Consumer attitudes about electric cars: Pricing analysis and policy implications

Paul D. Larson*, Jairo Viáfara, Robert V. Parsons, Arne Elias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


As electric vehicles (EVs) become more readily available, sales will depend on consumers' interest and understanding. A survey of consumer attitudes on electric cars was conducted in Manitoba from late 2011 to early 2012. It utilizes two price assessment methods. The van Westendorp price sensitivity method (PSM) shows the acceptable price range for EVs to be $22,000-27,500. This range closely matches average price range for sales of conventional cars during the same period. The willingness-to-pay method reveals consumers are unwilling to pay large premiums for EVs, even when given information on future fuel savings. A consumer group with experience or exposure to EVs is somewhat different. Nearly 25% of these people are willing to pay a premium of up to $10,000. Different interpretations can be drawn from these responses, calling for further research. An apparent policy opportunity involves consumer education to enhance knowledge and facilitate EV purchase decisions. Survey results also support the hypothesis that EV rollout has focused too much on technology, and not enough on consumers. 

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Pages (from-to)299-314
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 30.09.2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Consumer perceptions
  • Electric vehicles
  • Pricing
  • Public policy


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