Discontinuance Among California’s Electric Vehicle Buyers: Why are Some Consumers Abandoning Electric Vehicles?

For the market introduction of electric vehicles to be successful, first-time adopters need to make continual purchases of the vehicles. Discontinuance, the act of abandoning a new technology after once being an adopter, has implications for market growth and could prevent electric vehicles from ever reaching 100% market share. Using results from five surveys of electric vehicle owners, the researchers examine discontinuance among battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle adopters. In this sample, discontinuance occurs at a rate of 21% for plug-in hybrid adopters and 19% for battery electric vehicle adopters. They show that discontinuance is related to dissatisfaction with convenience of charging, owning household vehicles with lower efficiencies, being a later adopter of PEVs, not having Level 2 (220V) charging from home, and not being male. Despite consumers overcoming initial barriers of PEVs, it appears some barriers, notably their refueling style, resurface during ownership and eventually become a barrier to continuing with PEV ownership.