Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS), Electric Vehicle Research Center
Available online at doi:10.1016/j.trd.2010.10.006
Axsen, Jonn and Kenneth S. Kurani (2011) Interpersonal Influence in the Early Plug-In Hybrid Market: Observing Social Interactions with an Exploratory Multi-Method Approach. Transportation Research Part D 16 (2), 150 - 159
We explore the role of interpersonal influence in car buyer’s perceptions of plug-in hybrid vehicles. The context is a PHEV demonstration project at the University of California, Davis, from which individuals from the social networks of 10 households participated in a four to six-week trial. Social interactions were observed between participants and members of their social networks, i.e., alters. The work included social network mapping, a social episode diary, and ranking of experience influences. It is found that interpersonal influence plays an important role in participants’ assessment of plug-in hybrid vehicles technology and that interactions between participants and an alter are more likely to influence the participant’s assessment if: societal aspects of the plug-in hybrid vehicles are addressed, the alter has relatively more alternative-fuel expertise, or the participant and alter are very close socially.
Keywords: vehicle purchase, interpersonal influence, social interactions, plug-in hybrid vehicles, consumers