JD Power Sees 4X Growth in Green Car Market by 2016

The newly released J.D. Power and Associates 2011 US Green Automotive Study indicates major growth in consumer interest in green cars—including hybrids, clean diesel, plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars. The market research firm expects as much as 10 percent of sales to come from vehicles with these fuel-efficient technologies by 2016. That would represent a four-fold increase in the sales numbers for green cars compared to 2010.

J.D. Power’s primary research included a study of more than 4,000 consumers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next one to five years. The study was fielded in February 2011, prior to the steepest rise in gas prices this year—which has increased interest in fuel-efficient alternatives.

Interest in the alternatives is unequivocal. More than half of the respondents said they would either definitely or probably consider a hybrid gas-electric car. Approximately one in three said the same for a diesel engine or plug-in hybrid car. There was similar high interest in battery electric vehicles, with more than one in four participants saying they would either definitely or probably consider an EV.

Carmakers appear ready to supply the growing demand. By the end of 2016, J.D. Power and Associates expects there will be 159 hybrid and electric vehicle models available for purchase in the US market—a significant increase from 31 hybrid and electric models in 2009.

The J.D. Power press release states, “Overall, the study reveals interest in alternative powertrain vehicles among a majority of consumers, with perceptions of green vehicles being largely positive.”

The study also states that improvements in the technology, improved infrastructure (for electric cars) and reduced costs—all anticipated in the near future—will help to overcome any obstacles and myths about these technologies.

“It is the financial issues that most often resonate with consumers, whether it is the higher price of the vehicle itself, the cost to fuel or charge the vehicle, or the fear of higher maintenance costs,” said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates. Yet, public education campaigns and other efforts to familiarize consumers could help inform them that the upfront costs of the most fuel-efficient green vehicles are recouped in fuel-saving during the first few years of ownership.

Other respondents expressed concern about increased maintenance costs and compromised vehicle performance of electric-drive and diesel vehicles—apparently not realizing that many of these cars have faster acceleration than conventional models, while offering reduced maintenance costs on many components.

The study revealed growing recognition about how these vehicles can reduce the sting at the gas pumps. For example, 75 percent of consumers who indicate they would consider a hybrid electric vehicle cite lower fuel costs as a main benefit. In contrast, 50 percent cite “better for the environment” as the reason to buy a hybrid.

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  • MrEnergyCzar

    Each year the oil field decline rates cause us to lose the same amount of oil that Iran produces so by 2016 I imagine it will be 40x not 4x…


  • Anonymous

    and gm and chrysler will be left behind, again.

  • heidiB

    Power’s recent assessment of the green vehicle industry forecasts that eco-friendly cars cost too much in bad conditions to take off for a very long time. The environmentally conscious are running up against a brick wall that is just inescapable. Basic economics trumps idealism every time.

  • gerber

    i dont see it like that

  • JJspawn

    HeidiB is probably right. Unless you really want a hybrid, it is hard to justify the ~5k price tag difference between the exact same models.

    If you say I will save that in fuel, that is still at least 2-3 yrs… Younger people are generally not thinking that they are own the car in 4 years so why do it. IMHO

  • DucMan

    When gas was $2 and spiked to $3 it was hard to convince people to switch. Now that gas is basically $3+ and it looks like $4 is looking to become commonplace, we have a new set of data to play with.

    Assuming $4 gas it only takes 45,000 miles to pay back $5,000 extra for a hybrid, if your mpg jumped from 20 to 45. That is a pretty quick payback. Going from 20mpg to 50 yields a $4,800 payback in only 40,000 miles.

    More and more poeple are running the numbers and making conscious decisions to buy cars with better mpg.

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  • tapra1

    the same for a diesel engine or plug-in hybrid car. There was similar high interest in battery electric vehicles, with more than one in four participants saying they would either definitely or probably consider an EV.Yaneto

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