Amid all the hype and hope for electric vehicles, there are many assumptions being made by those who believe electrics will dominate the worldwide automotive landscape in future years. How much is this based in reality? No doubt, consumer acceptance will vary depending on specific markets. According to a recent study, Future of Electric Vehicles in Southeast Asia, up to one in three Southeast Asian drivers in the market for a new car would be open to buying an EV. Commissioned by Nissan and conducted by Frost & Sullivan, the study is said to illustrate the very strong propensity for electric vehicles in the region.
The research focused on Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Among its findings are that 37% of prospective buyers would be willing to consider an EV as their next car. Of these, the study points to consumers in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand as the most inclined to do so.
Interestingly, two out of three surveyed said that safety was most important to them, followed by charging convenience. Cost was not identified as a factor in their decision making, and in fact many of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for an electric vehicle. Green Car Journal editors note that early electric vehicle studies in the U.S. at times came up with the same conclusion that buyers would be willing to pay more for an electric vehicle, but that has not materialized. In fact, subsidies are often a prime motivator in prompting an EV purchase or lease.
While a higher price wasn’t identified as an obstacle to EV sales, that doesn’t mean lower cost wouldn’t be a motivator. In the study, three in four respondents said they would consider an electric vehicle if taxes were waived, and other incentives would also sway consumer decisions to go electric including free parking, the ability for solo EV drivers to use priority lanes, and installing charging stations at apartment buildings.
“Leapfrogging in electrification of mobility requires strong collaboration between public and private parties and a long-term approach tailored to each market’s unique situation,” points out Yutaka Sanada, regional senior vice president at Nissan. “Consumers in Southeast Asia have indicated that governments have a critical role to play in the promotion of electric vehicles.”
Nissan has announced that its Nissan LEAF electric car will go on sale in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand during the next fiscal year.