Electric cars interest over one in six Japanese


What kind of power would you want in a new car? graph of japanese statisticsI wonder how the fear of impending collapse in a number of the car manufacturers will affect their investments into research and development into alternative power sources. However, this survey from MyVoice into electric cars was conducted before the bottom fell out of the manufacturing business, so such worries are not reflected in the results.


Over the first five days of November 2008 15,382 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private online questionnaire. 54% of the sample were female, 2% in their teens, 14% in their twenties, 36% in their thirties, 29% in their forties, and 19% aged fifty or older.

Although I’m not convinced yet of the overall relative environmental impact of electric vehicles, they go some way to at least displacing pollution. Hybrids like the Toyota Prius are a nice ride once you get used to the gearbox, though, but I can’t see me giving up the train in the forseeable future.

Research results

Q1: What kind of car do you or your family have? (If more than one, choose the one you use the most) (Sample size=15,382)

660cc or less light car 17.7%
Mini-van 16.7%
Sedan 13.4%
Compact car 13.8%
Station wagon 11.6%
SUV 3.6%
Sports car 1.6%
Light van 0.7%
Other 2.1%
Don’t have a car 19.0%

Q2: What kind of power system would you want if you were buying a new car? Assume that for each manufacturer the car spec and price was similar regardless of power system type. (Sample size=15,382)

Hybrid 44.3%
Petrol 20.1%
Electric 17.4%
Natural gas 1.1%
Other 2.6%
Don’t think I want to buy a car 14.4%

Q3: Given three specs of car, which would you choose to buy? Petrol: Price 1.3 million yen; fuel 800 yen; range 670 km. Electric: Price 3 million yen; fuel 60 yen; range 160 km. Hybrid: 2.5 million yen; fuel 450 yen; range 1,600 km. (Sample size=15,382)

Hybrid 46.6%
Petrol 19.1%
Electric 10.6%
Don’t know 23.8%

Note that I think the above fuel cost is a factor of ten too low, meaning the price of a full tank is 8,000 yen for a petrol engine. Also, the hybrid price per kilometre is over four times better that of the petrol engine (to say nothing of the presumed range) and a third better than the electric, but even still given a cost of 200 yen per litre, I make it that one would need to drive over 100,000 kilometres to pay back the price.

Q4: What sort of image does an electric car have for you? (Sample size=15,382, multiple answer)

Gentle on the environment 68.6%
High-priced 60.5%
Worry about the batteries running out 55.7%
Limited recharging points 52.0%
Takes time to recharge 50.2%
Quiet 48.7%
Cannot go for a long drive 43.1%
Short time between recharging 39.9%
No distinctive engine sound 34.6%
Low running cost 29.4%
Few models 27.2%
Leading-edge 24.4%
Would be poor driving experience 17.5%
Would need to upgrade often 16.4%
Would have many problems 11.4%
Worried about being too quiet 7.7%
Has status 4.0%
Would get electric shock 1.6%
Other 0.9%
Don’t have any image of electric cars 3.6%
No answer 0.2%

Q5: Other than car manufacturers, which industry’s electric car might you like to ride in? (Sample size=15,382, multiple answer)

Domestic appliance manufacturer 31.3%
Electricity, gas, power generation-related sector 22.7%
Airplane, train sector 22.5%
Motorcycle manufacturer 14.4%
Computer manufacturer 7.8%
Sports equipment manufacturer 5.3%
IT sector 3.2%
Electronic game creator 3.1%
Toy maker 2.7%
Watch maker 1.6%
Home builder 1.4%
Other 2.8%
Wouldn’t want to ride an electric car by anyone other than a car manufacturer 24.4%
Wouldn’t want to ride an electric car at all 17.1%
No answer 0.5%

Q6: Which car makers do you think are actively developing electric cars? (Sample size=15,382, multiple answer)

Toyota 45.4%
Honda 27.2%
Mitsubishi 18.8%
Nissan 16.1%
Mazda 3.7%
Subaru 3.4%
Foreign manufacturer 2.0%
Daihatsu 1.8%
Suzuki 1.7%
Izusu 0.7%
Other domestic manufacturer 0.6%
None are actively developing electric cars 3.5%
Don’t know 33.6%
No answer 0.4%
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