Are We Hardwiring Gender Differences into the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market?

California Clean Vehicle Rebate applications and reports from automobile manufacturers indicate fewer women are buying or leasing plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) than buy or lease all new vehicles. Are these data evidence of systematic gender-based barriers to PEV acquisition by women? If so, how do we get women participating in the PEV market in greater numbers? Without better knowledge of possible gender differences during these early stages, PEV sales and charging infrastructure deployment may create longer-term differential barriers and opportunities for women and men. If gender differences in PEV sales (and leases) are confirmed and explained, then PEVs, incentives, marketing and charging infrastructure deployment can be crafted to increase women’s participation, hastening attainment of energy, air quality and sustainability goals. A multimethod analysis will be made of existing data sets. Content analysis of household interviews with new car buyers who do not own PEVs will be conducted and coded for gender. Statistical analysis of a large-sample survey (from which the interview respondents were drawn) on consumer response to PEVs will test for multivariate correlation between respondent gender and stated interest in PEVs. Results will be compared to prior results from PEV owners.

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