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 car17.7%
Compact car13.8%
Station wagon11.6%
Sports car1.6%
Light van0.7%
Don’t have a car19.0%

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)

Natural gas1.1%
Don’t think I want to buy a car14.4%

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)

Don’t know23.8%

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 environment68.6%
Worry about the batteries running out55.7%
Limited recharging points52.0%
Takes time to recharge50.2%
Cannot go for a long drive43.1%
Short time between recharging39.9%
No distinctive engine sound34.6%
Low running cost29.4%
Few models27.2%
Would be poor driving experience17.5%
Would need to upgrade often16.4%
Would have many problems11.4%
Worried about being too quiet7.7%
Has status4.0%
Would get electric shock1.6%
Don’t have any image of electric cars3.6%
No answer0.2%

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

Domestic appliance manufacturer31.3%
Electricity, gas, power generation-related sector22.7%
Airplane, train sector22.5%
Motorcycle manufacturer14.4%
Computer manufacturer7.8%
Sports equipment manufacturer5.3%
IT sector3.2%
Electronic game creator3.1%
Toy maker2.7%
Watch maker1.6%
Home builder1.4%
Wouldn’t want to ride an electric car by anyone other than a car manufacturer24.4%
Wouldn’t want to ride an electric car at all17.1%
No answer0.5%

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

Foreign manufacturer2.0%
Other domestic manufacturer0.6%
None are actively developing electric cars3.5%
Don’t know33.6%
No answer0.4%
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