Evolution of plug-in electric vehicle demand: Assessing consumer perceptions and intent to purchase over time

Sanya Carley, Saba Siddiki, Sean Nicholson-Crotty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The diffusion of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) is a topic that has received substantial attention in recent years. In part, this heightened interest reflects rapid concurrent developments in policy, technology, and industry strategies designed to spur the uptake of this radical, emerging technology. Governments from all levels are enacting various monetary and non-monetary incentives to encourage PEV adoption; developments in battery technology are likening the performance of PEVs to conventional vehicles; and all major vehicle manufacturers now have a PEV offering. Ultimately, however, the effect of these developments is contingent upon consumer interest. Thus, in this paper we study whether, alongside technology and market developments, consumer interest in PEVs has changed over time. To answer this question, we evaluate the degree to which intent to purchase or lease a battery electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, respectively, has changed between 2011 and 2017, and how the factors that explain variation in such intent have also changed over time. Our data come from two national surveys of potential car buyers in the 21 largest American cities. Among the key findings that we derive from the analysis are that, among survey respondents, intent to purchase a PEV has increased between 2011 and 2017, and perceptions about the trialability, observability, network effects, and policies explain an increasing share of the variation in intent to purchase as time evolves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-111
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Consumer
  • Intent to purchase
  • L91
  • O33
  • Plug-in electric vehicle
  • Q42
  • R41
  • Technology diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • General Environmental Science


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