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Monday, July 13, 2009

New Survey Finds Strong Consumer Interest in Electric Vehicles

Nearly one in three (30%) U.S. car buyers are 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 Ipsos, a
leading global market-research company. While interest in EVs was strong in all
five nations surveyed, interest was highest in Israel, where 57% of drivers are
interested in purchasing an EV for their next car. Denmark (40%), Australia
(39%), Canada (35%; Greater Toronto area only), and the U.S. (30%) followed.
And, 28% 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%) 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%) and even more concerned about the country`s dependence on oil
(74%), even more than terrorism (63%). Related to these concerns, U.S. car
buyers want the nation to be a global leader in developing renewable energy
(78%), reducing worldwide oil consumption (59%), and reducing pollution (55%).
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, Better Place. "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."

If battery swapping speeds the uptake of EVs it can only help. Rental was big business in the early days of colour TV until manufacturing volumes became large enough for the price to drop to an insignificant % of disposible income.

Having battery rental as an option in the early days of EVs is a huge opportunity, although the business may eventually find it’s home mostly on interstate highways.

About the Study Methodology:

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. The size of the sample exceeds that
of most studies of this type, increasing the reliability and precision of the
estimates. Ipsos drew a stratified, random sample to reflect the gender, income
and age profile of each local market from best-of-class, online-survey panels in
each market. The sample was filtered to include only those individuals involved
in the selection of their prior car or expected to be involved in their next car
purchase. Participants were given comparable descriptions of electric, hybrid,
and gas-only cars in order to assess their interest. Standard data cleaning
procedures were employed, and Ipsos and Better Place performed statistical


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