Would You Consider an Electric Vehicle? More Say Yes

Last Updated Sep 28, 2009 12:58 PM EDT

Purchase consideration for electric vehicles is still low but it has more than doubled since 2007, according to CNW Marketing Research.

That's more than likely due to a high profile for the upcoming Chevy Volt, plus press coverage of Tesla, and a whole lot of new EVs being announced by other automakers, like the Nissan Leaf and a battery powered version of the Volvo C30.

The recent Frankfurt auto show was a how-green-can-you-get showcase, with EVs and hybrids across the automotive spectrum.

Admittedly, the basis for comparison is low for EV consideration. Through September, according to CNW, the share of new-vehicle intenders who say they would consider a pure-electric vehicle jumped to nearly 5 percent compared to less than 2 percent in 2007.

It's also worth noting that the "consideration" phase is high in the classic purchase funnel. The funnel starts wide at the top with awareness and gets increasingly narrow though consideration and intention, towards the narrowest point of all, an actual purchase.

True, the Internet has helped shoot holes in the purchase funnel concept as a linear progression, where the consumer has to get his ticket punched at every stage, before moving on to the next. But it stands to reason that if only 5 percent say they would consider an EV, a much smaller percentage of people are likely to actually buy one, once they learn more about their practical aspects, like range, passenger capacity, price and so on.

On the other hand, I suppose it's significant that even a tiny minority of new-vehicle intenders say they would buy an EV, when it's still impossible to actually buy one -- at least not from a mainstream manufacturer with a brand that's a household name.

It's also safe to say that if 5 percent report they would consider an EV, a higher percentage of people must at least be aware of them, and that's a start. I bet diesel manufacturers wish their potential U.S. customers were growing as fast, and unlike EVs, there are plenty of diesels available today.

Chart: CNW