Consumer Behavior and the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Purchase Decision Process: A Research Synthesis
What motivates the purchase of a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV), and what policies can support this market to maturity?
Research Question: What knowledge gaps exist in the current state of research on the consumer’s role in the market for PEVs?
Research Task: Apply the general tools and theories of consumer behavior research to the specific realm of PEVs.
Task Overview: We used a modified version of the EKB model of the consumer purchase decision process (as presented by Darley 2010) to structure a review of transportation-focused literature. This model depicts the decision making process as having five steps: (1) problem recognition; (2) search; (3) alternative evaluation; (4) purchase; and (5) post-purchase behavior; and allows for iterative feedbacks and the influence of internal and external factors. We conclude with a table of research questions suggested by our review, structured according to the steps of the decision process.
Research Team: Margaret Taylor (PI), Sydny Fujita; in consultation with Frances Sprei.
Funding Information: DOE Vehicle Technologies Office EV Everywhere Program
This report synthesizes consumer behavior research as it pertains to the plug-in vehicle (PEV) purchase decision process, in order to clarify the state of knowledge vis-à-vis the role of consumers in the maturing U.S. PEV market. We draw heavily from the insights of marketing theory, in particular framing our review of PEV literature around the EKB model of purchase decisions. While we highlight many consumer obstacles to mass-market PEV adoption, we also identify a clear and increasing value proposition for PEV purchase for a growing group of consumers based on the economic, performance, convenience, psycho-social, and societal benefits of PEVs.
Below we present a diagram of the consumer purchase decision process: