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

Evidence from the early market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) indicates fewer were being purchased (or leased) by women than would be expected based on women’s participation in all new vehicle transactions. The ratio of male-to-female applicants for California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate (CVR) averaged approximately three males for every female from early 2011 to mid-2015; the ratio for all new vehicle transactions is approximately one-to-one. Research on early PEV owners indicated that for their many similarities, females and males talked about their PEVs in ways that suggest female PEV drivers’ experiences may carry less influence to shape the future of PEVs and charging infrastructure than males’. First, there were simply fewer female PEV owners to provide feedback. Second, females were more likely than males to talk about how they adapted to the present capabilities of PEVs while male respondents were more likely to talk about PEVs in terms of testing their limits. For example, female PEV drivers were more likely to talk about how they used the available charging infrastructure; male respondents were more likely to point to where and how to extend infrastructure.

This study extends the analysis from early PEV buyers to the population of new-car buyers (of whom the vast majority own gasoline powered internal combustion engine and hybrid electric vehicles (ICEVs and HEVs)) in California. The results presented in this report are based on data from an on-line survey of new-car buyers in California conducted at the end of 2014 and subsequent in-home interviews with a subset of survey respondents in early 2015.


Research Area