An Examination of the Impact That Electric Vehicle Incentives Have on Consumer Purchase Decisions Over Time

Research Team: Alan Jenn (lead), Jae Hyun Lee, Scott Hardman, and Gil Tal

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Incentives for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) have been vital in growing the PEV market. These incentives cannot be applied at the same level to PEVs indefinitely, partly due to budgetary constraints. Changes in incentives could hinder PEV market growth in California. Therefore, incentives will need to be phased out in a way that maintains PEV sales. How to adapt the incentives when moving from an early adopter market to a mainstream consumer market is not well understood.

Project Description: The researchers investigated the impacts of a combination of incentives on the purchase decisions of electric vehicle (EV) buyers in California from 2010 through 2017. They employed a comprehensive survey on over 14,000 purchasers of EVs in California. The survey covered a range of purchase intentions, general demographics, and the importance of various incentives. Their results indicated that the most important incentives for plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners were the federal tax credit, the state rebate, and HOV lane access. In addition, the importance of the incentives and their associated effect on purchase behavior had been changing over time: respondents were more likely to change their decisions and to not buy a vehicle at all as time passed and the technology moved away from early adopters.

Status: Completed

Budget: $50,000

Policy Brief(s):