'

Survey: Ford top brand among potential electric vehicle buyers

Ford gets the nod as the top brand among potential electric vehicle buyers, according to a new survey out about electric vehicle and electric vehicle infrastructure brand awareness from research firm Zpryme and sponsored by Airbiquity (which makes telematics technology). But not by much.

Ford gets the nod as the top brand among potential electric vehicle buyers, according to a new survey out about electric vehicle and electric vehicle infrastructure brand awareness from research firm Zpryme and sponsored by Airbiquity (which makes telematics technology). But not by much.

The survey, which covered 1,046 U.S. drivers age 18 – 65, focused on consumer brand and behavior preferences associated with electric vehicles. Here are the top five brands, along with the percentage of respondents that chose that brand.

  1. Ford (17.8 percent)
  2. Toyota (16.7 percent)
  3. Chevrolet (16 percent)
  4. Honda (12.6 percent)
  5. Nissan (7.1 percent)

Ford edged Chevrolet in terms of overall brand awareness, but the Chevy Volt was king when it came to individual models.

Ford edged Chevrolet in terms of overall brand awareness, but the Chevy Volt was king when it came to individual models.

Among the top three players, in particular, the brand preference gap isn't that big. What was also interesting to me as I thumbed through the hefty report, called "The Electric Vehicle Study: December 2010," was that a Ford model wasn't on top when it came to specific models. Here are the top three current electric vehicles rated by the respondents in terms of brand awareness:

  1. Chevrolet Volt (53.1 percent)
  2. Ford Focus EV (49.1 percent)
  3. Nissan Leaf (30.8 percent)

This bunch of consumers wasn't exactly what you would call early adopters. Close to 38 percent of them said they were "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to purchase an electric vehicle during the next two years.

The top motivator for this group? Money. Approximately 67 percent said the vehicle's price tag would be the top influencer, followed by their ability to save money from fuel costs. By the way, close to one-third of the respondents said they expected to pay more upfront for an electric vehicle, with most of those respondents saying they would pay as much as $5,000 over the price of a conventional model. Most of them, 83.7 percent would be inclined to buy the vehicle, rather than lease it.

Some other survey highlights, gleaned from those who said they were likely to buy an electric vehicle in the next two to five years :

  • 77.7 percent said their electric vehicle would be their primary vehicle if they bought one
  • Many are looking for substantial driving ranges, before they need to recharge: about one-third was looking for a range of 400 miles with another third OK with 300 miles
  • Most of the respondents (32.1 percent) said they want it to take four hours or less to charge their car
  • 87.4 percent would be willing to pay a price premium for electric vehicle charging technology that would charge their car faster than the normal manner