Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS), Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center
Axsen, Jonn and Kenneth S. Kurani (2013) Connecting Plug-In Vehicles with Green Electricity Through Consumer Demand. Environmental Research Letters 8 (1), 1 - 12
Video abstract available at doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014045
The environmental benefits of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) increase if the vehicles are powered by electricity from 'green' sources such as solar, wind or small-scale hydroelectricity. Here, we explore the potential to build a market that pairs consumer purchases of PEVs with purchases of green electricity. We implement a web-based survey with three US samples defined by vehicle purchases: conventional new vehicle buyers (n = 1064), hybrid vehicle buyers (n = 364) and PEV buyers (n = 74). Respondents state their interest in a PEV as their next vehicle, in purchasing green electricity in one of three ways, i.e., monthly subscription, two-year lease or solar panel purchase, and in combining the two products. Although we find that a link between PEVs and green electricity is not presently strong in the consciousness of most consumers, the combination is attractive to some consumers when presented. Across all three respondent segments, pairing a PEV with a green electricity program increased interest in PEVs—with a 23% demand increase among buyers of conventional vehicles. Overall, about one-third of respondents presently value the combination of a PEV with green electricity; the proportion is much higher among previous HEV and PEV buyers. Respondents' reported motives for interest in both products and their combination include financial savings (particularly among conventional buyers), concerns about air pollution and the environment, and interest in new technology (particularly among PEV buyers). The results provide guidance regarding policy and marketing strategies to advance PEVs and green electricity demand.