Survey Finds Luxury Buyers Ready for Electric Cars

Bain and Co. global survey of 4,000 people finds demand is highest among people who already own luxury cars and see EVs as second vehicle.

Published: 29-Jan-2009

Auto execs have invested in electric-drive technology with great trepidation, because they weren’t sure there would be enough demand to justify the massive ramp-up cost. But a new study by consultant Bain & Co. suggests that a real market for electric cars is coalescing.

The survey of 4,000 people in eight countries, including the U.S., China, Japan and Germany, finds that high-income buyers are ready to buy all-electric vehicles as a second vehicle for short trips. “Consumers would be buying now if there were products,” says Gregor Matthies, a Munich-based partner at Bain who specializes in the auto industry.

Demand is highest among people who already own luxury cars. They have the money and desire to buy an electric vehicle because they’re concerned about the environment—and want people to know it. “They are willing to pay a premium but also care about the environment and want to make a statement about the environment,” Matthies says. Another significant finding is that urban customers are willing to accept the range limitations of electric vehicles, because they would only use the cars for shorter trips while continuing to take the Mercedes when driving long distances.

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