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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

THINK survey shows EV customers willing to trade range for price

Today, electric car maker THINK released results of a customer survey that suggests potential electric vehicle customers would be willing to accept less than 100 miles range—if the price is right.

One hundred miles range has long been considered a customer requirement for full-functioning, highway-capable electric vehicles. In a survey of potential electric vehicle customers, THINK found that 50 percent of the respondents would be willing to accept 70-80 miles range, if it reduced the cost of the vehicle by $5,000. The online survey was conducted by a team of MBA students from University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

The survey also indicated that potential electric vehicle customers would be willing to pay more for extended range. Fifty-five percent of the respondents indicated that they would pay a $5,000 premium for an electric vehicle with 150-160 mile range. Only nine percent of potential customers said they were interested in reducing their range below 50 miles for a greater discount.
“Offering different sizes of batteries for different customers is an intriguing idea,” said Richard Canny. “Customer support for it will likely grow as fast charging technology becomes more widespread.”

The THINK City electric car, being sold in Europe today and coming to the United States later this year, has a range of 100 miles on a single charge. The company announced in January that it was working with AeroVironment, a leading developer and supplier of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to promote fast changing project using AV’s level III fast-charge system and the THINK City electric vehicle.

A total of 367 consumers completed the survey. Survey invitations were sent to readers of relevant online blogs and forums; THINK’s Twitter followers; visitors to the EV Pavilion at the 2010 New York Auto Show; U-M alumni in select cities; and Ross School of Business MBA candidates. Respondents were filtered through a series of screening criteria to include only those who are likely to consider an electric vehicle within THINK’s segment. Ninety-four respondents met the criteria and were included in the analysis.

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