EPRI Presents Study on Plug-In HEV Benefits

August 22, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

A new Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) study indicates that consumers think plug-in hybrid electric vehicles offer the best of both worlds with the advantages of both electric and gasoline vehicles, such as savings on fuel and maintenance, use of an existing 120V infrastructure, long range, and popular features.

The publicly available study, a cooperative effort of utilities, automakers, regulatory agencies, and others found that 30 to 50 percent of consumers in the study's market model would choose a plug-in HEV or a no-plug HEV mid-size sedan, even if priced 25 percent higher than a $19,000 conventionally powered vehicle. If automaker or government incentives are included, the market potential is higher still. In addition, 63 percent of respondents preferred plugging in a vehicle at home rather than going to the gas station. This is much higher than previous studies indicate. In contrast to many advanced vehicles, the infrastructure for plug-in HEVs already exists, with 86 percent of study respondents indicating they have relatively easy access to a 120V outlet.

"Even with the higher costs of HEVs, consumers' responses indicate they understand and appreciate the benefits of HEVs, including fuel cost and maintenance savings, environmental improvement, and energy independence," said Robert Graham, EPRI's area manager for electric transportation. "This suggests that more than just fuel savings could be promoted to market HEVs."