Electric cars – who buys them?

Electric car buyers profile – trawling the net looking for something interesting on the electric car front found an article in the TimesOnline. John Smith looks at the question of ‘who actually buys electric cars’? This is key to all current and potential electric car manufacturers. If they build electric cars who will by them?

The first consideration is, that at the moment and for the near future it is likely that electric cars will remain an expensive purchase comparative to their fossil-fuel based counterparts. If you take into account running costs this changes but we are not a society which as a whole takes the long term view on many things.

A second issue is the types of electric vehicle available and how these stack up against all the myriad of things which drivers look for in their cars: speed, power, look, gadgets, alloys, colour, drive quality etc.

Current research puts future electric car customers in Europe into four distinct customer segments with varying degrees of desire for an electric vehicles. According to Smith these are:

eco-friendly “green innovators”
budget-conscious “cost-shoppers”
risk-averse “laggards” and
eco-prestige, high-end “Premium 2.0” customers.

Basically, number four, the Premium 2.0 customer is seen as key. They can afford to pay the price to have a ‘cool’ ‘green’ car. Think Hollywood stars and their Prius’s or Tesla Roadsters. Interestingly when asked which manufacturer they would consider buying an electric car from Audi and BMW came high on the list. Oh dear, the future of electric cars lies in the hands of BMW drivers.