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Consumers Have Mixed Feelings About EVs, Deloitte Says

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Consumers participating in a global survey have mixed feelings about electric vehicles, viewing such vehicles as environmentally friendly while still having concern about battery range.

A majority of U.S. consumers surveyed, or 58 percent, said EVs are better for the environment than traditional internal combustion engines, according to consulting firm Deloitte.

At the same time, 63 percent said EVs should have a minimum driving range of 200 miles or more.

Those were among the findings of the survey, which involved more than 35,000 consumers in 20 countries. The sample size included more than 3,000 each in the U.S., Germany, India, China, Japan and South Korea. The survey was conducted in September and October.

“Technologies in the alternate powertrain domain appear to be advancing to a point where they have offset some of the concern we have seen over the past decade,” Craig Giffi, a Deloitte executive, said in a statement.

Giffi said there are still challenges for EVs to confront.

“The automotive ecosystem still has some work to do in terms of making EVs as easy and convenient as internal combustion engines, lowering the cost of EVs and figuring out just who will build and pay for the charging infrastructure,” he said.

“Expectations regarding the acceptable range” of an electric vehicle “are quite significant, even though daily transportation requirements are modest by comparison,” Deloitte said in a report about the survey. U.S. respondents said they drive an average of 27 miles a day.

Among other findings in the survey:

--Almost half, or 48 percent, of U.S. consumers said autonomous vehicles will not be safe. There were similar results in Japan (47 percent), South Korea (46 percent) and Germany (45 percent). Concern was even higher in India (58 percent.)

--More than half, or 58 percent, of U.S. consumers said they are unwilling to pay more than $500 for self-driving vehicle technology. Deloitte said that raises concerns whether automakers will be able to earn back their investment in autonomous vehicles.

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