A new study by Deloitte (Unplugged: Electric vehicle realities versus consumer expectations) concludes that a significant gap exists between consumer expectations of electric vehicle capabilities and what an EV can actually deliver today. Consumers generally believe that EVs should be able to go farther, on less charge time, for a cheaper price than automakers are currently able to offer.

Both The Truth About Cars (Global EV Demand Stuck At 2%-4%. Unless…) and Gas 2.0  (Electric car demand hovers between 2% and 4% in most nations) cover this story.

Deloitte sampled 13,000 respondents globally to attempt to get a sense for electric car demand.  Only 2% – 4% of said they would buy an electric vehicle (EV). This shows that people want more out of EVs and they cannot currently get it and, thus, they are not buying. This includes the Early Adaptors.

Deloitte also found that the so called “Early Adopters” of EVs cannot be counted on to drive the market. These Early Adopters may say they want the latest and greatest EVs but it turns out that the Early Adopter wants the same range, charge time, and price as Non Early Adopters. This means that when the Early Adopters do not get what they want, they might not actually buy the car. In the end, the study concludes that it is range, price, and charge time that drives the EV market and consumer expectations are not being met at this time.(Gas 2.0)

The Deloitte study predicts that it will be government policy that will likely determine the adoption rate of EVs over the next decade and beyond. If national governments do not force regulations and/or put in place incentives to push car manufactures and consumers towards EVs, consumers are unlikely to create a mass EV market.

Meanwhile, Deloitte also notes there will be strong competition from continual improvements to the internal combustion engine.  Depending on how efficient those engines become, EVs could be relegated to a niche market.  At 2% – 4% there is little incentive for auto makers to address, research, and manufacture EVs capable of overcoming the range, cost, and charge time concerns faced by consumers.  Says Deloitte’s: “If the fuel efficiency of gasoline or diesel automobiles consistently hits 75 mpg, interest in pure battery electric vehicles falls off the cliff.”

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