Tim O'Brien | Oct 21, 2009

THE SURPRISING RESULTS of a TMR poll show that the impending release of electric cars into the Australian market may not meet the buyer resistance some may be expecting.

Of the 1009 respondents to the poll, 44 percent indicated that they would consider the purchase of an electric car if priced competitively.

Equally surprising, a further nine percent indicated a preparedness to pay a premium for an all-electric car because of the environmental benefits.

Drawn from a statistically relevant sample of readers, The Motor Report Poll results will be encouraging for Mitsubishi, Nissan and others planning all-electric vehicle releases. It will also likely be encouraging for infrastructure providers, Better Place Australia and AGL.

Mitsubishi-i-MiEV_05

“While this may not necessarily translate into immediate sales success for companies soon to release all-electric cars into this market, the poll indicates a high level of awareness of electric vehicle technology, and that motorists are ‘warm’ to it as potential buyers,” TMR Director Tim O’Brien said.

“Because a car is such a significant purchase, car buyers tend to be cautious and even a little suspicious until a technology is proven. Toyota’s Prius and Honda’s Civic Hybrid have taken some years to gain traction in this market and to overcome early fears about battery life.

“Of course, with 21 percent of respondents to the poll indicating that they would “never purchase an electric car no matter what the price and driving range”, there is clearly a solid resistant block in the market.

“But we expected this percentage to be greater. It is comparatively small given the relatively scant details available about electric cars and the way they drive.

“The key for manufacturers will be in the pricing of the vehicles and the availability of charging infrastructure. If manufacturers can get that right, we may be sharing the roads with significant numbers of all-electric cars much earlier than we thought,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It would seem the market is ready.”

 

ABOUT THE POLL

Conducted over September/October by TMR, with a total of 1009 respondents.

 

Should the re-charging infrastructure be in place, what is your view about all-electric cars:

  • I would consider buying an electric car if priced competitively with conventional cars; 44%
  • I would never purchase an electric car no matter what the price and driving range. 21%
  • I would choose a hybrid over an all-electric car; 14%
  • I don't know enough about their range and performance to have a view; 11%
  • Because of the environmental benefits, I would be prepared to pay a premium for an electric car; 9%