Publication Detail

Understanding the Impact of Charging Infrastructure on the Consideration to Purchase an Electric Vehicle in California


Research Report

Electric Vehicle Research Center, UC ITS Research Reports / Senate Bill 1 (SB1)

Suggested Citation:
Hoogland, Kelly, Kenneth S. Kurani, Scott Hardman, Debapriya Chakraborty, Adam Davis (2022) Understanding the Impact of Charging Infrastructure on the Consideration to Purchase an Electric Vehicle in California. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-22-45

This research makes explicit and tests an implicit assumption in policies promotingpublic investment in plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging infrastructure: even people who are not already interested in PEVs see public PEV charging. Data from a survey representing all car-owning households in California are combined with per capita counts of public PEV charging locations and PEV registrations to estimate a structural equation model for two centralvariables: the extent to which participants have already considered acquiring a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), and whether and how many places people see PEV charging. The model controls for socio-economic and demographic measuresas well asparticipants’ awareness, knowledge, and assessments of PEVs. The model also controls for the known spatial correlation betweenPEV registrations and public PEV charging locations. The conclusion is there is noevidence of arelationship between public charging location density and participants reporting they see PEV charging locations. Nor is there a relationship between public charging location density and PEV purchase consideration. The evidence indicates there is little reason to assume building more public PEV charging means more people will see that charging or that more people will consider purchasing a PEV. Rather, awareness, knowledge, and positive assessments of PEVs allow people to see PEV charging in their local environment. In short,interest in PEVs is a prerequisite to people seeing PEV charging.Concomitant investments to increase awareness of PEVs and engagement in a transition to themas well asinPEV charging infrastructure may be a more effective way to grow the PEV market.

Key words: electric vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging,location, vehicle sales, consumer behavior, surveys