a more attractive purchase. We were expecting a small increase in interest, but did not expect a 23% increase in demand from conventional car buyers.”
The percentage was much higher with previous hybrid and plug-in owners, which is to be expected, but the high rate for conventional car buyers was surprising. Axsen said, “We have shown that offering a combination of a PEV with a green-energy package can increase demand for PEV’s. Some car manufacturers, specifically BMW, are already offering this combination of products and we can envisage that other manufacturers may do the same as a way of stimulating demand.”
I think this research shows that people are aware of the benefits of having a PEV and a renewable energy source to charge their vehicle. Now, if the manufacturers would be more on board to offer the complete package at a reasonable price then we could see the PEV market expand even more.
One thing that is surprising that was revealed in the survey is that the car buyers were not motivated by climate change, but more by local air pollution and saving money.