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Do Americans want the same as consumers in Europe when it comes to plug-in hybrids?

September 22nd, 2008 12:00 am by Staff Report

A new Harris Interactive study has uncovered significant consumer demand for energy efficient technologies in the automotive sector in Europe. Comparison research in the U.S. mimics this trend.

Figures from the annual AutoTECHCAST Europe study, undertaken by global market research organization Harris Interactive, reveal that 20 percent of Europeans are very or extremely likely to purchase a vehicle that has plug-in hybrid technology, not taking into account estimated market prices. The Harris Interactive AutoTECHCAST U.S. study evaluates similar domestic consumer trends and provides comparison data for marketers and manufacturers seeking to better understand key differences (and important similarities) in U.S. and European consumer markets.

The study reveals that 30 percent of European consumers who are likely to purchase the plug-in hybrid technology in their next vehicle expect to charge it at least once a day or more. Once the vehicle is plugged in, they expect to charge it for around 5.1 hours. A similar study in the U.S. shows that Americans expect to charge their vehicles slightly more often than their European counterparts – 56 percent anticipated charging their car at least once daily and for approximately 6 hours at a time.

The convenience of plugging in a vehicle every night instead of filling it up at the gas station every week is very appealing to plug-in hybrid considerers, with 72 percent of respondents in Europe preferring the plug-in option. \"It\'s clear that people are open to this new approach of adding energy to the vehicle. The fact that drivers now prefer to conduct this task daily, versus once a week, shows real promise for the technology,\" said Stephen A. Lovett, director of automotive and transportation research at Harris Interactive.

The study also highlights that further consideration is needed of the infrastructure required to support a population of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Among the European consumers surveyed, 21 percent of those considering buying a plug-in hybrid indicate that they currently park on the street when at home.

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