What makes electric vehicle owners tick?

Electric vehicle sales are increasing in Australia, but the market is small

Griffith University is driving new research into owning electric vehicles in Queensland and needs early adopters to share their experiences in a consumer survey.

Dr Anna Mortimore from Griffith Business School is leading the first comprehensive survey of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid car owners in Australia.

“Many consumers are thinking of buying electric vehicles and they will often attend events where they can hear first-hand experience of owning these products. This survey is the first to put data around the owner experience,” Dr Mortimore said.

The Electric Vehicle Council of Australia reported a 203 per cent jump in electric vehicle sales for 2019, while combustion engine sales dropped by 7.8 per cent. But the market is small, only accounting for 0.6 per cent of sales in Australia.

“Moving towards a reality where electric cars are more common has implications for urban planning, building infrastructure and energy demands. We need to ask how ready we are for that transition.”

Griffith researchers want to understand who is buying electric vehicles and their motivations for becoming an owner. Owning an electric vehicle brings new considerations from charging to ‘range anxiety’.

“In Australia we don’t have any data which tell us how owners use their electric vehicles: are they using it as their primary transport during the week or as a second car? We also don’t know how satisfied they are owning them,” Dr Mortimore said.

“We want to know how and where owners are charging their vehicles: is it at home or is it at work? If it is at home, we want to know when are they charging, if they’ve seen their energy bills rise or if they offset their usage with solar or off-peak charging.

“Even where people live could be affected by owning an electric vehicle. People in apartments without access to charge facilities may limit their product choices or they become reliant on charging elsewhere influencing satisfaction levels.

She said Australia’s motoring future depends on high quality data that expands our understanding of a growing segment of consumers.

Queensland drivers who own a battery electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle are encouraged to complete the survey.

This survey is a collaborative research project between Griffith University, Department of Transport and Main Roads and Energy Queensland.

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