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Studying the PEV Market in California: Comparing the PEV, PHEV and Hybrid Markets

UCD-ITS-RP-13-68

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Suggested Citation:
Tal, Gil and Michael A. Nicholas (2013) Studying the PEV Market in California: Comparing the PEV, PHEV and Hybrid Markets. EVS27 International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium, 1 - 10

Who is buying electric vehicles? Who is buying new cars in general? Is the first group a subset of the second? What are the similarities and differences of the two groups? Can we use hybrid buyers to predict the future plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market? This study explores the characteristics of new car buyer households who purchased a new vehicle in California during 2011-2012 comparing three main populations: internal combustion engine (ICE) buyers, hybrid buyers and PEV buyers. We show that PEV households have different socio-demographic characteristics than ICE buyers with, for example, higher income, higher education, and more new cars while hybrid owners are a middle group with characteristics that fall between those of ICE and PEV owners. We also found differences among PEV buyers. Pure battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) households have similar socio- demographic characteristics but they are differentiated by driving characteristics and home location. The PEV market today is based on small number of buyers and small number of potential new car buyers. Targeting the potential car buyers can more rapidly increase the market, create a used market and will open PEV options to larger segments of the population.

Keywords: PEV ownership; California; New car buyers; market analysis