PALO ALTO, CA --- Nearly one in three (30 percent) U.S. car buyers is interested in purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) for their next car, according to a recent study on consumer EV sentiment sponsored by Better Place and conducted by research firm Ipsos. 

While interest in EVs was strong in all five nations surveyed, interest was highest in Israel, where 57 percent of drivers are interested in purchasing an EV for their next car. Denmark (40 percent), Australia (39 percent), Canada (35 percent; Greater Toronto area only), and the U.S. (30 percent) followed. And, 28 percent of Israeli respondents said they would only consider an EV for their next vehicle.

Highlights of the survey of more than 8,000 drivers are:

  • Consumers are ready to move beyond gasoline. The multi-national study revealed that, on average, nearly half (48 percent) of car buyers do not plan to consider "gas-only" automobiles for their next car.
  • Electric cars have mainstream appeal. Interest in EVs spans all demographics and driving patterns, dispelling concerns that EVs are niche products. Interest in EVs was widespread among men and women and across income levels. Interest was high across the age spectrum as well, although younger drivers (18-34) were the most interested. Driving patterns had little impact on EV interest. Interest was also similar among those whose car was the secondary car in the household, the primary car in the household, and also among those for whom the car was the only car in the household.
  • Interest does vary on the basis of car buyers' societal concerns. According to the study, most U.S. car buyers are concerned about air pollution or climate change (62 percent) and even more concerned about the country's dependence on oil (74 percent), even more than terrorism (63 percent). Related to these concerns, U.S. car buyers want the nation to be a global leader in developing renewable energy (78 percent), reducing worldwide oil consumption (59 percent), and reducing pollution (55 percent). Those expressing one or more of these concerns are more likely to say they are interested in purchasing an EV for their next car.
  • "The survey reflects the future of transportation, which is electric," said Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, an EV services provider. "There's a perfect storm of dynamics driving toward mainstream adoption of EVs, including consumer desire for a clean planet, global efforts to decrease oil consumption, transformation in the auto sector and significant investment in technology. The combination of these factors is propelling the dawn of a new automotive era."

    The study was conducted in March and April 2009, when gas prices were near a 52-week low, and included more than 8,000 respondents from the U.S., Canada (greater Toronto area), Australia (Sydney/Central Coast, Melbourne/Geelong, Brisbane/Gold Coast), Denmark and Israel.