GRA
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What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:17 pm

Via GCR: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1115010_what-if-car-buyers-arent-ready-for-electric-cars-even-in-california

It's accepted wisdom among electric-car fans and advocates that within a few years, mass-market car buyers will start snapping up battery-electric cars. First, battery prices have to come down to the point that electric vehicles aren't much pricier than comparable models with gasoline engines. But what it that assumption simply isn't backed up by data on buyer attitudes and expectations?

That idea may smack to some as anti-EV propaganda, but it comes from a respected source: the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. That group has studied driver and shopper attitudes toward plug-in vehicles for many years, and issued some of the first studies that summarized the various differing motivations for purchase of an electric car.

A recent blog post from the institute lays out the core concern: "Automakers and Policymakers May Be on a Path to Electric Vehicles; Consumers Aren’t. . . ."

But, they write, "There are no paths to meet the plug-in electric vehicle commitments and promises being made by automakers and politicians unless consumers are engaged in the transition to electric drive."

They conclude, bluntly: "Evidence from California says consumers are not" engaged in that transition.

While policymakers, advocates, environmentalists, and others are increasingly excited about electric cars, they write, such enthusiasm "is utterly lost on the vast majority of the car-buying public—even in California, touted as being among the global PEV market leaders."

Direct link to blog post: https://its.ucdavis.edu/blog-post/automakers-policymakers-on-path-to-electric-vehicles-consumers-are-not/

From which, these quotes:
In California, less than one percent are PEVs. PEVs accounted for only 1.1% of U.S. vehicle sales in 2017 and were on track to be less than 5% of sales even in California. Many of these are repeat sales to the same households, so an even smaller percent of households are adopting and experiencing these vehicles. . . .

The problem is the number of car owning households that are paying attention to PEVs is not growing. . . .

The percent of car-owning households who had already considered a PEV at the time they completed their questionnaire is no higher in 2017 than it was in 2014. . . .

According to the California Energy Commission, there were approximately 5,700 non-residential PEV chargers installed in California in August 2014; this more than doubled to over 11,500 by August 2017.

By and large, Californians didn’t notice the increase in PEV charging infrastructure. The figure below shows the distributions of how many people report seeing PEV chargers in the parking facilities they use. The doubling of away-from-home PEV charging infrastructure barely registers in the percent of California drivers sighting that infrastructure. In fact, the increases from 2014 to 2017 are so small that the statistically defensible conclusion is they are not different. That’s the good news.

Further, we ask households to rate their agreement with the statement “There are enough places to charge electric vehicles” on a scale of strongly disagree (-3) to strongly agree (+3). The mean scores for 2014 (-0.68) and 2017 (-0.61) are not statistically different; both indicate on average slight disagreement there is enough PEV charging. Again, that’s the good news.

The bad news? Despite more than doubling the number of away from home PEV chargers from 2014 to 2017, the percentage of California households who registered the strongest disagreement with the statement, “There are enough places to charge electric vehicles”—that is, the percentage of people who scored the statement as -3—nearly doubled from 13% in 2014 to 23% in 2017. . . .
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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Evoforce
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:11 pm

Sometimes people have to be educated about something. Sometimes people have to be sold on an idea or a product. Currently, that is not usually happening. If high prices come down, and ugly cars go away, that could also enhance adoption. In the US, range and quickly charging away from home, is king. Americans don't want to take a step backward in any way when it comes to their cars. They need to "feel" it is a better car in every way.
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:17 pm

That idea may smack to some as


Grammar is dead.
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:23 pm

Some of this commentary about the public's lack of perception of more charging stations despite the number doubling is a little off point. As an EV driver, I've notice a huge expansion in the charging stations since I got my 2013 Leaf. But as an EV driver, I'm specifically alert for them, sometimes using an app to see if there are any new ones in the area and then going to check them out. If I didn't have an EV, I wouldn't have noticed most of them unless I happened to trip on a cord in the parking lot. However, that increase would not prompt me to say there are enough as about half the times I need to charge away from home, the free units I can find are ICED, or have a Tesla or Volt charging at them. And the non-free ones have a tendency to be down.

Yes the public needs to be educated. And sadly, the manufacturers aren't advertising them. The only EV commercials I recall seeing were the Leaf and the Kia and the Volt for the PHEV segment. As an EV owner, I think I would recall EV ads a little better than regular car ads. I will acknowledge that I watch far less TV than the average American so perhaps I'm off base on this observation.

And even if the public is aware, they can't buy what the dealers won't put on the lot. And how are you going to get over 5% EVs when less than 5% of the models are EVs. The ICEV market has many, many models to fit every buyer niche precisely because there are so many diverse demands that different people have for the vehicles. If you need a full size SUV, there isn't an EV option. (Don't get me started about the Model X). So if you buy an SUV, you are put into the statistical bracket that claims you aren't ready for an EV... All because except for Tesla, all the EVs are pitched at the same niche - so apparently if you need something other than a short range subcompact, you aren't ready for an EV.

Sadly, once again it looks like a 'study' may have been designed to produce a 'provocative' conclusion rather than a real assessment.
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DNAinaGoodWay
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:42 am

Cheap gas doesn’t help.
If it was $8-10/gal ICEVs would fade.
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lkkms2
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:07 am

Educate and Advocate!
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RegGuheert
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:14 am

Can we spot the logical fallacy in this article?
GRA wrote:Via GCR: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1115010_what-if-car-buyers-arent-ready-for-electric-cars-even-in-california
But what it that assumption simply isn't backed up by data on buyer attitudes and expectations?
...
But, they write, "There are no paths to meet the plug-in electric vehicle commitments and promises being made by automakers and politicians unless consumers are engaged in the transition to electric drive."

They conclude, bluntly: "Evidence from California says consumers are not" engaged in that transition.

While policymakers, advocates, environmentalists, and others are increasingly excited about electric cars, they write, such enthusiasm "is utterly lost on the vast majority of the car-buying public—even in California, touted as being among the global PEV market leaders."
Here is the fallacious logic that was applied in the article:

If consumers are not engaged in the transition to electric drive...
...then...
the plug-in electric vehicle commitments will not be met because there are no paths without their support.

That argument commits a non sequitur fallacy. Here's why:

First, I will say that I completely agree with the initial assertion that "consumers are not engaged". They are not. And I will lay part of the blame for this squarely at the feet of CARB. They have misled the public by telling them that hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles are the endgame and demonstrating that this is the case by taking subsidies which could go toward BEVs and charging infrastructure and wasting it on H2 infrastructure and subsidies. Simply put, CARB is wrong: BEVs are the endgame. I will say it again: there is NO CROSSOVER POINT at which H2 FCVs will be better for the environment than BEVs, at least not for the vast majority of transportation applications.

But that is not the point. The point is that you ONLY need enough consumers engaged at any given moment to maintain an exponential growth rate of about 20%/year or more to achieve a very rapid transition. I can tell you that MANY people that I know are watching the developments in this area very closely and are waiting until the products meet their expectations and budgets. There are enough of these people to fuel growth for some time to come as BEV products continue to mature.

What about all the people who are completely disengaged or who are anti-EV? That's most of the population, right? That's correct. And that is EXACTLY what is to be expected at this point in the technology adoption life cycle of BEVs as detailed in the famous book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. Here is an image which describes shows that life cycle (sorry for the large size!):

Image

For those who haven't read the book, here is a summary of the book to help get you started.

So, where are we today and how would we roughly categorize the marketplace? My take:

We are currently IN THE CHASM. The big, scary one. I see the second-generation BEVs which are hitting the market today as a main driver which will begin to bring BEVs out of the chasm.

The market breaks down VERY roughly as follows (and please don't feel offended if I have mischaracterized you or left out your ride):

- Innovators: People who built BEV conversions or those who bought the original Tesla Roadster, the MY2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAF, the MY2011-2013 Chevy Volt, and others like the Miev.
- Early Adopters: Basically everyone who has purchased a BEV since about the beginning of 2013. Cars like the second-gen Chevy Volt, the MY2013-2017 Nissan LEAF, the Tesla Models S and X fit here.
- Early Majority: These are the people who will purchase the Tesla Model S, the Chevy Bolt or the 60-kWh Nissan LEAF or similar vehicles. (Who knows, GRA may fit in here somewhere, but he talks more like a late majority member.)
- Late Majority: These are the people who will wait and watch the early majority and will not purchase until a BEV is available precisely for THEIR needs. A perfect example product for this group would be a Ford F-Series BEV or a Chevy Silverado BEV. Another example might be something for soccer moms like a Chevy Suburban BEV.
- Laggards: These are the people who will not purchase a BEV until they have no other real option. These are likely people who have been very vocal opponents of BEVs who are not willing to give up their convictions. (I would be a perfect example of a laggard in the H2 FCV market should that technology ever "cross the chasm". Doubtful!)

While Crossing the Chasm is focused on marketing and sales techniques for selling innovative products through the chasm to widespread adoption, I think there are parallels for the disruption in a broader market. So what is needed for BEVs to "cross the chasm"? My guesses:

- BEV products must continue to expand their capabilities to include more and more automotive applications.
- BEV infrastructure must continue to mature and improve to eventually allow BEVs to fulfill all existing roles the ICEVs currently fill.
- BEVs must continue to come down in price, even while providing increasing capabilities.
- BEVs must continue to differentiate amongst themselves in order to feed the specific needs of a very wide range of consumers. Many people do NOT want to own the same BEV that everyone else has.
- As ikkms2 says: BEV owners need to educate and advocate. Frankly, I have been very forthcoming with education, but I have been very limited in my advocacy amongst my friends because most current BEVs do not meet their needs. That is changing rapidly and I will become more of an advocate as products come on the market which are better-suted to people's specific needs.
- I also see photovoltaics as a companion technology that will be important to help fuel BEV growth among homeowners. Why? Because BEVs are going to start putting massive UPWARD pressure on electricity prices. Once homeowners learn that they can reduce BOTH their electricity bill AND their vehicle fuel bill and lock in prices for decades to come by installing PV and purchasing a BEV or two, I think many will come around to both. I model this here, but I have to say the Zythryn with the amazing home which he and his wife have created in MN is nearly the perfect example for this approach. His blog does an excellent job of demonstrating what is possible with today's technology. Along these same lines, I find that I also try to educate people about the horrible things being done to the mountains of West Virginia to extract the coal that is burned to power our homes.

Yes, as DNAinaGoodWay says, low gas prices do not help with BEV adoption. But I don't see an increase in gasoline prices as a key to success of BEV technology. BEVs will win the market regardless of what happens with the gasoline supply.

Ultimately, I must conclude that the authors of that study are fully ignorant of the normal adoption cycle for modern technology products.

Finally, it would be a HUGE problem if everyone wanted to purchase a BEV today since manufacturers have not yet ramped up their production capabilities nearly enough to meet such a need. Steady, exponential growth is what is needed for this transition. Not some imaginary step-change in behavior.
RegGuheert
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:52 am

+1000 !
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DNAinaGoodWay
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:01 am

Well, I hope you’re right. I’m not seeing much growth here in New England. The majority are satisfied with their well performing, large selection of ICEVs. Cheap gas is just a bonus. We have a free L2 at work, and still, over 500 employees have no interest. They like what they’re used to. EVs are viewed as a hassle, and a risk. It’ll be 10-20 years or so before that begins to change.
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RegGuheert
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Re: What if car buyers aren't ready for electric cars, even in California?

Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:28 am

DNAinaGoodWay wrote:Well, I hope you’re right. I’m not seeing much growth here in New England. The majority are satisfied with their well performing, large selection of ICEVs.
Sure. Don't you expect those in cold climates to have their needs met last? After all, heat comes at the expense of range in a BEV.
DNAinaGoodWay wrote:We have a free L2 at work, and still, over 500 employees have no interest.
How many people can one EVSE at work reasonably support?
DNAinaGoodWay wrote:EVs are viewed as a hassle, and a risk.
They certainly can be. Just today my wife took off for work in the freezing rain with both of us thinking all would be well because the roads were fine. Unfortunately, the rain froze on windshield and she wasn't able to keep it clear. She ran out of windshield fluid before she got there. That was both a hassle AND a risk.
DNAinaGoodWay wrote:It’ll be 10-20 years or so before that begins to change.
Nah! It has already begun to change. But it takes effective, affordable products to get the next wave to move.
RegGuheert
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10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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