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Only 22% Of Population Familiar With Tesla Model S!! Only 31% Familiar With Nissan Leaf

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 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 be interested in an electric vehicle that 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 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

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!

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.

  • turbofroggy

    This study just goes to prove that gas prices are not high enough. It is time to start to raise the federal gas tax. I would suggest an increase of $0.25/year every year for the next 20 years. Then ensure that 100% of all this new funding goes directly to road maintenance, EV infrastructure and EV/Plug-In direct-at-time-of-purchase rebates. I would also eliminate all road taxes on CNG and LPG and include zero interest loans for installing CNG stations along every interstate in the nation.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Agreed. And almost all experts agree that the gas tax should be much higher, but almost no chance of politicians moving it up (in the US)…

  • danwat1234

    We need $5/gallon gas as turbofroggy said

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      No argument from me there. :D