SPEA research shows ‘total cost of ownership’ information gives hybrid and plug-in vehicles a boost

Sales of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles have slumped, but new Indiana University research shows some consumers are more likely to buy when they see data that shows the total cost of owning a hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle compared to a conventional car.

The researchers surveyed car shoppers online, asking them to react to a variety of EPA fuel economy labels for generic cars with no brand names attached. Those in the market for a mid-sized car weren’t influenced by the current EPA labels that show only that electric vehicles use less fuel. But when the labels added total cost-of-ownership information summarizing financing, depreciation, registration, maintenance and insurance costs, consumers saw hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles in a new light.

Electric car charging“Consumers have been slow to buy hybrids and plug-ins because they cost more initially than conventional cars,” said Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor Jerome Dumortier, one of the authors of the study. “Our research indicates car shoppers are less hesitant when they see the big picture, what it really costs to own a vehicle over 10 years.” (more…)