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Owners turning off batteries, says study

Feeling flat: About one in three Japanese electric car buyers say they will not jump behind the wheel of another one.

Japanese experience reveals electric cars fall flat for some

General News logo20 Mar 2013

UP TO a third of electric car owners in Japan say they will not buy another battery-powered vehicle again.

A study from business management consultancy McKinsey and Company released today says the low cost of power, government cash handouts and a glowing test drive of the vehicle “seduced” many electric car owners in Japan to buy the car.

However, the study shows that some owners were less well informed about electric cars when they made the decision to buy into the experience.

The study identifies higher than expected electricity bills and the difficulty in finding public recharging points as key reasons why the experience for some soon sours.

Instead, the people who were enjoying the electric car experience were “green enthusiasts” who “love EV technology for its low energy costs and comfortable driving experience”.

“To lock in the reluctant buyers, EV makers should adopt retention and education programs to avoid negative market feedback that could ‘poison the well’ for new buyers,” the McKinsey study says.

“Until prices drop to the point where the level of mass-market uptake stimulates infrastructure development, manufacturers must learn how to build customer loyalty to broaden the market for EVs,” it says.

VFACTS data shows the total number of electric vehicle registrations in Australia since the Mitsubishi i-MiEV became the first available in late 2011 numbered 300 to the end of February – although some car-makers prefer to lease out their electric vehicles rather than sell them.

Of those 300 registrations, 57 were attributed to private car buyers, with the remainder going to to businesses and government.

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