Marriage of technologies makes drivers greener

Mar 21, 2013

(Phys.org) —Following a slight modification of the old adage "If you can't beat them join them," a Simon Fraser University researcher says that if you marry plug-in electric vehicles with green technology, you have a winner.

Jonn Axsen conducted an online survey of 1,500 American auto last year and discovered a new way to potentially woo consumers away from gas and diesel vehicles.

Market plug-in (PEVs) and green electricity together.

Axsen's survey results have just been published in print (Connecting plug-in vehicles with green electricity through consumer demand) and as a video abstract in Environmental Research Letters. In an effort to uncover whether consumers have any interest in PEVs, green electricity or a combination of the two, Axsen surveyed consumers who had recently bought a conventional new , a hybrid (HEV) or a PEV.

The assistant professor in SFU's School of Resource and Environmental Management was surprised to find one key marketing link.

A significant number of respondents said they'd buy a PEV in the future if they could pair it with the purchase of green electricity to power it, such as a contract for solar, wind or small-scale hydroelectric energy.

"Across all three respondent segments, pairing a PEV with a green electricity program increased interest in PEVs," says Axsen.

"For the conventional car buyers, once we offered green electricity with plug-in vehicles it increased their interest by 23 per cent, which is significant." He adds, interest was even higher among previous HEV and PEV buyers.

"There are many things that have to be done to nurture widespread interest in PEVs. This survey gives some stimulus to and utilities to think about synergies in terms of sales. Currently, they're working separately."

Explore further: Planned cut to renewable energy target 'a free kick' for fossil fuels

More information: iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014045

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