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Wow — Only 22% Of Public Knows About Tesla Model S, Only 31% Familiar With Nissan Leaf

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Confirming what I postulated last weekend, people are not familiar with electric cars yet. In a survey conducted by Navigant Research, only 31% of respondents were familiar with the highest-selling electric car to date, the Nissan Leaf. Only 22% were familiar with the Tesla Model S, which has gotten a great deal of press coverage this year, both for being the best car on the market (as decided by numerous major auto journalists and magazines) and for its high-flying stock.

To believe that 78% of the population doesn’t know about the Model S, and that 69% don’t know about the Nissan Leaf will surely come as a major shock to many of our readers, but that’s the reality today.

And, of course, while so many people don’t know about these two electric vehicles, even more don’t know about the many other electric cars on the market.

Here’s the chart regarding EV & PHEV model awareness:

EV awareness

As you can see, only about 16% were familiar with the BMW i3 (read my BMW i3 review if you haven’t yet).

Of course, if these people aren’t even aware of the plug-in cars on the market, you can pretty much bet they have no idea that electric cars are so much nicer to drive. Heck, you can’t really grasp that until you actually drive one!

A lot of the results in the survey are not that interesting to me, since the respondents really didn’t even know what they were talking about, but there were several other findings and charts that I did find particularly interesting.

For one, despite the great lack of awareness about electric cars, a good portion of respondents said they would be interested in an electric vehicle that fit the specs of what they could more or less have today.

The question:

Assuming the other features were right, how interested would you be in purchasing a BEV with the following characteristics?
» Electricity cost equivalent of $0.75 per gallon
» Driving range of 100 miles on a single charge
» You could plug in the vehicle to charge at your home each night
» Additional charging stations may be available around town
» A price of $26,000 after any purchase incentives

(Note that the Nissan Leaf is available for $21,300 after the federal tax credit and $18,800 in some states after state rebates, and that its range is 73 miles on a single charge; the Chevy Spark EV is available for $19,995 after the federal tax credit and $17,495 in states with a $2,500 EV rebate, and has a single-charge range of 82 miles.)

The response:

EV desire

Even more positively, 39% were more interested in a $15,000 EV with a $75/month battery lease:

battery leasing

So, even with most respondents really not knowing much about battery electric vehicles, there’s quite a positive response.

Interestingly, they weren’t as into the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) option. The question here was:

Assuming the other vehicle features were right, how interested would you be in purchasing a PHEV with the following characteristics?
» Electricity cost equivalent of $0.75 per gallon
» Driving range of 25 to 35 miles on a single charge, then the gasoline engine provides additional 300 miles of range with fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon
» You could plug in the vehicle to charge at your home each night
» Additional charging stations may be available around town
» A price of $28,000 after any purchase incentives”

And the response:

PHEV desire

But, still not a bad response given the lack of awareness.

Notably, the brands they’d most consider buying an EV from seem to fit overall brand preferences more than any knowledge of actual electric cars (notice Nissan’s rather weak performance as well as Tesla’s super low position):

EV brand preference


The majority of respondents (60%), either from noticing the fuel prices in other questions or from their knowledge of hybrid electric vehicles (and some, of course, from their actual knowledge of electric cars), did agree with the statement that “EVs are much cheaper to own in the long run than gasoline cars.”

EV opinions

And, even more interesting (imho), the respondents heavily favored fuel economy when asked to rate the options that were most important to them in selecting their next car! If they actually realized how fuel efficient EVs are, it looks like most of them would be purchasing one!

EV fuel economy

Well, it looks like we have a lot more educating to do! Hopefully the people who took the survey went and learned a lot more about electric cars afterwards.

Those were the findings that really stood out to me in the new (free!) white paper by Navigant Research. There were other interesting ones, too. However, many others I found to be essentially useless given how uneducated the respondents were about electric cars. But since the paper is free, I do encourage you to head over there, download it, and have a look yourself.

And be sure to help educate your friends and families about electric cars! Some good links to start with would be this electric car overview, our electric car benefits stories, and especially this article on how much nicer electric cars are to drive and this one on 7 reasons to love electric cars.

 
 
 
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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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