Facilitating Electric Vehicle Adoption with Vehicle Cost Calculators

Consumer education regarding the costs of electric vehicles (EVs), particularly in comparison with similar gasoline vehicles, is important for adoption. However, the complexity of comparing gasoline and electricity prices, and balancing long-term return-on-investment from fuel and maintenance savings with purchase premiums for EVs, makes it difficult for consumers to assess potential economic advantages. Online vehicle cost calculators (VCCs) may help consumers navigate this complexity by providing tailored estimates of different types of vehicles costs for users and enabling comparisons across multiple vehicles. However, VCCs range widely and there has been virtually no behavioral research to identify functionalities and features that determine their usefulness in engaging and educating consumers and promoting EV adoption. This research draws on a behavioral theory, systematic review of available VCCs, and user research with three VCCs to articulate design recommendations for effective VCCs.